It has taken a long week of experimenting with and chopping up HTML and CSS code, of researching and checking facts, of not getting anything else done, only a few scanty blog posts, but I’ve finally finished updating The eBook Reader Comparison Page.
The new comparison tables include a lot more ereaders both from the US and internationally. Since there are so many, with several more about to be released, I decided to break the comparison page into three pages so that they load faster and are easier to navigate.
The main comparison page compares most of the 6-inch ebook readers on the market—the most popular size.
The second page compares 5-inch ebook readers and the last page lists large ebook readers and multimedia devices that have a 7-inch screen or bigger. In truth, though, a 7-inch screen really isn’t that large at all, but I had to draw the line somewhere.
Please let me know if you notice any links not working on the new pages or if some info is incorrect. Dealing with such large pages that are loaded with so much HTML code that won’t display properly in any HTML editors, it’s very difficult to keep everything in order when working on it.
I know you’ve already got more columns than can reasonably fit, but I really think it’d be valuable to break out the “Formats” into “DRM Formats”, “DRM-free Formats”, and “Non-Ebook Formats”.
For most buyers, the list of DRM formats is probably the single most important feature, but that isn’t indicated in the current tables. With conversion tools like Calibre, the list of supported DRM-free e-book formats really isn’t a major concern. Well, except for the quality of PDF-handling.
The non-ebook formats are probably unimportant. The audio formats could be put into the Audio/TTS column. The image formats are probably misleading; I don’t think many readers have an ability to do a slide show, and for the E-Ink readers, 4-, 8-, or 16-level B&W just doesn’t really cut it.
A small and very unimportant correction for the B&N NOOK: since the 1.3 firmware update, it supports OGG Vorbis audio in addition to MP3. Does anyone care?
Thanks for your comments, Doug. The format list is a bit unwieldy. I think I will move the audio formats next time I update it. And regarding DRM, every single device listed except the Kindles support the same Adobe PDF and EPUB DRM so making a separate list for that wouldn’t do much (there are a couple exceptions for alternate firmware for the dying Mobipocket format, but I don’t think anyone cares about that either). I used to have a note explaining that but it’s hard to find somewhere noticeable yet unobtrusive to stick it.
The link to the main comparison page (third paragraph above) seems to be broken. I could still get there using the link in the first paragraph, so no big deal, but I thought I’d let you know.
I found this site last week and have a learned A TON about eBook readers since. Thanks for helping the time to help out ignorant newbies like me! 🙂
Thanks! Of all places for a messed up link . . .
Isn’t that already in the pros and cons? For the Kindle 2, under cons, it lists “No ePub support, no free library ebooks … locked in to Amazon’s book store” as negatives already. I interpret that as DRM, since they are basically forcing you to buy only from Amazon (a good reason to buy another reader, btw… give us choices!).
“EPUB” doesn’t necessarily mean “EPUB with Adobe DRM”, and that’s one of my concerns. A number of less-expensive readers advertise “EPUB” but can’t handle Adobe DRM. For example, the ViewSonic VEB620 on the main comparison page can’t handle DRMed files as far as I can tell.
There are also readers that handle “EPUB with B&N DRM”. At the moment, the NOOK is the only one on your list. Whereas the NOOK handles both B&N and Adobe DRM, some of those other B&N-compatible readers haven’t said anything about Adobe DRM. It might not matter much; most of the announced readers with B&N DRM capability have slunk out of sight since the recent wave of cost-cutting.
There are other formats, such as eReader and MobiPocket, that some readers can handle with DRM and some can’t.
By the way, the link for the Hanlin V3 on the main comparison page goes to the BeBook review.
Just to clarify a few points, again all the ereaders on the lists support Adobe DRM, even the ViewSonic. In fact, I can only think of a few obscure ereaders on the market for English language that don’t support Adobe DRM—even the smaller, cheap ebook readers all have Adobe support these days. I actually make a point of not mentioning ereaders on this website that don’t support DRM because I think they are pointless and misleading.
As for Mobipocket DRM, the only one ereader listed that supports that is the Cybook Opus, which is mentioned in the Pros column.
You bring up a good point about eReader DRM. I can’t figure out why B&N still insists on using that format. It’s dead. Move on. By using it they are just cornering themselves in and not allowing other ereader brands to buy their ebooks.
And what’s the deal with Adobe? Last fall when B&N announced they’d be switching to EPUB, Adobe said they’d be updating the firmware to allow other companies the option to choose to support B&N’s new EPUB DRM. Adobe said that that would come out in Spring. Well, Spring is long gone and still no word on any updates and B&N is still selling PDB ebooks half the time and calling them EPUBs.
Anyway back to topic, the eReader DRM is supported by the Nook, the iRex DR-800 (which is no longer made) and possibly the jetBook. The jetBook briefly supported B&N DRM, but just officially got a firmware update for Adobe DRM—not sure if they still support B&N in addition to Adobe at this point.
The Pandigital Novel ties-in with B&N’s ebook store, but it would not open any PDB files from B&N that I tried, so that makes about zero sense. The iRex opens them but support is awful.
So what it comes down to, essentially, is that the Nook and Cybook Opus are the only two on the lists that have these caveats, so it’s really not worth redoing everything for a DRM specific column. As more companies continue to use Adobe and the lesser known formats start fading away, hopefully all this confusing DRM will get worked out in time.
Lesley Williams says
So, are you saying that all of these readers except the Kindle will work with library DRM ebooks, specifically Overdrive? I’m especially interested in either the Cruz or the Pandigital Novel.Overdrive’s website says it does NOT support the iPad for Epub, but they have no info on other tablets like Archos, Pandigital, Cruz, etc.
Yes. All the ereaders on the comparison tables will support Adobe DRM for library ebooks except the Kindles (get on the ball, Amazon!) and the iPad because there is no specific Adobe app or Overdirve ebook app (yet), just audiobooks. Not sure about the Archos (don’t think there’s an Adobe specific app) and the Cruz should. I emailed support and they said there will be an app for Adobe ebooks, since the Borders app that it comes installed with doesn’t currently sideloading ebooks.