One e-reader, two e-readers

Do you own an e-reader? And then I mean an e-ink device solely created and bought for reading e-books? Not a phone or an iPad or Samsung or other tablet?

I do. I have two of them.

Why would a person have two e-readers?

I have always like gadgets, and when Sony came out with their first series of e-readers, I wanted one. The first one I got was the Sony PRS-505. That was 2008.

It was quite a large thing, heavy for modern standards, and small on everything else: memory (190MB), time the battery would run (8 to 12 hours), no back-light, no touch-screen. But I could read books on it, and that I did. Lots of them, wherever I could find them. Which, in those days, was hard enough.

I sold the PRS-505 to a friend, whose wife really wanted a device with buttons and I moved on to the Sony PRS-350, a small thing with wifi and touch-screen!

Kindle knocking

But as things go, I needed something new at one point, and I had heard so much about Amazon Kindle that, in 2015, I ordered one, and sold the PRS-350. The Kindle is really a very nice device. It’s clear that Amazon knows what people want, and they deliver on the experience. It’s served me well for a lot of reading and it’s still going strong. It’s nice to see that modern equipment isn’t all made to die in 2 years, forcing you to buy something new.

Kobo Aura 2

Little over a year ago I decided to buy another e-reader. Since Sony had dropped out of the e-reader game, I opted for a Kobo. A dear friend of mine has one and she loves it to bits. I was pleased to find that the Kobo is equal to the ease of use and quality of build to the Kindle. I love good stuff when I pay good money for it.

So why did I buy the Kobo if the Kindle is such a good e-reader and still going strong?

Formats, baby. It’s all about formats.

As I said at the very top, I’ve been e-reading since 2008. In those days you would buy and download the book-files and transfer them to the e-reader with a cable. Yes, I’m that old. Since the first device was a Sony (Kindle was unheard of mostly in Europe, it was mainly an American affair), I bought e-pub book. Sony, Kobo, B&N Nook and many other devices use that e-pub format. The Kindle has its own proprietary format called MOBI-Pocket which evolved into AZW3 and KF8. That only runs on the Kindle device (and yes, on the Kindle app on your phone, tablet, etc., but this is about e-reader devices, remember? 😉 )

Since I have lots of e-pub files still stored and I want to read those again, I could choose to read them on my phone (plenty of good Android e-reader apps about), buy a tablet and use a similar app, or get an e-pub e-reader.

With the benefit of a smooth display and insanely long battery times, and also a very nice, even, soft back-light, I decided to get an e-reader. The aforementioned Kobo. And my old e-pub files work great on that!

Happy reading, everyone, regardless of your preferred medium.

Electronic reading

Dear Reader who uses electronics to read,

Here is a critical question for you: what to do when your battery runs out?

empty battery warning

Panic? As someone who likes to read, I know of this problem first hand. Do you too? And if you do, what is your line of action to make sure you can read on in case this kind of disaster strikes? I’ve heard of people carrying paperbacks with them. Paperbacks, although much larger than e-readers, don’t run out of power, so that makes sense. My strategy is a bit more complex, but so far it’s worked great for me.

Strategy. I fixed my problem the electronic way. I have a 7″ tablet and a rather large phone, both running Android. Both devices have the same e-reading software on it, called Moon Reader + Pro. Why the Pro version? There’s the trick. I have configured Moon Reader to save the last-read location of each book online. You can choose between Google Drive and Dropbox, or use both. If the tablet runs out of power, I fire up the reader on my phone, open the book, and Moon Reader checks where I stopped reading. It then asks if I want to continue at the latest saved location, I say yes, and off we go. 🙂

Tips. If you need some tips on saving power on your e-reader or tablet, follow this link to E-readers In Canada!


Study: 30 Percent of Flyers Have Left on their Electronic Devices

Dear reader,

Recently I posted about the problems e-reading devices might cause in aeroplanes. There is a new study now that shows most fears apparently are unfounded, because many people don’t take the trouble to switch off their devices at all. I found this article on Teleread:

Ever reach into your pocket at the end of a long flight to turn on your phone, only to realize it was on all along? You’re not alone. A study released Thursday found that 30 percent of U.S. airplane passengers have accidentally left a personal electronic device turned on while on a plane.

According to the “Portable Electronic Devices on Aircraft” study, jointly conducted by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX),  69 percent of respondents say they have used an electronic device in-flight.

The study comes as the federal government is considering relaxing restrictions on in-flight use of electronics, and the FCC is pushing for stronger in-air Wi-Fi signals.

“Airline passengers have come to rely on their smartphones, tablets and e-readers as essential travel companions,”  Doug Johnson, vice president of technology policy at CEA, said in the survey. “Understanding the attitudes and behaviors of passengers that are using electronic devices while traveling will help the FAA make informed decisions.”

Editor’s Note:  The complete study is available free only to APEX members and CEA member companies at

• This article originally appeared on GadgeTell, a TeleRead sister site.

Preferred ways of reading.

Dear reader,

What is your favourite medium to read from? Do you prefer books? Tablets? E-readers? Your telephone?

The Daily Telegraph posted an interesting article on this topic a little while ago:

Design of de Servière
Design of de Servière

Electronic readers ‘better than books’ for older people

Elderly people should use e-readers or tablet computers rather than books because they place less strain on the eyes while reading, a study has found.

Digital reading devices allow older people to read the same text more quickly and with less effort than printed pages, without affecting their understanding of the text, researchers said.

But when asked which device they preferred reading on, traditional books were twice as popular as electronic devices among older readers, backing up previous surveys.

The results suggest that despite digital book sales overtaking print in the UK and the US, readers are still more attached to the culture associated with books than the convenience of electronic devices.

Researchers from Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, tracked the eye movements and brain activity of 36 younger participants aged 21-34, and 21 older adults aged 60 and above as they read text from e-readers, tablet computers and printed pages.

(You can read the full version here.)

A fun bit of hardware

Via TheDigitalReader I found this interesting article:

Meet the Trekstor Pyrus Mini. There are no English language reviews of this ereader yet, so I am going to post a rare first impressions post in order to give my readers at least some info.

This beauty is shorter, narrower, and thinner than the beagle, and it weighs in at only 111 grams, beating the txtr beagle by 17g and the K4 by 59g. The Pyrus Mini is being sold by trekstor, and it has a 4.3″ E-ink screen, 1.6GB of accessible storage, and a microSD card slot.

Yes, this ereader has a screen smaller than on a lot of smartphones. But what’s even better is that it has the same screen resolution as on the Kindle and the txtr beagle, and that lets the Pyrus Mini pack the pixels tighter than even the Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Glo, and other 6″ ereaders ( 232 ppi vs 212 ppi).

trekstor pyrus mini 5

Pyrus Mini with the Kindle Paperwhite

It’s missing certain features like the Wifi, and that means you’ll need to transfer ebooks over a USB cable. But on the upside this ereader differs from the txtr beagle in that it supports several ebook formats, including Epub, PDF, FB2, PDB, and it can also display text files as well as jpg, gif, png, and bmp image files.

The txtr beagle, on the other hand, cannot display ebooks at all. That device is more of an image viewer and actually displays page images. It’s also limited to only carrying 5 books at a time, far less than the thousand or more that can fit into the Pyrus Mini.

I got my unit earlier this week. This review unit was given to me by Trekstor, and it replaces the two I bought but were subsequently lost by DHL.

I’ve been reading on it for the past few days and I like it. It’s a pleasant little ereader that is designed to be gripped in one hand. It has page turn buttons on the right edge, so I suspect it is really intended to be used in your left hand with your left forefinger over the buttons. But I could also use it right-handed.

trekstor pyrus mini 2The Pyrus Mini is a budget ereader, and you can tell that by the limited number of features. You’re limited to 6 font sizes, 3 margin options, and you can also change the character encoding (this enables support for other language/ font sets like Simplified Chinese, Tirkish, etc). The screen can be set to refresh after either 1, 3 or 5 page turns. You can bookmark a page, search for a word, or use the table of contents.


Please head over to TheDigitalReader if you want to see the entire article.