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Ereaders, phones, tablets & reading apps

Beware of Kindle Fires catching fire. Similar hazards on other devices with lithium-ion batteries
July 3, 2015 | 10:38 am

Exploded or almost-exploded Fire battery - from the Homeless in Vancouver blogWho says firecrackers are the only things that may explode July 4 (that's Independence Day here in the United States)? Fires and explosions of lithium-ion batteries, aka li-ion batteries, are rare. But they do happen. Check out some wisdom from Stanley Q. Woodvine, a homeless man in Vancouver. He wrote of a Fire whose battery either exploded or "was overheated to a point just short of exploding." Here are two ways to help reduce the threat: 1. Go for batteries from known sources. 2. Try to use the right chargers, with precautions against overcharing. The safest bets would be the same as the chargers that came with...

ePub and other sacrileges on the Voyage and Paperwhite: Easy jail-breaks ahead?
June 27, 2015 | 2:51 am

VoyageRootNathan ran a great write-up on the challenges of rooting the Kindle Voyage, the Paperwhite and other recent Kindles. He was following up on a how-to video on taking the Voyage apart. Meanwhile, at MobileRead, buzz persists about hacking the recent-model Kindles. Remember, Kindles are little linux beasts. Amazon has tried to turn them into corporate creatures. Now the open source community wants Paperwhites and the rest to be free again to run such applications as Cool Reader without hassles for even the knowledgeable. Among other things, Cool Reader can display ePub, the nonproprietary standard. Jail-breaking, aka letting you modify the equipment you paid for, isn't for wimpy, of course. You don't...

Head to Head: Kobo Glo HD vs Kindle Paperwhite 3
June 26, 2015 | 12:28 pm

Glo vs PaperwhiteYesterday I reviewed the new Kindle Paperwhite 3, and I promised a shopping comparison between the Kobo Glo HD and the Paperwhite. Right now they are the closest competitors to each other since I don't consider the Kobo Glo HD to be a true competitor to the Kindle Voyage because of all the extra Voyage features. If you're thinking about a 300 ppi eReader, you're probably wondering Glo HD or Paperwhite? I don't think there is a one size fits all answer to that question. A lot depends on your preferences. What I'm going to do is present them, feature by...

eReader Review: New Kindle Paperwhite (PW3) With 300 ppi Resolution
June 25, 2015 | 12:14 pm

Paperwhite Care PackageLet me start by saying that Amazon is a class act. When they offered to send me a new Kindle Paperwhite 3 to review, I was expecting a box with a Paperwhite. Instead I got a care package which included the reader, an Amazon leather case, a water bottle, sunglasses and a beach towel. Seems like they were trying to suggest the Paperwhite is good for beach reading? However, don't think that I'm blinded by bling. While, in the main, I like the new device and do believe it is a worthy successor to last year's Paperwhite, I do have some...

Australian e-book site e-book.com.au to close down
June 18, 2015 | 2:22 pm

e-book.com.au.logoAustralian e-book advocacy site e-book.com.au has announced it will close down at the end of June, 2015. Although we have only mentioned the site a couple of times on TeleRead as nearly as I can tell, the site has been in existence since 2001—a year longer than TeleRead—and has covered e-books and e-book advocacy from an Australian perspective during that time, as well as providing links to free e-book resources. [Thanks to Chris for this wonderful piece of e-book history! Just to clarify one detail, TeleRead predates e-book.com.au by years---see my publisher's note below with documenting links. - D.R.] Site founder...

Kindle Paperwhite Getting Upgrade to 300 ppi
June 17, 2015 | 10:20 am

kindle paperwhiteAmazon just announced that they are upgrading the Kindle Paperwhite to improve the screen to the same resolution as the Kindle Voyage. The new Paperwhite will also have the Bookerly font (which I am not a fan of) and the same reading enhancements announced for the iOS app last week. (Enhancements which are not as enhanced as we'd like.) Obviously, I think the most important part of this announcement is the new screen. Now that I own a Kobo Glo HD, I've learned to appreciate the sharper resolution. However, I didn't like the price tag or haptic page turn feature of the...

Oyster Introduces Lumin, a New Light Adjusting Reading Mode
June 17, 2015 | 9:00 am

oysterOyster is tackling the problem of how light from our tablet screens affect both eye health and our ability to sleep. A lot has been written about the effect the blue light from our tablet screens impacts the ability to fall asleep. Once I swore it didn't make a difference to me, but then I started experimenting with reading on an eInk device, starting about an hour before bed. I think it makes a difference compared to reading or playing Solitaire on a tablet. Oyster's way of dealing with the problem is to add a new mode to their mobile apps,...

Voice Dream text-to-speech reader to appear for Android in August
June 11, 2015 | 1:32 pm

ipad_middleI’ve praised the Voice Dream e-reader as a stellar way to enjoy text to speech of files in ePub, HTML, plain text, Word and other formats. Other apps offer TTS. But Voice Dream Reader also comes with wonderful navigational and annotative capabilities as well as a rich assortment of voices. It’s integrated with DropBox, Google Drive and EverNotes, and you can even download to it directly from Project Gutenberg Now---some great news: Voice Dream Reader for Android will enter Beta in a few days and should be in the Apple Store at the start of August....

Considering An Android to iOS Switch
June 10, 2015 | 2:55 pm

android to ios switchWhile I was quite happy with the HTC One M8 when I got it almost a year ago, I haven't remained as content with it over time. Just before I received the Lollipop update, I was having both serious battery life issues, lagging and crashing apps. The app crashing was so bad that Google Sheets crashed every time I opened it, sometimes multiple times. Since I use Sheets to track my business mileage, it's an app I use several times a day, and I finally got so irritated that I started tracking in Sheets on my iPad instead. Which meant I...

E-book-lovers vs. proprietary formats (yes, P is still evil)
June 6, 2015 | 11:28 am

Cumbres_&_Toltec_trainTeleRead writers traditionally have been strong supporters of e-book standards. No blinking. No hesitation. ePub is the way to go in most cases. The majority of us have just hated proprietary formats even though companies like Amazon make them hard to avoid. Proprietary formats remind us of the time when trains commonly ran on tracks of different gauges. But as TeleRead’s owner, I've made it clear we don't have party lines.  And today’s beautifully written essay from Chris Meadows, my friend and much-appreciated colleague, illustrates this. Mind you, Chris isn't directly cheering proprietary formats. He...

Does anyone even want cross-platform e-book interoperability?
June 6, 2015 | 6:06 am

padlockProprietary e-book formats have been around for quite some time. Most major commercial vendors use proprietary formats to one extent or another, be they Amazon’s Kindle format or the proprietary DRM that Barnes & Noble and others put on top of EPUB. Given that they help to chill competition and keep Amazon firmly on the top of the e-book hill, they are generally not accounted to be a good thing by publishing industry activists. But I ran across a provocative post at Digital Book World suggesting that they might actually be a good thing after all. Joshua Tallent says...

CHIP Kickstarter makes full-fledged computer available for $9
June 4, 2015 | 2:24 pm

chip_gearWe’ve seen our share of rock-bottom-priced computers in the last few years—the Arduino, the Raspberry Pi, Rhombus Tech. But a Kickstarter project due to end in just under two days may have them all beat. Touting itself as “the world’s first $9 computer,” the CHIP system-on-a-chip packs a fully-powered 1 GHz, 512 megabyte RAM, 4 gigabyte storage computer into a card the size of a movie ticket. It includes Bluetooth for hooking up to controllers and peripherals, comes with Linux pre-installed, and has uses including web browsing, using LibreOffice, playing games, playing music, or even learning to code. Apparently people like...

E-books on your Windows phone: Try free Freda app—offering text to speech and easy downloads of free books
June 2, 2015 | 6:05 am

fredavideo  A free e-reading app called Freda might be just the ticket for your Windows phone. Freda already shines by Windows Phone e-reading standards. It’s won an average of 4.5 stars out of 5 from 1,384 customers of the Windows Phone Store. Perhaps when a Win 10 update rolls around for the app itself, Freda will be still better. Versions come in English, German, French, Chinese and several other languages. The above video from XDA TV is not up entirely to date but will still help you understand the app’s possibilities. As described by Turnipsoft Limited, here are some goodies: Reads ePub (DRM-free), HTML, and...

New Kindle App Options Not As Great As Amazon Presents
May 27, 2015 | 5:25 pm

Screenshot_2015-05-27-14-47-02I noticed this morning that my Kindle for iOS app had been updated and included the new font, Bookerly, plus new reading enhancing improvements. Here's what Amazon has to say about the improvements: Faster Reading, Less Eye Strain Hyphenation plus smoother word spacing result in faster reading with less eye strain. Improved character placement increases word recognition speed at any font size. Nate covered this story at Ink, Bits & Pixels, and has been in back and forth conversations with several people on Twitter who were not noticing the improvements. So I decided to take a look According to the Amazon page, the improvements are...

Kobo, American Booksellers Association launch ‘eRead Local’ promotion to boost bookstore e-book sales
May 27, 2015 | 4:12 pm

Kobo is launching a new program in conjunction with the American Booksellers Association to promote the sale of e-books in independent bookstores, reports Publishers Weekly. “eRead Local” will run for 100 days, and provide $5 to participating ABA members for each new customer they deliver, as well as give those customers $5 off their first Kobo e-book order. (ABA members also get commissions on e-books their customers order.) ABA members who manage to deliver 50 or 100 members will enter drawings for free Kobo e-readers for in-store use or an in-store event with a yet-to-be-named bestselling author. Publishers Weekly...

Are People ‘Returning’ to Print Books?
April 16, 2015 | 9:25 am

print vs paperIn today's Morning Links, I featured an Apartment Therapy article which worked my pet peeve chestnut: the 'print books versus ebooks' debate. I hate this one so, so much. I think it's a really simple-minded analysis to treat print and eBook as a zero-sum game with a winner and a loser. Many readers, such as myself, freely purchase both types of book. I personally do have paper book shelf space, I just choose carefully what I fill it with and favour the artsy, beautiful ones that just don't translate as well to e-forms. So, why did I feature this article, then?...

eReading while cruising
December 19, 2014 | 10:27 am

ereadingWhen I mentioned to Chris Meadows that I was leaving for my first ever cruise, he suggested I write something about ereading while cruising. I wasn't sure how I'd approach that, until I'd been on the ship for a couple of days. It was interesting to walk around the decks and see what devices people were using. Here's what I saw. The first day, Nooks outnumbered Kindles, but that turned out to be a fluke. After that first day, I saw only one other Nook. Kindles abounded, although most of them were the eInk versions. I saw lots of Paperwhites, one Touch,...

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