637th post: eBooks (Eletronic books)

Recently, I have been gaining interest in reading books. It wasn't until I started a movie marathon of the Harry Potter film (grew up with it) that I felt the desire to wanting to read it: I had read the book versions of the whole series (except the 7th, which I had only seen the movie version), and knew that there were things in the books that were omitted from the film version. The problem is that I seem to have misplaced it, or was not with me when I wanted. (I can't carry a lot of books with them weighting me down or leaving little room for other things, especially with the 4th volume onwards.)

Well, you do know that I write my own stories on this blog. About two hundred thousand words on last count. Weeks earlier, I wrote down the first 3 parts of Teary Promise on sheets of lined A4 paper I had lying around: it took up 22 pages, and I had to take a break to rest my hand at every 3rd or 4th page. (I found typing errors as I did it.) I myself was shocked at how many pages they took up even though they don't seem that long on the blog. How are all of this related to ebooks?

Prior to gaining an interest in ebooks, I actually already have some stories in PDF format, and read things like news articles, reviews, etc online, so the concept is not new to me. I already knew about e-ink displays and ebook readers that uses them back then, but I don't see them at the electronic stores I go to. Even if I did, they cost outside my budget, and the thought of having them is one of the last things on my mind. What drove me is the accumulating electronic-based reading material. I already have an iPod Touch to read them, but the screen is just too small for me to read comfortably, and an iPad is just too expensive with features that mostly duplicates my already-existing iPod Touch.

On top of that, practically all of the screens I have came across uses backlight that strains your eyes. Although it did got better when everyone switched away from those bulky CRT screens, it was still not enough.

Problem with reading on an LCD screen is that you need a backlight to be able to see well with what is on the screen even though the room is lit. If you have a GameBoy, or Nintendo DS, you can see what it's like with the backlight off/missing. Even if you leave it on, particularly battery-powered ones, you would find that the screen would turn off automatically annoyingly often (at default settings) and/or the battery draining off quickly.

With the way e-ink displays work, you can see it quite well in room light, and consumes energy only to change what is being displayed (like flip-disc display on electronic signs that are mostly replaced by LED displays these days), which translates to better battery life for the device. Anyone will tell you that the LCD display drains the most power on your phone than anything else because it needs electricity to maintain what is being displayed, and more for the backlight.

Kindles offered on Amazon Japan in late 2012
I saw Amazon's Kindle as one of the cheapest ebook that has a lot of positive reviews, and one of the few that supports Japanese text (most of the ones I looked at don't). The local Amazon (right) doesn't have the basic Kindle I was looking for, so I looked at the American site. I think why they don't have it is probably a technical problem relating to text input, which is already a hassle entering Latin characters.

Why I didn't choose the Paperwhite version there? Well, I heard about complaints about the screen, and it costs more than the basic Kindle. The other two models you see are LCD-based and costs even more.

Since the second generation, they support a lot of different formats besides their own propriety format, especially PDF files. So, the real problem here is that Amazon does not ship the Kindle (to be fair, most electronics sold there too) to outside the United States, even though they do accept my non-US card as a mode of payment,

The way around this is to send it to a local (US) address, and then ship it to me from there. I never use this service before, but they seem to have been around for a while with positive feedback from people. So I registered with them before I ordered my Kindle. The provider is Comgateway.

This was taken hours before my package arrived at the US address
As of the time of writing, I have not received it yet. Even though I select the two-day shipping option (free if order is above US$25, or at least at the time I ordered), ordering it on 21 December, the last Friday before Christmas. However, the carrier Amazon used, UPS, does not work on weekends and holidays meant that Comgateway would not get until the following Monday. However, with Monday being the eve of Christmas, it appears to be a half-day to them and did not get delivered until 2 days later. (See above) Probably because they had a lot to deliver. Comgateway does seem to have receive the parcel with my tracking number on it, but, at the moment, they are in the middle of processing it before they could deliver it to me. Could have gotten earlier if it weren't for the weekend and Christmas.

On searching what they meant by "rescheduled due to the holiday", I came a lot of recent negative reviews about UPS. At that time, Comgateway has yet to receive my package, so I feel anxious about it being lost or damaged by irresponsible handling by them. Comments cited that DHL and FedEx, both are what Comgateway uses to ship, are a lot better than UPS in terms of how it is delivered and the number of complaints.

I noticed that there is a discount voucher that I can redeem to reduce how much I would pay to ship it from there, but that expires on the 31st! A narrow window to be able to use it.


Popular posts from this blog

Review of Autumn 2008 anime

New Autumn 2008 Anime / Review of Summer & Spring Anime

375th post: navigation menu images changed