Tablet PC as an e-book reader?

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I'm considering getting an e-book reader (Sony or similar) and wonder
about the possibility of using a tablet PC (primarily) for that
purpose. I'd expect to pay more, probably over twice as much, but it
seems like the ability to view color from PDF books, larger screen,
and probably sharper text might give the tablet PC some advantages.

Does anyone have experience with this?

Any other suggestions? I'd think that a netbook might be OK, except
that the landscape screen setup might not be so convenient.

Re: Tablet PC as an e-book reader?

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I've never tried a tablet but I often read on my netbooks. They work
just fine as ebook readers.

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Maybe not that much more. The Sony ebook reader at my Target is around
US$300 and my eeePC netbook was $299 at the same store. Course a
tablet will likely cost more. There is a new eeePC tablet coming out
soon, might be worth the wait to see what the price will be.

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The text on the netbook (and tablet) may not be sharper than the Sony,
but it is in color, a big advantage IMO and certainly pleasant to
read. Even the black on white text looks better in color because the
background is a whiter white and provides better contrast than the
dark brown text over light brown background Sony. However in direct
sunlight the Sony will be easier to read whereas in darkness the
netbook will be easier to read. (The Sony has no backlight.)

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I often read ebooks on a Palm TX. That way I can carry several books
in my pocket when I'm out and need to kill some time. Many people read
ebooks on their phone screens. Any resolution 320x320 or better will
read just fine. Heck on my old Palms with the 160x160 green screens I
read lots of novels...

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Most ebook readers can switch orientation so that's not a problem. And
if your reader won't your OS likely will. I use the free ebook reader
FBReader (available for both PC and Linux) which will read just about
any file format you can find (that's not encrypted).

Re: Tablet PC as an e-book reader?

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What would concern me using a tablet as an ebook reader is WEIGHT.  Now,
if you're talking about a small tablet, like my Nokia N800 Linux tablet,
it passes the weight test right away.  But, alas, you don't want to
stare at it for hours reading a book for a couple of reasons......

1 - IT HAS A GLOSSY SCREEN that reflects every light from any source.  
If you're thinking about using ANY kind of tablet in a moving vehicle to
read any kind of DON'T want one with the damned glossy
screen that's like looking through a mirror...except in a dark room.  
This property is EASILY number one on your list, and puts a huge
majority of any kind of tablet or the list.  Put the
same picture on two same-sized LCD glossy, one non-
reflective.  The problem no matter how carefully the store has tried to
obscure it with lighting and positioning is easily to see.  I'll never
buy another device with a GLOSSY screen, no matter how neat and great it

2 - I'm too old to read that little print.  So, we'll want at least a
netbook 10" screen.  ANY tablets that size or bigger, the ones with the
rotating around screens that become the back....are way too heavy to
hold in your hands like a book to read.  Their slippery surfaces that
impress the glitzers also makes them slippery to hold in a jiggling

I think your netbook, and mine, is just about the best compromise of
size and weight....and price.  Spending $350 for a Sony e-book reader
that does nothing else seems just crazy to me.  My new netbook is the
Samsung NC10.  I wanted an NC20, the new one coming out, but every
picture shows it has a GLOSSY Glitzy screen, putting it off the I bought the NC10, in BLACK so it didn't flood my eyes with
light in a bright room or outdoors and obscure the picture.  It's very
bright Samsung display reflects NOTHING!  I watch a lot of streaming TV
and movies on it...for hours without that "mirror fatigue" of my other
laptop, a Gateway 14" beast....with glossy screen.  Watching video on a
WHITE computer is stupid.  You need sunglasses that wash out the picture
if the sun shines on it!  FLAT, not shiny, BLACK is the frame and
keyboard frame on the reflections there, either.

When I read ebooks on it, my reader flips the picture around so the top
of the book is on the left side of the screen (rotated 90 degrees CCW).  
I can then hold the little netbook like a book, always reading the right
hand page.  This netbook is a wide-screen so the whole page is displayed
without scrolling.

I have this touchscreen on order from Taiwan: =
they also have models for eeePC, Wind in various sizes.

Installation for my NC10 is here: -

I miss my Nokia N800's stylus touchscreen....This should fix that.

Re: Tablet PC as an e-book reader?

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Thanks for all comments..

Larry, I understand that when reading e-books, your system rotates the
page so that it fills the screen when you hold the PC sideways. I did
not know that that option was available, and it makes the use of a
Netbook so much more appealing! Is that some special software, or is
it an option that is on your particular Netbook (NC-10)?

Re: Tablet PC as an e-book reader?

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Nokia N800 or N810 makes a pretty good eBook reader.  Battery life is perhaps
4-8 hours reading an eBook, and an N800/810 doubles as a nice GPS navigation
system and media player... and a great little Linux computer to play with.

No laptop or netbook will have anything close to the battery life of the
"real" eBook reads that use special LCDs such that, when you're just staring
at a page and reading, the entire unit really does shut down completely to
completely negligible battery usage... whereas a laptop or netbook still has a
backlight to power, the graphics chip, etc.

The HP TX2500 series of tablet laptops is available quite inexpensively
(<$750), although they use 64-bit AMD CPUs and as such definitely aren't that
great on battery life.  They also weigh a lot more than a netbook or "real"
eBook reader or a Nokia, but overall the bang for the buck is quite good.

Note that even if you're not getting operating support for rotating the screen
to portrait mode, some eBook readers can just render the page "sideways" in


Re: Tablet PC as an e-book reader?

On 3/30/2009 17:26, Charlie Hoffpauir wrote:
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Hi Charlie,

I do a lot of reading, and am on the move 14+ hours a day.
My solution is a Palm TX, I have an 8GB SDHC card in it. I
can read books, listen to music while I read and with a
Socket MMP battery back, I can go the ENTIRE day without
looking for an electrical outlet. Add to that the ability to
tether to (some) cellphones I have Internet access (when not
near a wi-fi) hotspot and you have a very handy solution.

I keep my reading (both technical and entertainment) on the
SDHC card. I can read HTML, PDF, and TXT with no conversion

And of course there is the size issue. A netbook is nice,
but is a little difficult to stick in a pocket or clip onto
your belt. Add to that the ability to edit Word and Excel
for business purposes, I just can't see a netbook as a
solution. I will admit, that I have spent quite a bit on
software for my TX but having it with me all the time and
not having to worry very much about battery life is just
really cool.

I find myself sitting and waiting on a far to regular basis
and being able to pull out my Palm and read a few pages
makes waiting a bit more sufferable.

The major down side to the Palm is the screen resolution . .
. 480 * 320 is a little limiting when I am viewing some PDF
files (I hate scrolling side to side) but if you can live
with the lower resolution, then I would definitely recommend
the Palm TX as an eBook reader.

Note that tethering is limited to certain phones (I have a
Samsung Messager that it simply will NOT connect to argh!!!)
but it works great with the Motorola Razr.

The Palm TX still sells retail at Best Buy for $299 and you
can expect to spend another $200 (minimum) to make the
machine usable and then another $150 for the Socket battery
pack, but it is worth it.

C.Joseph Drayton, Ph.D. AS&T

CSD Computer Services

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