Friday, May 13, 2011

eBook readers - what NOT to buy...

Ok, consider this an unofficial consumer survey on ebook readers. I looked at the Kindle, but since it will only accept titles from the Kindle store, and I want it to borrow books from my public library, that was out.
So, I looked, briefly at the Kobo at Chapters/Indigo. Good price, fair quality, not a lot of bells and whistles, etc, but you can download library books, and you can buy books online with gift cards (I do not use credit cards. - long story) So, I kept looking.
Then while in Costco, I had another look at the PanDigital Novel that they carry. Unfortunately, Costco being a warehouse store, had no staff to discuss this with, so, being dazzled by the pretty colour pictures and the promises of all things digital, and a good price, I bought it.
HUGE mistake. I should have read the reviews first because from the first hour, I was ready to throw it out the window. After 24 hours of not being able to get it to download anything, even the program that the library gives out FREE for reading their books, I called my IT guy. He agreed to look at it for me. Now, I trust my IT guy, he's extremely good at what he does, he's quick, he's flexible and he's not bad to look at either (but seriously married I might add.)
I left it with him and 2 days later he called. He was choosing his words very carefully, explaining that he spent 4 hair-pulling hours on it and finally got the updated firmware installed. Then the library's program, and yes - we had books. But only the preloaded ones from Barnes and Noble - you know, the gut wrenchers (sarc.) like "Little Women" and "Pride and Predjudice." He was sure it was on it's way now, so I paid him and went home dreaming of what to read first.
ARGH!!!!!! Yes, it would download the library books now. But, not in any format that would fit the screen. I could only use 1/4 of the page at a time and no changing of the font size, or telling it to "fit to page" would solve it. When I tried to scroll across the page to see the second half of the sentence - it would skip to the next chapter. Ok, now I'm really getting p****ed off.
This morning I spent a hour and a half at the library, with the help of their IT department to try to resolve the 1/4 page issue. Nada. Nowhere. So I left, leaving the IT person sending emails to the powerhouses that run those programs.
I spent the rest of today struggling with that darned thing, and finally it broke me. At 8:20, ten minutes before closing time, I returned it to Costco. I told the cashier I was surprised that they did not ALL come back - she did say they had received a few back... an understatement I'm sure.
So I phoned my IT guy on the way home to vent and basically tell him he's right, they're junk, and he has my permission (as if he needed it !) to tell anyone, anytime about my experience and warn them to stay away!
So, I am again eBook-less. I'll take some more time to shop around, and when I do decide, it will be coming out of the box IN THE STORE, and prove itself BEFORE I even take it home.
Who ever said technology was the way of the future? Some days, it just sucks!
So, my friends, on my personal advice, stay away from the PanDigitalNovel. Save yourself the stress.

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