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The Search for My Perfect eReader; Win 2 Books for Your Advice

Karin Kallmaker LIFE + STYLE

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It’s a momentous holiday season this year in my life as a reader: Yep, time for an eReader. I am literally reading every spare moment of my life, and would like to do it some other place than my desk. Pennies have been saved, plus Santa, spouse and children are all going in together to make this the year. You can probably tell that I won’t be buying a new one every 6 months — whatever I buy needs to fit my needs for 2-3 years. See, I only just gave up my Palm Pilot as obsolete. That’s how long I can milk a platform.

Here are my needs:

  1. Read Adobe files and Word docs and I don’t really care what software makes that happen. Doesn’t have to be Adobe even, could be Mobi. But it must read Word docs. Sun-Micro’s Open Doc, whatever.
  2. Ability to mark up or briefly comment on the Word docs. Other file formats is a bonus.
  3. Sync with Outlook 2003 (though I would consider with much whining and screeching moving to a more recent version) for contacts and calendar.
  4. Comfortable reading experience. I can and do read on my computer all the time so that doesn’t bother me visually. Page turning that doesn’t require a stylus (ever tried to use a stylus while on a treadmill?). Doesn’t have to be readable on a brightly lit beach, but a semi-shady park bench would be nice.

That’s it. Anything else is a bonus.

Here’s what I don’t need:

  1. Any service or connection option that requires me to pay a monthly fee. I can’t afford it. If that means I connect always with USB or wireless through my computer to move data, fine with me. I’m pretty savvy with connectivity.
  2. Receive email or send texts or make phone calls. I have a cell phone that goes with me everywhere.
  3. Play music. I have an mp3 player I adore that’s the size of a Chic-let that goes with my everywhere.
  4. Play videos or view photos though I might use a photo viewing feature if it was there.
  5. Browse the web, unless it’s free. (Do you sense a trend? From managing my family’s cell phone needs I know how hard all services work to get you to spend more than you meant to on extra services. Next thing you know monthly fee has doubled or tripled.)
  6. Play games, though public domain freebies wouldn’t be scorned.

Here’s what I wish to avoid:

  • Adding a software program to my runs-like-a-top Windows 7 desktop that will ask me to update it every week. Adobe already annoys me. Intensely.
  • Or runs a background process that bogs down my system.
  • Or sends me always to a store when it opens, usually freaking out if there’s no Internet connection.
  • Or when I first load it scans my entire drive and converts files to its standard and makes it fairly difficult for the user to skip that step.

Yes, I am still stinging about realizing iTunes had changed all my mp3s to mp4s before I even knew there was such a thing as an mp4. Heavy-handed iTunes operations when I had an iPod have made me leery of bossy interfaces. Apple is not the only company that sets up their interface to run your world, including changing your browser home page without asking. Just buy a camera and use its proprietary software. Next thing you know 400 book cover jpgs are now in their format and darned if Photoshop will read them.

So I would like to avoid accepting an uber lord to use the new gadget, but I understand that my choices may be few and if I must give myself to a platform then I must.

So why am I telling you all this? 

If you’re a techie type person with an eReader that seems to fit the bill, I’d like you to tell me about it and I’ll research the model you suggest.

If you’re not a techie type person but you have an eReader, I’d love to know what model eReader you use and the one thing you love most about it and the one thing you dislike most about it.

I’ll pick at random one person who posts eReader specific information at my blog (http://kallmaker.blogspot.com) to receive two books of their choice from me in good old-fashioned print versions (provided I have the books on hand). You can comment here at my blog with your Facebook log in; comments on the Facebook thread won’t be entered into the drawing. So please do comment here at the blog.

Thank you everybody! I appreciate your feedback and the time you take to give it. Your help will be one of the many blessings I’ll count this holiday season.