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View Full Version : The Amazon Kindle : As a RPG Resource



Farcaster
03-14-2008, 07:00 PM
http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/digital/fiona/dp/v3-screen2._V4948245_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA?ie=UTF8&tag=penandpaperga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000FI73MA)I promised some time ago to write up a review on the Amazon Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA?ie=UTF8&tag=penandpaperga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000FI73MA) after I got it in my eager little hands. After waiting almost three months from the time I ordered it, at last it arrived. This is perhaps the most frustrating thing about the Kindle - that it takes so damned long to get one. Luckily, the wait time seems to be getting a little better. Recently, my parents ordered one, and it took about a month from the time they ordered it until it was shipped out.

So, is it worth the wait? I definitely think so. I've been using mine for a couple of months now, and I have been exceedingly happy with it. As a replacement for the paperback book, it excels. It is very comfortable to read, and I personally found that adjusting the font size to be a little larger than standard print noticeably increased my reading speed. I am also completely in love with the fact that I can browse the Kindle selection from home (on my Kindle or on my computer) and have my selection ready to read in less than a minute. Oh, and it is true what they say about the display being simply amazing. You have to see it to believe it.

But, there have been hundreds upon hundreds of reviews written about the Kindle, so I will try not rehash what you can read about in detail all over the net. You may be wondering though how you might use the Kindle to enhance your pen and paper gaming. I hate to have to say that while the Kindle is so much more pleasant to read on than the standard paper back, it is a long way from replacing your RPG reference materials. Why do I say so?

After tearing through my first digital book, I decided to see how I could use the Kindle to enhance my gaming. PDF conversions are still in the experimental stage, and they have already said that the conversion of multi-columnar books into the native Kindle format is still kludgey. But, they do support conversion of Microsoft Word documents. As luck would have it, Wizards of the Coast makes the d20 SRD (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20/article/srd35) available in RTF format, so I decided to try loading that bad boy in. I figured that since the Kindle automatically indexes books you load onto it, it would be an excellent resource when I needed to look up something during a game.

The first problem that I ran into, which admittedly is not Amazon's fault, is that the d20 SRD is actually divided into a gazillion and a half separate documents. If I just loaded this up straight into my Kindle, I'd end up with a very cluttered library. Of course, one thought I did have on this is that I could throw them on a memory card and only load them up when I needed them. I didn't try this approach though.

Instead, I decided to run a test and combine the seven Magic Items documents into one file and upload that to my Kindle. Unhappy days though, I found that the Kindle did not support Rich Text Format (RTF). So, I first had to load the document up and convert it to MS Word format. After I did this, I could then send it off to Amazon to be automatically converted and emailed back to me. Once I sent them a format they could convert, I received my Kindle ready document back through email almost instantaneously. Happily, I connected my Kindle to my computer via USB and copied over the AMZ file.

The result was kinda sloppy. First, even when I reduced the font size to its lowest setting, I still wasn't getting that much on one screen. And at anything other than the smallest font, the line spacing was way too much. While this wasn't a problem reading a typical book, this turned out to be especially problematic for my converted SRD.

The biggest problem that I found was that the tables did not keep their native format. Instead, the cells that were supposed to be spanning across the page, were printed line by line after each other. This made deciphering the table difficult, and the limited screen size and line spacing exacerbated the problem. Had I started with the Monster section instead, which is basically table after table, I would have ended up with a pretty much unusable document.

Still, I did like the fact that I could plug in a search, like "Ring of Protection" and instantly get links back to the exact section the Ring of Protection showed up in. The pitfall of the Kindle's indexing engine as it stands right now though is that you cannot specify a specific book to search. So, if I were to search for a more generic term in my library, such as "magic armor," I would get hits from any books I had downloaded that contained those words as well. Even if there was nothing else loaded, I would still have to fish through the all the results where the words "magic armor" appeared in my SRD. Thankfully, the Kindle does give a snip of the surrounding text, so you can figure out if it is the right section before you click on it.

Ultimately, I decided that the Kindle just didn't measure up as a replacement for reference material. Although there are no officially released RPG books on the Kindle that I know of, I did try loading up a couple computer related books. Most of these types of books use a lot of tables, charts and pictures, just like your typical RPG book would. And it is here that the Kindle doesn't do well. The tables in the computer books I downloaded were first converted into pictures and were not treated as normal text. But, while they kept their formatting, they were also zoomed out on the screen. Even when zooming in, often the tables aren't all that clear to read. Worse, that one table can end up spanning multiple pages.

I suspect that many of the RPG publishers will came to the same conclusion that I did and will probably wait until a new and better model comes out. Out of curiosity, I queried the press department of Wizards (in January) to see if they were planning on publishing any of their RPG materials or books on the Kindle and the response was less than enthusiastic,
"Dear Mr. Howard,
Thank you for your email.

Wizards of the Coast is always looking forward in how to best publish or books and RPG's. We do not have any plans at this time we can discuss publicly.

I'm sorry I can be of specific help.

Best regards,
Pat
Corporate Information"
To date, they still haven't released any of their fiction lines on the Kindle, which is unfortunate, because I do enjoy some of the Forgotten Realms and Dragon Lance novels.

So, overall, I still love my Kindle and I would recommend it to anyone who loves reading and has a few hundred bucks burning a whole in their pocket. But, before you run out and purchase one, I suggest you first check out their book lineup and see if your favorite authors have books published with them. WotC doesn't at this time, but I did find one of my favorite authors, R.A. Salvatore, does have all of his non-Forgotten Realms books available digitally. There was also plenty of Terry Brooks and Raymond Feist, or Stephen King for you horror fans.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm sure I have bored you enough, and I have a book to read or something...

MysticalForest
03-15-2008, 04:53 PM
Ah, thanks very much for the review--precisely my first question when I first heard about the Kindle.

Jonathan Kwiat
03-16-2008, 12:35 AM
http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/digital/fiona/dp/v3-screen2._V4948245_.jpg (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA?ie=UTF8&tag=penandpaperga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000FI73MA)I promised some time ago to write up a review on the Amazon Kindle (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FI73MA?ie=UTF8&tag=penandpaperga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B000FI73MA)

So, is it worth the wait? I definitely think so. I've been using mine for a couple of months now, and I have been exceedingly happy with it. As a replacement for the paperback book, it excels.


Hmmm...good to know you like it but are ambivalent about its propspects just now as a replacement for good old D&D 3.5 books and such still...some of your complaints about the interface are simply a reflection of some of the needs of intellectual property and digital rights management headaches.

For me I use old books for Kindling if I wanted to start a camp fire and the Kindle not at all because it is a closed source app that allows people to repackage old books into new files and sell them.

On the one hand this could be good for the environment and its portability is exceedingly good, the Amazon Kindle that is but on the other I like visiting used book stores like Strand and blowing an hour looking for a book out of print that I simply "must have."

I mean yeah I almost broke down and bought the thing so I could have Neal Stephenson's "In the Beginning... was the command line" and the nicest thing about it is it is hard for people to peer over your shoulder or at the cover and figure out what you are reading on the Kindle. But I am sorry...

I got to talk to a pretty NYU librarian grad student and be informed, mock smugly/crossly, that the book I wanted was so out of date, copyrihgt 1999, that only the "Social Sciences" section had this bit of sci-fi-geek non-fiction and those copies included rather smug pencil marks on Neal's work.

I mean, yeah I coulda gotten MORE with the Kindle but that thing is just kindling to me that would give off PCB's, poly-cyclic-benzene compounds in a camp fire and you can't even wipe anything down with it...

I hope the rare Earth Metals in the thing will be recycled one day and maybe they already were from other chips that got reprocessed but in the mealtime its junk waiting to happen that we can't recycle and can't even sequester carbon emissions with.

And paper, well paper that stuff just LASTS if you make it right, ever seen some medieval manuscripts that were working documents most of their life?

I'll wait till the apple people steal the tech and lay it over their thin Screens as a power-management saving feature so we can all get great crisp text without needing so much juice. I figure it will be good tech by then in the meantime...

that's for being a "leader of the pack," "thanks for the review" but...

no thanks on a kindle, lots of people carry those things on the Subways and Starbucks and they ain't happy people sitting in Barnes and Noble all by themselves. I like the people with the strollers and the people man or woman handling the books. Keep the kindle until I can safely burn it.

-Jonathan

boulet
03-16-2008, 05:10 PM
I must say I didn't know about the kindle. Thanks for the tip. That's one of the reason I love being a member here.

It's a nice device, the price is kind of rough still... I hope they have a decent policy about updating the firmware and enhancing the format the machine is dealing with.

tesral
03-16-2008, 08:27 PM
So, overall, I still love my Kindle and I would recommend it to anyone who loves reading and has a few hundred bucks burning a whole in their pocket. But, before you run out and purchase one, I suggest you first check out their book lineup and see if your favorite authors have books published with them. WotC doesn't at this time, but I did find one of my favorite authors, R.A. Salvatore, does have all of his non-Forgotten Realms books available digitally. There was also plenty of Terry Brooks and Raymond Feist, or Stephen King for you horror fans.

I'll stay well away from such animals until they support the open formats of RTF, and ODT, TXT at minimum. Sorry, but I'm not paying Amazon hand over fist for every document I have to be kludged into their propitiatory format, and it can't even handle tables? Bah! Humbug!

Open format, no DRM, that is my minimum requirements. A Book I buy is mine, not merely renting it to read on my Amazon revenue source.

Farcaster
03-17-2008, 03:28 AM
I'll stay well away from such animals until they support the open formats of RTF, and ODT, TXT at minimum. Sorry, but I'm not paying Amazon hand over fist for every document I have to be kludged into their propitiatory format

Tesral, you really should research the Kindle a bit further before railing against it so. First of all, the Kindle natively supports text (TXT) documents without any conversion required. It also supports opening unprotected mobipocket files without conversion. Additionally, you also don't have to pay a single dime to get your documents converted as Amazon provides an alternative. If you don't want to pay the 10 cent per document transaction fee (or 10 cents for an entire zip file of documents) then you can instead have the documents emailed to you. You are then able to load the documents over to your Kindle using a USB cable. Voila. Free

As to being able to buy DRM free digital books -- good luck. Even with the DRM in place on mobipocket books, there are apparently thousands of recent titles and new releases out there to be had on BitTorrent and the like. If there were no DRM, and you didn't even have to search for it very hard, piracy of e-books would be far more prevalent. So, without some sort of copy protection, how then would companies like Amazon attract publishers to allow their books to be distributed electronically? In a fledgling market like this, I think DRM is a good thing if it helps bring the publishers to the table.

Besides, your book purchases are still backed up and can be redownloaded at any time. And even if they weren't you still have a mechanism for making permanent backups on your own.

The one thing I do disagree with Amazon on is that there is that there is no way I can share a book I have finished with a friend, as I might do with a hard copy book. The only way I could share my digital book would be to lend out my Kindle -- and thus my entire digital library. I do think there should be some way for me to transfer ownership of my digital book to someone else. Perhaps the constrain is technology, I dunno. But, I do hope that they eventually make it possible.

Jonathan Kwiat
03-20-2008, 08:13 PM
He..he....

What you don't want to be "A Kindle in The Wind?" What's wrong with Kindling anyway?

Its cool, its sexy, its all new old school that will convince people around you you are prosperous.

Yeah, it won't bring you enlightenment but I bet you could get kids interested in reading by walking around with the thing and denying them the pleasure of reading what you are reading. You say "No what I am reading is Out Of Print but it is SO very good I had to by this expensive wonderful thing just to read it...."

Then you stick your finger on the optional retinal or fingerprint scanner and unlock the book and sit there reading Dr. Suess while they laugh at your face.

See, that's its only good point. We can I-pod-ify literature. That's good. It almost makes the ability to read look cool again.

Smile

Jonathan

Nathaniello
05-05-2009, 08:14 AM
Wow, this is the first i've heard of it but after reading your review its definately something that I would think about getting but yeah i agree the Landlord Insurance (http://www.landlordinsurance.org.uk/) is still very expensive at the moment :( Is there any news about the price dropping down a bit or not??

ronpyatt
05-09-2009, 05:02 PM
Look out! The Amazon Kindle DX (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015TCML0?ie=UTF8&tag=penandpaperga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0015TCML0) has native PDF support.

Very cool features, and it seems this version is addressing many of the objections the previous versions did not.

Amazon is marketing it as Textbook capable. Can you imagine going to school with just the Kindle and no other books to lug around?

This would be fantastic for gamers. This means all those PDF's from RPGNow.com and other such venues can be stored in one slim package.

Now, if only it could display color.

tesral
05-09-2009, 06:55 PM
For the price, it should. Net books with full color monitors and more functionality are going for less.

Farcaster
05-10-2009, 04:59 PM
That would be an unfair comparison, Tesral, since it isn't backlit and uses a completely different technology for display than LCDs.

tesral
05-10-2009, 10:59 PM
I think it a perfectly fair comparison. Electronic appliances used to transmit information. The only advantage I see the Kindle to have is battery life. In every other comparison the netbook with its expandable base of software, open ability to read different formats, and no lock down to one company, is a better platform. Not to mention cheaper. Good netbooks are $299. the cheapest Kindle 50 bucks more. If I had to pick an internet appliance smaller and lighter than my Thinkpad T-61, I would get a netbook.

Farcaster
05-11-2009, 12:21 AM
There are a lot of other features of a Kindle. The delivery mechanism is a big part of that. The e-ink feature lets you read the device in even bright sunlight. I can attest that on the two days that it is Sunny here in Seattle, that I could read in the Sunlight just fine. And if there is a bigger selection of books available from any other provider, I certainly haven't heard about it. That is probably the most important thing. What good is a reader if you can't get the content you want on it?

ronpyatt
05-11-2009, 10:33 AM
Netbooks are hard to read in the sunlight. I can attest to that.

This sweeping generality just gives us a taste of a skeptical attitude. If you have a specific netbook in mind then maybe a proper comparison could be made. Because if you have such a cool appliance to compare, I'm all ears.

tesral
05-11-2009, 11:08 AM
Netbooks are hard to read in the sunlight. I can attest to that.

This sweeping generality just gives us a taste of a skeptical attitude. If you have a specific netbook in mind then maybe a proper comparison could be made. Because if you have such a cool appliance to compare, I'm all ears.

I don't like single taskers. While the Kindle is a cool toy, it is too locked up for my taste, and does too little. Any netbook does more. That is why I don't mention a model. I still prefer hard drives. SSD (http://hardware.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=09/02/13/2337258) it is coming out still has some issues in long term use. And I don't like the fact they don't tell you how much memory the thing has, just how many books it will hold. It would be nice if I'm carrying a Kindle, why do I have a USB drive too? Why not use the Kindle for mass storage as well?

You are paying far too much for something that they won't let you fully own. Like the iPhone. I would not take the gift of one. Now if Amazon opens the device up so you can freely move things on and off, use an open format for the books so once you buy it you can platform shift it, and you can get your formats like RTF and ODF on to read them, I'd consider its advantages in sunlight and long battery life.

For me the Kindle still falls into the category of net appliances like the WebTV that you have to buy, but are only usable with a single service.

Now I would like to see some of that technology shift to small computers. The eink screen would be great, once it is developed in color so computers are not handicapped in bright light. the weight and power requirement for LCD screens are still their downfall.

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-11-2009, 11:27 AM
There are a lot of other features of a Kindle. The delivery mechanism is a big part of that. The e-ink feature lets you read the device in even bright sunlight. I can attest that on the two days that it is Sunny here in Seattle, that I could read in the Sunlight just fine. And if there is a bigger selection of books available from any other provider, I certainly haven't heard about it. That is probably the most important thing. What good is a reader if you can't get the content you want on it?
I read somewhere that you cant backtrack to pages you've already read. Is there any truth in this rumor, farcaster?

Farcaster
05-11-2009, 11:44 AM
I don't like single taskers. While the Kindle is a cool toy, it is too locked up for my taste, and does too little. Any netbook does more...And I don't like the fact they don't tell you how much memory the thing has, just how many books it will hold. It would be nice if I'm carrying a Kindle, why do I have a USB drive too? Why not use the Kindle for mass storage as well?

A netbook may be multifunctional, but I would beg to differ with you that any of them do a better job than the Kindle at reading books. The Kindle has them beat in comfort of reading, turning pages, battery life, and availability of books. The advantage of being oriented towards a single goal is that Kindle excels at what it is that it does.

Oh, and it does allow you to expand the memory using SD Memory. And as far as storing other things on it -- I haven't tried, but I am reasonably sure that you can.


I read somewhere that you cant backtrack to pages you've already read. Is there any truth in this rumor, farcaster?
I'm not sure what you mean. you can bookmark pages and highlight things you are interested in to find them quickly later on. It also keeps track of your present location in every book you are currently reading. Is that what you mean?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
05-11-2009, 11:59 AM
A netbook may be multifunctional, but I would beg to differ with you that any of them do a better job than the Kindle at reading books. The Kindle has them beat in comfort of reading, turning pages, battery life, and availability of books. The advantage of being oriented towards a single goal is that Kindle excels at what it is that it does.

Oh, and it does allow you to expand the memory using SD Memory. And as far as storing other things on it -- I haven't tried, but I am reasonably sure that you can.


I'm not sure what you mean. you can bookmark pages and highlight things you are interested in to find them quickly later on. It also keeps track of your present location in every book you are currently reading. Is that what you mean?
Example: Lets say i was on page 200, but i wanted to go back 10-50 pages to look up a name or something, can i do this? When i am engrossed in my novels, it isn't an uncommon occurrence that i go back and forth often in a good book.

Farcaster
05-11-2009, 11:01 PM
Ah, I see. Well, you can flip back through the pages one at a time or you can specify a line number that you want to go to. Line numbers, by the way, are displayed on the bottom of the page you are on. They are used in lieu of page numbers since you can adjust the font size and thus dramatically change the number and position of pages. You can use bookmarks to mark places in the book that you think you will want to go back to and those will display the text near the bookmark which can be helpful. You could also use the Kindle search feature to search the book. However, if it is a name that keeps coming up over and over, you'll end up getting a lot of results. Nonetheless, that is probably the most efficient way to quickly find something.

Dytrrnikl
05-13-2009, 01:11 AM
While I appreciate that books are going digital, for me...give me a book anyday of the week over PDFs, RTFs, and other digital info. I spent a semester at Penn State main campus a couple of years ago to finish degree for Nanomanufacturing Technology. Here I am at 36, using the internet only to find the titles of books, then went to libraries to get the books in hand for the research papers and projects we were required to complete. The "kids" 22 and younger were all hitting wikipedia and other digital storehouses for there resources and couldn't understand why I wouldn't do the same. Digital format of books I equate with almost being akin to altered and false information, where physical print books I equate with being accurately recorded information. Obviously this is not how things are, as forgeries and inaccuracies are as likely to be found in print as they are in digital formats. It's mainly a comfort factor for me. It'll be a sad day when digital text is the only way to get a book.

With that in mind. I do like what I've seen about the Kindle. However, much like with VCRs, DVDs, and Microwaves, I'm waiting for two things before I step into the Kindle arena: 1. The technology becomes more robust and versatile; and 2. The price comes down to something resaonable. I stand by the fact that you should never buy the latest toy, first generation production. Wait until it's been around for awhile and all the bugs have been worked out. Like Hi-Def TVs, they were crap when they first arrived in the late 90s, now they're just starting to get to the point of being acceptable tech in my eyes.

tesral
05-13-2009, 02:07 AM
The topic is "Kindle as an RPG resource". So, how many RPG books are available in the Kindle format?

Farcaster
05-13-2009, 10:58 AM
None that I know of. But, with the release of the Kindle DX, the question becomes -- how many RPGs are available on PDF? Answer: lots! The ten inch screen is going to make a huge difference in the Kindle's viability as an RPG resource. The current six inch screen that I have is just not sufficient for reference material.

PhishStyx
05-20-2009, 09:20 PM
The topic is "Kindle as an RPG resource". So, how many RPG books are available in the Kindle format?

Last I checked, there was one, and it was pretty poorly done.

I now have a Kindle 1, but for gaming I have a DR 1000s (http://www.irextechnologies.com/irexdr1000). It's 10.2" diagonally and does PDF's quite well.

http://www.ereaderoutfitters.com/templates/Original/images/ereaderx.png

Slipstream
05-21-2009, 03:53 AM
I've personally been looking into an Acer Aspire One (one of many netbooks out on the market) as my brother and another friend both really like them for browsing on the go. This was also going to be good for PDF reading.

However, I'm holding off of my purchase of that as I want to see how the Palm Pre (due out in a few weeks) will do in reading PDF's. While I will have to zoom on stuff, I may just be able to get around and do what I need on it.

But yeah, I'd say the Kindle DX is your best bet for digital PDFs at nearly full size. It's too bad it's not in color though.

tesral
05-21-2009, 11:06 AM
So as a gaming resource the Kindle comes up empty. You can't even get DRM laden RPG books with it. And only the more recent models will display PDF, of which the supply is spotty.

Being that the RPG market is fringe, I think it will say that way too. It would be up to the book publishers to approch Kindle, I don't think they will approch the RPG houses.

Now, having my books in a compact indexed format for easy reference would be a great thing. However short of my doing that myself I don't see it happening soon. Right now your options are overpriced and seldom available legal PDFs or not so legal PDFs. (Which I have no problem with if you have the hardcopy.)

If I have to do it myself I'm going to use HTML, for which the web brower is the tool of choice. The Hypertext d20 SRD is my friend. I can even add to the thing and modify it as erquired. The perfect gaming tool. It is not a static resource.

But that means a computer not the Kindle. I suppose my basic objection to the Kindle is that is not a computer. And being frank it is not a fair comparison. I don't tend to think of something with a screen as an appliance, but as a tool, and the Kindle is a one trick pony tool. Great for reading content massaged for reading by other people. Not great for managing and adapting your own content.

The thing is I'm not going to carry both. The larger Kindle costs nearly as much as my laptop and has a smaller B&W screen. Admittedly it kicks Lenny's bootsector in the battery life department, but can't do a fraction of what Lenny can do. If I'm going to carry one, the Lenovo Thinkpad T-61 wins hands down. Better Lenny can display my RPG books now. It can manage my character sheets too. And so far I have not had a problem gaming too far from an outlet.

PhishStyx
05-21-2009, 12:32 PM
So as a gaming resource the Kindle comes up empty. You can't even get DRM laden RPG books with it. And only the more recent models will display PDF, of which the supply is spotty.

Spotty?!? It isn't OUT yet.



Being that the RPG market is fringe, I think it will say that way too. It would be up to the book publishers to approch Kindle, I don't think they will approch the RPG houses.

Now, having my books in a compact indexed format for easy reference would be a great thing. However short of my doing that myself I don't see it happening soon. Right now your options are overpriced and seldom available legal PDFs or not so legal PDFs. (Which I have no problem with if you have the hardcopy.)The Kindle DX won't support a computer-like file structure anyway.



If I have to do it myself I'm going to use HTML, for which the web brower is the tool of choice. The Hypertext d20 SRD is my friend. I can even add to the thing and modify it as erquired. The perfect gaming tool. It is not a static resource.

. . .

The thing is I'm not going to carry both.

You don't have to carry both a computer and a e-reader. I posted a device above that is out on the market now and has better functionality than what is advertised for the Kindle DX.

ronpyatt
05-23-2009, 09:00 PM
It's 10.2" diagonally and does PDF's quite well.
Very cool device. A bit heavy on the price tag but nice. Their iLiad 2nd Edition looks pretty snappy.

Farcaster
05-24-2009, 11:53 AM
I posted a device above that is out on the market now and has better functionality than what is advertised for the Kindle DX.
I took a look at it, and even on ebay, that device is going to set you back $1k. It's definitely in another class. It also comes up a bit short in the regular e-Book department since it will only read MobiPocket (I believe it was.) There are not nearly as many books in that format as there are in the Kindle.

tesral
05-24-2009, 12:45 PM
For a grand I can get a full function laptop. What are the overwhelming advantages to an e-reader?

Let's see:

Weight: E-reader wins
Battery Life: E-reader wins.
Storage: Laptop, hands down. Storage is upgradeable as well
Versatility: Laptop again. With the right program or library it can even read the e-books. No format is closed to the laptop.
Display: E-readers are formated portrait, an advantage when reading. The Kindle at least is designed to be read in full sunlight. Laptops have full color screens. However they suffer in full sunlight with the backlit screen. For reading, I'll call it a draw.

For my grand, I'm not getting an e-reader.

Specificity for Farcaster: You have one of these little widgets. What is the storage capacity? They give very little information on the website other than "book capacity". That does not say much. I assume solid state with the battery life. Hard drives are energy vampires.

PhishStyx
05-24-2009, 01:22 PM
I took a look at it, and even on ebay, that device is going to set you back $1k. It's definitely in another class. It also comes up a bit short in the regular e-Book department since it will only read MobiPocket (I believe it was.) There are not nearly as many books in that format as there are in the Kindle.

The DR will display PDF, HTML, and txt formats. The only DRM format it reads is Mobipocket (aka PRC), which is actually the same format as the Kindle. AZW, MOBI, PRC are all the exact same format with different name extensions.

What happened is Amazon owns Mobipocket, a subsidiary ebook producing company, that oddly enough produces non-DRM books, but won't work with your Kindle account. Anyway, it renamed those Mobipocket files and slapped a different Kindle-only DRM on them. Having just typed in "rpg" to the Amazon Kindle search engine, I pulled up 21 results. I think my favorite was the "Kobold Quarterly."

The DR1000s is currently the ONLY 10" PDF ereader out on the market now. It does definitely read PDF's very well; the SD card in mine is about half full with games.
--- Merged from Double Post ---

For a grand I can get a full function laptop. What are the overwhelming advantages to an e-reader?

Let's see:

Weight: E-reader wins
Battery Life: E-reader wins.
Storage: Laptop, hands down. Storage is upgradeable as well
Versatility: Laptop again. With the right program or library it can even read the e-books. No format is closed to the laptop.
Display: E-readers are formated portrait, an advantage when reading. The Kindle at least is designed to be read in full sunlight. Laptops have full color screens. However they suffer in full sunlight with the backlit screen. For reading, I'll call it a draw.

For my grand, I'm not getting an e-reader.


I'm not saying these devices are for everyone. But on the topic of display, I'm not sure how important color is to you, but the e-reader wins if eyestrain is a problem for you as it often is for me. And regarding storage, storing books really isn't the same as storing videos or music in terms of capacity. 2 - 4gb equates to about 2,000 - 5,000 books and should last the life of the device pretty well.



Specificity for Farcaster: You have one of these little widgets. What is the storage capacity? They give very little information on the website other than "book capacity". That does not say much. I assume solid state with the battery life. Hard drives are energy vampires.

I'm not him, but I can tell you that the currently available Kindle has 2GB internal memory, which equals roughly 2,500 books.

Farcaster
06-03-2009, 12:22 PM
Display: E-readers are formated portrait, an advantage when reading. The Kindle at least is designed to be read in full sunlight. Laptops have full color screens. However they suffer in full sunlight with the backlit screen. For reading, I'll call it a draw.

Just to point out, typical reading speed off of a computer screen is slower than paper. It also produces far more eye strain. The Kindle has a HUGe advantage in that department.


Specificity for Farcaster: You have one of these little widgets. What is the storage capacity? They give very little information on the website other than "book capacity". That does not say much. I assume solid state with the battery life. Hard drives are energy vampires.

On my first generation Kindle, I think the total space is something like 200MB? I'd have to take a look. My current free space is somewhere around 130MB. However, you can load a SD card in it and add as much room as you need.

tesral
06-03-2009, 03:07 PM
On my first generation Kindle, I think the total space is something like 200MB? I'd have to take a look. My current free space is somewhere around 130MB. However, you can load a SD card in it and add as much room as you need.

That is pretty lame for the price they want. I carry 16 gig around my neck. It was under 30 bucks. As cheap as memory is they could put a bit more in there. My cell phone has more than that. No wonder the website doesn't give you straight up information.

Farcaster
06-03-2009, 03:14 PM
I guess in your old age you are hard of hearing and missed it when I said that you could add more memory. SD memory is CHEAP, CHEAP! Not to mention that the later generation ones have far more.

PhishStyx
06-03-2009, 04:15 PM
That is pretty lame for the price they want. I carry 16 gig around my neck. It was under 30 bucks. As cheap as memory is they could put a bit more in there. My cell phone has more than that. No wonder the website doesn't give you straight up information.

Farcaster and I both have the older Kindle, and I'm not even close to filling it up yet. I have maybe 10 books and samples (which are 1st chapters) of about 6 more. Farcaster, how many books are on yours?

What's lame about carrying 2,500 books around in your hand? I doubt that my collection of physical books is that large!

tesral
06-03-2009, 06:39 PM
I guess in your old age you are hard of hearing and missed it when I said that you could add more memory. SD memory is CHEAP, CHEAP! Not to mention that the later generation ones have far more.

Nope, not hard of reading at all. Sure I can spend more and get more. But at the price of memory and the cost of the unit, they could at least toss a few gig in the thing.

And yes, it holds a lot of e-books. PDFs (now that they are readable) take up much more space. Second, I don't like singletaskers. Using the Kindle as a mass storage device to hold and move files is a possible use of the device. It would mean one less thing to carry around. My PDF collection is 10 gig, and is 1146 files. I have yetot see a SD card that large.

Harwel
06-03-2009, 07:00 PM
Nope, not hard of reading at all. Sure I can spend more and get more. But at the price of memory and the cost of the unit, they could at least toss a few gig in the thing.

And yes, it holds a lot of e-books. PDFs (now that they are readable) take up much more space. Second, I don't like singletaskers. Using the Kindle as a mass storage device to hold and move files is a possible use of the device. It would mean one less thing to carry around. My PDF collection is 10 gig, and is 1146 files. I have yetot see a SD card that large.

This sums up my beef with the Kindle in four words. For the price of a Kindle, I can get a crappy laptop on ebay that does tons more.

As Alton Brown would say, "There's only one unitasker allowed in my kitchen:"

http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/productImages/8/1/00000117781-FirstAlertFE3A40FireExtinguisher-large.jpeg

PhishStyx
06-03-2009, 08:13 PM
Nope, not hard of reading at all. Sure I can spend more and get more. But at the price of memory and the cost of the unit, they could at least toss a few gig in the thing.

And yes, it holds a lot of e-books. PDFs (now that they are readable) take up much more space. Second, I don't like singletaskers. Using the Kindle as a mass storage device to hold and move files is a possible use of the device. It would mean one less thing to carry around. My PDF collection is 10 gig, and is 1146 files. I have yetot see a SD card that large.

Neither of the 6" versions of the Kindle directly support PDF's a fact that was stated earlier. Also as stated earlier, I use the iRex DR 1000s which has no hard drive; its memory is entirely on the SD Card ( See this 32 Gb SD Card (http://www.ecost.com/Detail/Flash+Memory+Cards/Kingston/SD432GB/41816583.aspx?navid=155438531) Last I checked, 32 is larger than 10, though it's possible that I'm wrong.)

Also, neither the Kindle nor the DR are uni-taskers. Among its features is a web browser, MP3 player, and in the Kindle 2 is a text-to-speech feature. The DR allows you to also view pictures and even handwrite notes on its screen and has available computer software that converts written words to typed text.

tesral
06-03-2009, 09:47 PM
Neither of the 6" versions of the Kindle directly support PDF's a fact that was stated earlier. Also as stated earlier, I use the iRex DR 1000s which has no hard drive; its memory is entirely on the SD Card ( See this 32 Gb SD Card (http://www.ecost.com/Detail/Flash+Memory+Cards/Kingston/SD432GB/41816583.aspx?navid=155438531) Last I checked, 32 is larger than 10, though it's possible that I'm wrong.)

OK, now I've seen one bigger than four gig. Pricey though.

PhishStyx
06-03-2009, 10:54 PM
You guys should definitely check out http://www.mobileread.com/forums/ before deciding that e-readers aren't worth it. It's a good site with a lot of great information and plenty of good people to talk to.

ronpyatt
06-03-2009, 11:17 PM
Laptops make poor Kindles. All this boasting about how great the laptop is? It's a shame laptops don't have the integrated technology to do the things the Kindle can do. A handheld with a manageable screen, easy page turning controls, and a slender frame to read by. Not to mention the free internet access and long battery life.

So far, I have not read any posts about some magical laptop performing like a Kindle. A laptop that can display with digital ink would make a better comparison, otherwise it's just complaining to be contrary.

Laptops are too all-in-one. You have to be computer literate to use one. If your hard drive fails or your video fails or any number of softwares or the operating system fails or a nasty little virus gets hold, well, you've lost the ability to read off it anyway. Should I mention how easy it is not to curl up with a good laptop?

The following points have been made, but since the do-it-all laptop keeps cropping up, these points deserve another mention: Kindles are focused on books and reading. They're light in the hands and easy on the eyes. You can download books as needed without a computer or internet access.

Other companies are putting out their own digital readers. As the competition widens, the features and prices will get better. Perhaps future generations of the Kindle (or other readers) will get more and more like laptops, but with one big advantage. Yes, you know what THAT is! That wonderful Digital Ink (or something similar) that is so easy on the eyes.

Get it? Easy on the eyes.
:cool:

tesral
06-03-2009, 11:21 PM
They are not there yet. I've never been an early adopter. I'm not arguing that laptops are e-readers. I'm saying that e-readers are too expensive for what they are.

Time and competition should change that.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-05-2009, 01:53 PM
I am considering purchasing one but I have a few questions. What is the difference in the Kindle DX (practically speaking)? How much are the downloads (or the average cost of new release novel or gaming material)?

Farcaster
06-05-2009, 02:59 PM
You should review the Kindle DX page because it could go into detail a lot more, but the biggest advantages I see are that it is has a larger screen (just under 10 in), and handles PDFs natively. As to the average new release, the books currently out in Hardback usually run about $9.99 on the Kindle. That price drops to about $5-$6 for the mass market releases.

PhishStyx
06-05-2009, 03:17 PM
For RPG PDF prices, I would recommend going to check them out at http://drivethrurpg.com to get a clear view of the games you play and might want on PDF.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-05-2009, 04:04 PM
I appreciate the quick responses.

Baldwin Stonewood
06-05-2009, 08:20 PM
Here is a comparison matrix (http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix) of all the e-readers available now, including the DR 1000s and the Kindle Dx.

Thanks for the link. this will make the comparison shopping go a lot easier now.

Dark Clown
07-10-2009, 11:13 PM
With the original Kindle, amazon says that PDF format is supported via conversion...what's that mean?

And what about the PDF books I already have? Am I able to upload them, or do I have to repurchase them via their online store?

Farcaster
07-11-2009, 04:27 PM
Dark,

The 6 inch screen Kindles do not support PDFs natively. They require the PDF to be converted which you do by sending the file to an Amazon email address and they email you back a converted copy. That can then be loaded on your Kindle The Kindle DX supports PDF natively, which means that you can take any PDF you own and put it on your Kindle. In both cases, it is free to do this.

Dark Clown
07-11-2009, 10:12 PM
Ya know, if I was paying attention, I would've caught that. lol

Thanks for the info Farcaster. I've gotta admit I'm a bit computer illiterate (aside from being able to type and figure out how to use online dice rollers).

Jmkeylon
07-26-2009, 06:15 PM
I thought the kindle looked pretty sweet... though nothing outdoes a good paperback. however for gaming, I can imagine it would be nice to have your resources in digital format on one device or another.

tesral
07-28-2009, 06:34 AM
It could. Several things have to happen for me, aside form Amazon loosing its sphincter and giving the user control.

One: RPG books. That is kind of important. Great RPG resource implies RPG books to source.

Two: Ease of moving your own material to the Kindle. If I am DMing off the thing I need my stuff on the unit, and I would prefer, thank you very much to not use Amazon to do that. And thank you no, entering it on the over sized blackberry keyboard is not an option. How about my graphics? Graphics are important in an RPG.

Three: Color would be nice. It's low on the list, but I do use color in my work. I see in color as do my players.

E-book readers in general have a future in gaming, but right now it is only a glimmer. Major stumbling block, the lack of RPG e-books. I mean REALLY BIG MAJOR stumbling block.

The laptop has been creeping onto the gaming table.

Farcaster
07-28-2009, 10:40 AM
Two: Ease of moving your own material to the Kindle. If I am DMing off the thing I need my stuff on the unit, and I would prefer, thank you very much to not use Amazon to do that. And thank you no, entering it on the over sized blackberry keyboard is not an option. How about my graphics? Graphics are important in an RPG.

The new Kindle DX (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015TCML0?ie=UTF8&tag=penandpaperga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0015TCML0) supports moving PDF files from your computer to it natively, and gives you a nice crisp display. I've only seen it in action once, but perhaps the only complaint I would have with it other than the price is that the font size isn't adjustable when viewing PDFs. That probably means that you will need your glasses to read it if you--like me--need any correction at all.

Farcaster
07-31-2009, 11:13 PM
:focus:

This thread has moved completely off topic, so I have split it into two other threads:

Amazon Kindle and the 1984 Debacle
and Another View on the Amazon Kindle

tesral
07-31-2009, 11:23 PM
The new Kindle DX (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0015TCML0?ie=UTF8&tag=penandpaperga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0015TCML0) supports moving PDF files from your computer to it natively, and gives you a nice crisp display. I've only seen it in action once, but perhaps the only complaint I would have with it other than the price is that the font size isn't adjustable when viewing PDFs. That probably means that you will need your glasses to read it if you--like me--need any correction at all.

Ach, bad. I can barely read PDFs at "100%" as it is. AISI one of the main advantages of an e-book would be the ability to change the font size. Take that away and it's one less reason to use it. I assume this limit is for PDFs only?

How much can they improve it before you end up with a tablet computer with a "digital ink" screen?

There is still the lack of available e-books of PDFs for legal purchase in the RPG field.

OK, let's ask that question. Who in the RPG market is selling e-books or PDFs?

(I'm holding out for lower prices and color on someone else's reader.)

Farcaster
08-01-2009, 12:59 AM
Well, let's see. There's Paizo, Crafty Games, White Wolf, Fantasy Flight Games, Catalyst Games, Hero Games as well as a host of others. Take a stroll on down to RPGNow (http://www.rpgnow.com/index.php?affiliate_id=262284) and take a look at what they have to offer. Paizo also has a large selection (http://paizo.com/store/downloads). There are lots of PDFs available.

That is why I think the Kindle DX is the first e-book reader that Amazon has released that really could be a useful tool at the gaming table, since it has native support for reading PDFs.

tesral
08-01-2009, 01:15 AM
I'm looking at it the HanLin eBook (http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/HanLin_eBook) is supporting a lot more formats. Lack of a keyboard is a minus, but it is a reader not a "writer". Same screen technology, nice size. No search function, that's a downer.

Now, if I could get the Kindle unit, the HanLin support and lock everyone I didn't want in out, I might consider the question.

Color would be nice too. However the technology currently is either color or battery life.

tesral
09-04-2009, 09:25 PM
Someone finally got the Kindle to do real work (http://hackaday.com/2009/09/03/ubuntu-9-04-on-kindle-2/).

nudnic
01-03-2010, 12:34 PM
I just got a Kindle for xmas, and my first thought was how do I use this to run a game. I really want put my adventure on the Kindle.

As far the rules and rule books go I don't think they format well on the Kindle. So it's probably better to have these in book form.

But having a small map image on the kindle. With each room shown as a page on the kindle would be great.

Does anyone know how to make your own docs with image for the Kindle?

Utgardloki
01-07-2010, 03:57 PM
I don't know for sure, but I've heard there is a way. You have to convert your docs to PDF format, then mail them to the company (not sure which company), and pay a little bit of money for the privilege of having it appear on your device.

You might be able to buy RPG books for Kindle, but I have a concern about that. They have shown that they can and will delete books from your kindle if they decide that it is right for them to do so: they did this to electronic copies of 1984. Given how WoTC handled the transition to 4th Edition, I would not want to give them the right to delete my copy of 4th Edition from my kindle, so I would continue to buy the hard copies. That makes it a little harder for them to take them away when they decide to go to 5th Edition.

Farcaster
01-13-2010, 10:50 AM
I don't know for sure, but I've heard there is a way. You have to convert your docs to PDF format, then mail them to the company (not sure which company), and pay a little bit of money for the privilege of having it appear on your device.

The new Kindle handles PDFs natively, and on the old Kindle, Amazon would convert the PDF for free and send it to your email address if you wanted. Otherwise you could pay ten cents, or whatever it was, and have the PDF sent to your device wirelessly.


You might be able to buy RPG books for Kindle, but I have a concern about that. They have shown that they can and will delete books from your kindle if they decide that it is right for them to do so: they did this to electronic copies of 1984. Given how WoTC handled the transition to 4th Edition, I would not want to give them the right to delete my copy of 4th Edition from my kindle, so I would continue to buy the hard copies. That makes it a little harder for them to take them away when they decide to go to 5th Edition.

The situation with 1984 was atypical. Amazon admitted that their actions were a bit "Orwellian" if you will, but the reason they removed the books was because someone had uploaded a digital copy to their store who did not have the rights to sell it. The larger issue at hand to me is that this book ever made it through their quality control at all without someone verifying the sellers authority to sell it. It's not like we're talking about some obscure title either...

All this to say, Wizards would not have the legal right to even request that Amazon remove the books from your device. Even if they did, there is no way in Hell that they would do that, since they would utterly ruin their reputation as a company and have a class action lawsuit on their hands.

tesral
01-13-2010, 10:55 AM
"A weapon once invented, will be used."

Just pointing out that what is legal and ethical has never bothered American business much at all. All they truly consider is "What can we get away with?"

Farcaster
01-13-2010, 11:00 AM
Just pointing out that what is legal and ethical has never bothered American business much at all. All they truly consider is "What can we get away with?"

You are just stirring the pot, Tesral. There is no real risk that they are going to remove the books that people buy. As I said, the case with this one particular book was unique, and even in that case, they admitted that they took the wrong action and swore off repeating that mistake. And if it were to happen, I guarantee that there would be a class action lawsuit against Amazon that they would lose. If that isn't a deterrent for them, I don't know what would be.

tesral
01-13-2010, 11:22 AM
You are just stirring the pot, Tesral. There is no real risk that they are going to remove the books that people buy. As I said, the case with this one particular book was unique, and even in that case, they admitted that they took the wrong action and swore off repeating that mistake. And if it were to happen, I guarantee that there would be a class action lawsuit against Amazon that they would lose. If that isn't a deterrent for them, I don't know what would be.

Let's say I'm slow to trust given the track record overall, not simply Amazon. I deal with Amazon all the time, for hard copy. It was a bone head move on their part and it pointed out what they could do. At least they had the good grace to admit it...when caught.

I'm not anti e-reader, or particularly anti Amazon. What I am is pro "I control things I buy". Show me a switch I can throw that locks Amazon out of my kindle, makes them get permission from me each and every time they want to fiddle with the contents of my reader, and I'm all smiles. Until then I'm only renting the contents at their discretion.

It doesn't even have to be Amazon officially. Recall last year the IT administrator who locked a good deal of San Fransisco out of the county network. Whether he acted maliciously is still a matter of trial.

All you need is one browned off administrator with a grudge against Amazon. Lots of Kindle owners could find their books have vanished. The records too for that matter. It is too clear a point of failure. Kindle owners need a root password. A lock on their bookshelf if you will. All the browned off Amazon employees in existence can not take the books sold in hard copy. All it takes is the right one in the worng place for the e-books.

Unlikely? Yes. Possible? Yes.

Farcaster
01-13-2010, 11:31 AM
All you need is one browned off administrator with a grudge against Amazon. Lots of Kindle owners could find their books have vanished. The records too for that matter.

That is a rather unrealistic scenario that presumes Amazon doesn't even follow the basic practice of backing up their data. Nor does it take into account that they actually have a farm of redundant mySQL servers. One pissed off administrator might be able to create a temporary annoyance at best that could be quickly recovered.