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E-Book Reader Reviews

Kindle, Nook, BeBook, Kobo, Sony Reader, Astak, iPod/iTouch… 

and the list of e-book readers goes on and on!

ebook readers
Ebook Readers

It’s the season for gifting. If I were to judge by the number of questions asked about e-book readers it appears this is a hot item on givers lists this year! With so many devices to choose from, how do you sift through the choices to get a device that mets your needs?

With all the E-book readers flooding the market it is difficult to decide on electronic book device purchase. As an assistive technology quester I am always on the hunt for devices to support our special needs clients and exploring methods of delivering accessible print for them.  Although I do not yet own a specific e-book reader,  a number of them are on my radar that seem to have features that support access to print for individuals with special needs. I have been working with ebook reader apps for the iPad as well as the PC  such as vBookz, Blio and Kindle for PC but continue to explore dedicated ebook reader device features for  students and clients I service. This post provides a few  web based reviews/resources I found helpful to help sift through devices and their features. Also listed are questions that will guide (using Joy Zabala’s SETT Framework) you in thinking about what features you need to look for if you are making a ebook reader purchase for individuals with special needs.

First here are questions to consider what the readers needs are:

  • Student/User – Who is the user, what skills or learning mode allows them the best access to content? Does the user  need to pictures and text, do they need books read out loud (text to speech) to access print? Do they have any motor concerns for access to the device? Is the print size and clarity easy to access  for the individual ? Does the user need larger print for visual access?
  • Environment(s) – Where will it be used, how long will the device be used, what kind of battery life do you want it to have?
  • Task(s)  – What is it going to be used for? What kind of content do you want on it? Curriculum materials,  reading books already in print, reading articles,  news, magazines? Are the books or materials you want to use on the device available in electronic format? If not, what kind of file formats can be uploaded or converted to the device? What  file formats can the device manage? 

I have been researching  information on e-book reader devices for a while. Here are a few web resources I found that provides extensive current information on features, specifications and reviews of e-book reading devices to help sort through device selection:

eBook – Reader 2011 Comparison

Top Ten Reviews website provides reviews of 16 different e-book readers including specifications, cost, features, ranking  on a 1-5  scale (poor to excellent),  user review and formating information in an easily viewable chart. The Top Ten Reviews website also provides suggestions for what to look for in an e-book reader such as  design, content management, cost, memory and battery life, as well as additional features.  Pictures and links to videos and vendor information is also help with understanding device features.

The chart or table produced by Top Ten Review was ideal to quickly weed through important features and specifications when considering an e-book reader for special needs, especially if considered for use if managing curriculum based materials in a school system (see article indicating the Feds Require Accessibility to EReaders) . Listed on this review included 4 of the 16 that had text to speech capabilities, important information for accessibility requirements in schools if applying their use in general education (see above article).

The Ebook Reader Wiki 

 The Mobile Reader Wiki provides an extensive matrix of comparisons of ebook readers according to size (5″, 6″ and larger), features, content, formating compatibility design, cost as well as additional features. The matrix information is presented in a chart allowing ease of  reviewing  extensive information at a glance. A source of device  specifications and feature information but it does not rate or provide reviews of the devices. Still well worth perusing to gather extensive device feature information.

E-Reader-Reviews 

Another website reviewing over 30 e-book readers. The website provides information on not only dedicated e-book readers but also devices such as iPad, Galaxy Tab and enTourage Edge which are mobile tablet PC’s that can be used as an e-book reader. Review and rating categories of overall, usability, design and value for the money are provided. Discussion of the features, ratings and user reviews are provided along with cost of the device. Updated information is provided, helpful with the frequent changes  and upgrades made with electronic devices and operating systems.  Another website worth the visit to gather information on devices.

The website eBook Reader Reviews is dedicated in entirety to the discussion of eBook Readers for more informed decision-making. 

There are many sources of information on e-book readers on the Internet of which the reviews for mentioned are only a few. I hope they are helpful. If you have a great resource please share in the comments!

Look for more information coming in future posts on managing document  or PDF file conversion for use in e-book readers!

AT Quester

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vBookz 2.1 Manages ePub Format for iPad, iPod and iPhone

It is here! vBookz has updated their ebook app providing the tools to be able to upload your own ePub files to its interface!

vBookz picture

vBookz

 vBookz is a beautiful, free ebook reader with speech capabilities that has been out for the iPad for a while. It’s interface is easy to navigate, beautiful, providing public domain ebooks with text to speech capabilities.  The arrival of the new version 2.1 now allows uploading of other files converted to ePub format, which is a boon for loading curriculum content to students onto devices such as iPad or iPods for access using text to speech capabilties.

vBookz

vBooks text to speech provides a good quality female or a male voice and the ability to adjust the rate of speech.  There are basic choices of  white on black or black on white background contrast and text size. Book marking capabilities are intuitively available. The vBookz website provides an easy tutorial on how to created an ePub file and transfer it to your vBookz app on your iDevice.

Having waited and searched the Internet for an ebook reader with text to speech, I am excited to learn about the upgrade of vBookz  to version 2.1  and the ability to manage ePub files! The wait is over!!

 AT Quester