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Anyone have recommendations for an e-ink reader that's not produced by Amazon?

(tbh, I don't love ebooks, but I've picked up a small collection of them over the years, and I think I'd be more inclined to read them on a reader, rather than on my phone or laptop, and if I'm going to get a reader, I'd prefer it to be low-impact.)

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Nearly 5 months later, I finally settled on a Kobo Clara, in case anyone was wondering.

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So far, so good. Just trying to figure out how it fits into my reading patterns. I'm rearranging some things to make it easier to push longform online writing to the e-reader. I still prefer print books, so I don't intend to use it for most of the booklength works I want to read, but I do occasionally come across free e-books, and I'm working on access to a few library ebook collections for otherwise hard-to-find books.

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I don't love e-books and probably never will, but I'm a little surprised at how well this e-reader has slotted into my reading. I'm using it to read some e-books that I picked along the way, but the big boost I've gotten out of it pertains to blogs and long form articles from the internet. Much easier to focus on and digest in this format. They're feed to me by RSS, and I pass the ones that look promising through Pocket to the reader.

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I think my next experiment with it will be to see how poetry reads on it. I'd like to get a better sense of the current poetry landscape, and if an e-reader can make more of it accessible without distorting the formatting too much, that's all to the better.

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One month on, I'm seeing some pretty dramatic changes as a result of incorporating an e-ink device into my reading habits, though not entirely in the ways I expected.

The biggest change involves online longform — I'm reading more of it, reading all the way through much of what I start, and engaging with the material much more easily. Chalk that up to the superiority of the experience: pagination vs. scrolling, matte vs. reflective surface, more comfortable reading dimensions, etc.

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Part of the credit for that improvement likely also goes to my set-up. I'm getting probably 2/3rds of that material from RSS feeds that sync to my desktop and phone. (The rest comes from social media, a few email newsletters, and one-off searches.) When I see something relatively long that interests me, I save it to Pocket, which syncs to my Kobo. Most days, I have a few small periods of regular downtime that may be filled with chipping away at those articles.

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I've also knocked out an ebook or two, mostly public domain stuff, but I'm not as regular about that. Maybe that shouldn't be surprising: the synced Pocket folder works a bit like a social media stream, right down to the attraction it exerts. I've been reading a book of short stories (LeBlanc's Lupin stories, public domain), but honestly, it's been most useful for reference works. I even bought an epub Bible for my research project!

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The biggest disappointment so far is that I haven't yet figured out a good system for incorporating PDFs into my reading habits. That's one of the principle reasons I bought an e-reader, but the organizational structure of the device isn't really structured to surface those easily. Right now, they're lumped in with ebooks, cluttering up my "Books" folder, and mostly going unread. (Advice appreciated!)

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@lrhodes I wonder if there is an open source project somewhere that is a DIY with an e-ink screen? That would be cool.

I was going to say the last time I looked, people recommended a Kobo. Like you, I want to be low impact. So, instead of getting a kobo, Ijust started loading ebooks on an old kindle someone gave me with calibre instead of Amazon.

@sikkdays Yeah, digging around a little, looks like Kobo is the recommended Kindle-alternative. Looks like the DRM library factors into a lot of people's reasoning, though, and that doesn't really matter to me, since I probably won't use the device to buy books all that often.

@lrhodes i've got an onyx boox reader. they're nice because they have ones with big screens, (nice if you're reading larger pdfs, like rpg manuals) and they actually run android (albeit an old version).

@lrhodes I didn't hate my Kobo, but it's pricy and it broke.

I end up getting used Kindles for $20 or so from a local second hand shop, factory resetting them, and turning off wifi.

@lrhodes Lars Wirzenius has a highly informative review of the ReMarkable tablet:

blog.liw.fi/posts/2019/09/22/t

I've looked at Kobo's offerings, not yet tempted. Use a Devil-cursed/possessed Android Tablet (which is to say, any of them). PocketBook is an OK reader, not great though.

@dredmorbius ReMarkable looks interesting. Just not sure I'm ready to spend that much on a reader.

TBH, I've got decision paralysis over this. Wish there were an option to rent a reader for a few days to get a feel for whether or not I'd actually use it.

@lrhodes That "try before you by" aspect is a huge one for tech.

I've found myself with so much kit that Simply Does Not Meet My Needs.

And I'm fucking sick of it.

@dredmorbius @lrhodes
yeah, there's plenty of tech I wish I could easily test for a while to see if it's what I expect it to be, or what everyone else praises it to be.
#MechanicalKeyboards, some of the more powerful #SingleBoardComputer models, #ReMarkable, dual screen phones, and probably more I can't think of, but would love to try for longer than a shop visit.
Most of it is stuff I can barely afford anyway; I can only imagine how I'd feel if it also didn't live up to my expectations.

@lrhodes now that you mention it, there is an out of print, hard to find book I'd like to read

@lrhodes I also struggle to read through most of the PDFs that I have queued, in part because they don’t render nicely on the smaller screen of my e-reader. I sometimes wonder if a larger one like the ReMarkable would have been useful for that.

@ndpi A lot depends on how the PDF was formatted. 8½x11 is pretty common, and on a 6" screen, that makes the text microscopic. But some journals print for smaller formats, so that's not so bad.

@lrhodes I made a similar setup and noticed similar effects. E-ink is great for those longer articles.

@lrhodes what’s the workflow like to get RSS working well on the ereader?

@nx Theoretically I could use the reader's browser to access my RSS feeds (I self-host a web-based RSS reader), but that would be pretty clunky, I think.

Right now, I check my feeds on my phone or computer, and save whatever looks interesting to Pocket, which is integrated directly into the Kobo OS. I've got cron set to refresh my RSS feeds only four times a day to cut down on the temptation to check compulsively.

@lrhodes Recently got a Kobo reader and can second this. Also, great for checking out books from the library.

@jaranta Yeah, I'm still working on that feature. My library offers free access to Oxford's Very Short Introduction series, so soon I will have a dangerously rudimentary understanding of just about everything.

@lrhodes that sounds really appealing, I wish I could get into Pocket, but sadly I'm like a boomer when it comes to using that particular service
"why can't I feed my 1000+ bookmarks into it?"
"Grandpa Julian, that's not what Pocket is for..."

@Julian There are self-hosted bookmarking apps, if that's something you need. And there's nothing stopping you from using Pocket that way, except maybe the absence of an import function. Just set up some folders to categorize them.

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Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.