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Cheap ereaders – Be careful about what you buy

Cheap ereaders are not always a good bet.

Now that the ereader has become an accepted device in the world, one that millions of people have become aware of and wish to own, an increasing number of very cheap  ereaders are being bought up by large supermarket and household goods stores and are being offered at remarkably low prices.    On the face of it, this would seem a good thing, after all, if you can buy an ereader for  less than why not grab it?

Why not indeed?

Well, there are a few things  you should consider before parting from your money to become the owner of one of these cheap ereaders.   They are cheap because they are cheaply manufactured in China using cheap components put together by very badly paid workers with absolutely no sort of quality control (I know about these factories, as I lived in China for some time, and saw many such places, and also had many bad experiences of the low grade products they make).  So you always run a very real risk that the example you have purchased simply wont work, or will give up the ghost within a very short time.

I have reviewed a number of these cheap ereaders here on this blog, and in most cases I have been mildly to extremely rude about them too.   But in every case, I was instantly buried in comments and emails from people who had purchased one or other of these cheap ereaders and who were extremely happy with them.

In the beginning, all is well…. But after a couple of months…..

However, it is noticeable that the comments and emails changed after these ereaders had been on the market for a couple of months… Then it was more a series of complaints and cries for help, as people began to have more and more problems with their cheap ereaders and discovered that the shops they purchased these ereaders from did not offer any real support for their woes.   Mostly the best that was offered was to exchange the defective ereader for another one… which stood an equal chance of giving problems………

One  problem is that many of these ereaders do not conform to the various de facto standards that have grown up around ereaders, many for example have no form of support for Adobe Digital Editions – which you need if you wish to buy ebooks from commercial online ebook sellers, thus limiting yourself to getting hold of non-DRM protected ebooks, which are to a very large extent books that you might well not really want to read… All the classics for example.   If  you are a moderately competent computer user it is always possible to change the format of any ebook you buy using a program such as Calibre, but this is not something that most people who buy such ereaders from their nearest super market are often able or willing to do.

Or they only work with PDF files, and wont work with ePub, which effectively stops you from reading the bulk of ebooks out there.

Another problem is simply one of quality, these ereaders are as I said above, cheaply made, and thus tend to breakdown, or their batteries, also the cheapest the makers could find, die making it impossible to recharge the ereader… and so the list goes on….

You get what you pay for…………………………………..

It is, as always, you get what you pay for.   Expensive, known brand ereaders – Kindle, Sony, Kobo, Nook and so on, cost more since they are made with much better quality components and are supported fully by their makers, which is mostly not the case with the cheap Chinese ereaders.

So, by all means buy one of these cheap devices, but please be aware that you are buying something that probably wont work for very long (unless you are one of the lucky few who happens to get one that was made on a Monday morning) and will probably be very clumsy to work with.

Interesting Chinese site:

To give you an idea of how many small factories there are in China churning out these cheap ereaders, it is worth having a look at this (english language) website, a sort of Chinese eBay where companies offer their wares to the world outside China….  See picture above.  Link: http://www.dhgate.com

You might consider buying a handful of these ereaders and giving them away for Christmas gifts……

So, think before you leap.


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Are books getting too cheap?

The Independent‘s perceptive books editor, Boyd Tonkin, posts a surprising complaint in his newest column: Books are getting too cheap.

As he puts it:

By historical standards, books are cheap in Britain. They are getting cheaper, especially in electronic form. Ultra-competitive downward pressure on consumer prices began in earnest when the price-fixing Net Book Agreement collapsed in 1997.

When supermarkets muscled into the bestseller business, this dash for the bargain basement quickened. Our only remaining specialist chain has become best-known for its permanent “three-for-two” offers. Now, with the fast-accelerating e-book boom – new figures show that 6.5 million British adults own an electronic reader – Amazon would very much like the hot new novel that you download to a Kindle to cost less than the coffee that you drink with it.

The problem? “[L]iving, breathing authors, unlike those six-feet-under scribes that Amazon and Google find so much more tractable, need food, warmth and shelter ….”

As he continues,

This feels like a tough case to defend. We all want cheaper entertainment and enlightenment. But look at tasteless supermarket fare. Ruthlessly enforced economies can kill diversity. Rather, they favour uniformity and predictability. Contra the pub wisdom you often hear, e-books do have significant production costs even if they don’t need trucks and sheds. Those costs include keeping professional authors alive.

Dirt-cheap e-books benefit the very rich – and the very dead. They might also help new authors to find a foothold and win an audience – although, on that logic, newcomers should think about showcasing their work for nothing. Many do. But the almost-free digital novel hammers another nail into the coffin of a long-term literary career. Who cares? Readers should, if they cherish full-time authors who craft not safe genre pieces but distinctive book after distinctive book that build into a unique body of work.


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Pixel of ink site specializes in free and cheap Kindle ebooks

Screen shot 2011-01-24 at 3.33.18 PM.pngGot an email about this new site that specializes finding in new and inexpensive Kindle ebooks. Go over and take a look. Here is what they say about themselves:

Pixel of Ink is a blog focused on allowing you to keep your Kindle loaded with books, without breaking your bank!

Here’s what you will find:

Free Kindle Books – both the Limited Time Offers and often forgotten but Popular Classics
Bargain Bin books that are highly rated (4-stars and up) yet a bargain at under
Kindle accessories that are an absolute steal of a deal (i.e. 50% off or more)
Updated daily, Pixel of Ink will make sure you always have something to read!


Finding free (or cheap) Kindle books with Jungle Search

CNet has an article looking at how to use Jungle-Search.com to find free or inexpensive Kindle e-books. The piece notes that Amazon has almost 17,000 free Kindle titles, though all but 246 of them (as of the article’s writing) were the same public domain titles that can be found on Google Books, Project Gutenberg, or elsewhere. There are also over 220,000 titles for 99 cents or less, and 125,000 between and .

This looks to be a very interesting search site even aside from e-books. One of the things that annoyed me about Amazon during my Christmas shopping was that there wasn’t any way to search solely on price. Paired with Amazon Prime, this could be a very fun way of finding cheap trinkets to keep oneself amused.


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Cheap ereaders – This site has them all!

DHGate, a most extraordinary collection of cheap ereaders…..

Whilst researching the net for my posts on the MiGear and the Slick ereaders I came across a rather wonderful website in China.   It is one of those trade ones, you know the sort, they list all the manufacturers of various products that you can buy online.

Anyhow, this one among other products has lists of ereader makers – hundreds 0f them!

So, I thought I would share it with you, as you might be interested in a very basic and cheap ereader.

All sorts and sizes here.

As you can see, they offer just about any type of ereader you might wish for, though almost all of them are LCD or TFT screened models.   Not surprisingly when you consider that e-Ink screens are expensive, and all of these ereaders aim to be as cheap as possible.

Another point about them is that as far as I can see, none of them offer any sort of DRM support – which given the Chinese attitude to copyright, isn’t perhaps really very surprising.

That said, if ereaders such as the Silk and MiGear interest you, you might do well to think of buying one (or perhaps several hundred) of these ereaders.   As rough and ready ones, to be used for something like storing your recipes in the kitchen perhaps, or as simple ereaders for your kids, anything that you might use an ereader for, that might cause it to get rather battered, which you wouldn’t want to use something like a Sony for.

All “wholesale”…. ummmm…  well, sort of……

If you visit this site, you will see that they give prices, ranging from 1 example to 100, so whilst they claim to be whole-sellers, they are perfectly happy to sell you one ereader if that is what you want.    Mark you, once you buy 100 of the things, the prices can be remarkably reasonable per device, though what you would do with the 99 you don’t need for yourself I am not sure…   Garage sale anyone?

Formats and ebook support.

Since apparently none of them support DRM, this would mean that you wouldn’t be able to buy ebooks from sites such as the Sony book store, or Books on Board, or any site that sells copyrighted ebooks, but any of the rapidly increasing number of  sites that offer you free out of copyright ebooks will give you enough to read for several centuries.   So if the latest Top Ten novel is not what you are looking for, and you don’t mind using an LCD screened device nor require that it lasts you for years, then one or other of these devices might well be a good buy for you.

But you will never find a review on the net of any of these, unless one of them gets taken up by some supermarket chain in the West, as is the case with the MiGear and Slick ereaders currently.  So you will have to jump in all by yourself and take the risk that the one you choose is a reasonable one.

I have to point out at this juncture, that my – admittedly limited – experience of dealing with such companies in China when it came to returning unwanted goods has so far been entirely positive……………………

Anyhow, I thought I would share this rather entertainingly odd website with you….  Who knows, perhaps you have been hunting for a place to buy ereaders in quantity?

Link: http://www.dhgate.com

Share with us:

If any of you good people actually buys an ereader from any of these suppliers, please do let us know how it all went, and whether the ereader was any use.


Deal of the Day for the Kindle – real cheap Kindle books

51h1aymU-KL._SL500_AA266_PIkin3,BottomRight,-18,34_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgPicked this up from a tweet by Stephen Windwalker.

Amazon has a new page for daily cheap Kindle books. I just checked it out and all of the books listed are .99. I bought A Spy’s Diary of World War II: Inside the OSS with an American Agent in Europe, by Wayne Nelson. Amazon lists its “Digital List Price” as .99 and the print list price as .00.

I guess I’ll have to bookmark this page.


Slick ereader – Another cheap Chinese ereader hits the world

After the MiGear in Australia and New Zealand, we have the Slick ereader in the USA:

I wrote a very damming post on the MiGear (which is a cheap ereader available in Australia and New Zealand), and almost instantly regretted being so unkind to the thing, as that post has now had over 7000 hits, and no end of comments from happy MiGear owners,who were very happy with their simple and cheap ereader, so I shall be rather more careful about what I say in this post about what is obviously the equivalent ereader, but which is available, in the USA.

Having hunted around the net to see what is being said about this device, I find that it is almost exactly the same as the MiGear…..    Lots of people hate the thing, but I suspect more love it.   As you will see from the helpful video I found and will add to this post, and the specifications I shall bung at the bottom of this post, it is a very straightforward, no frills ereader, and as such, is probably an ideal first ereader for many of you out there.   Cheap (about ), simple to work with, no unnecessary functions, simply a device on which to read your ebooks.

As with all the other super cheap ereaders out there,this one has a colour screen, with the advantages and drawbacks that one has with LCD screens….  Not good to use in bright light, short battery endurance etc, but, easy to read in the dark, possible to read ebooks that have colour, magazines, kids books and so on….  A question of swings and roundabouts really.

Worst website in the world:

As part of my hunt for info about this one, I obviously went to their website…..   And it is certainly very slick looking, but completely useless, simply a very smart series of images, and absolutely no information on the ereader, but, and this is a useful thing, you can download the users manual their, this is good.  I have downloaded this handbook, and it seems very straightforward, and explains very clearly by means of diagrams how to work with the ereader, seems a good handbook to me……   If you are thinking of buying this ereader, then I recommend you to first down load the handbook, gives you a good idea of how it will work for you … Link below:

Not really much to say about it…….

If you are looking for a simple, no fuss and bother device on which to read ebooks, and are OK with the problems of using LCD screens, then this is a very reasonable device to buy.   You can always move upwards later to a more Standard Ereader – but bear in mind that if you should buy a Kindle later, you will have to convert all your ePub ebooks to Kindle’s own format before you will be able to install them on your Kindle….  Any other ereader should accept your ebooks OK.

Also, it has no WiFi or 3G connectivity, so you will need to have a computer to download your ebooks, and then transfer them to the ereader…

By the way, the Slick supports Adobe Digital Editions, and thus is OK with DRM protected ebooks.

But it is a very low end device:

Please do bear in mind though, this is  a device produced in a small factory in China, for as little money as possible, so its various components will be the cheapest possible, and you should not expect it to keep going for anything like as long as  a Sony or Nook or some similar quality product.  You would be buying the cheapest ereader in the world….. so ……

Video about the Slick:

  • 7” Color display
  • 2gb internal memory
  • SD Card slot for additional storage
  • Supports ePub and PDF files
  • Plays music, video, and pictures
  • Auto switching from landscape to portrait view
  • Support for Borders eBooks and Adobe Digital Editions

Included in the box:

  • The eReader
  • Cover
  • USB cable
  • AC Charger
  • Headphones
  • User Guide

You can buy it at Big Lots for .99

Link to Slick: http://www.slickusa.com/

Share with us:

Do you have one of these ereaders? or are you thinking about getting one?   Let us know your thoughts on it please…..

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