E-book reader - manga reading

E-book readers recommendations for manga enthusiasts.

E-book readers are not designed to read manga or other comics in the first place. The first problem that arises is display size. Anything under 9,7 inch (825x1200) is too small to read on. The second problem is necessary support for comics browsing - zoom, bookmarks, etc. The third problem is support for reading archives (zip, rar) - the most commonly used format of distributing manga in electronic form. It would be nice if manufactures were more aware of manga reading users needs.

Why read manga in Japanese
I read manga in Japanese, because knowledge of Japanese language, culture and civilization allows to understand subtle meanings in content - consequently results in improved reading experience. Makes reader more aware that characters think and act in Japanese way. Also it fits more natural to overall design of manga written in classical style - reading from right to left vertically. Note that translations are lossy (missing meaning, translation errors, etc.).

Amazon Kindle?
Well, Amazon Kindle DX  is awesome piece of hardware. Screen is big enough and 16 scales of gray sounds also good for manga reading. However it has no SW support for manga reading whatsoever. It can read zip archives, but has no comics browser. There is even some kind of converter (Mangle) that helps kindle to read manga - meaning user is burdened with need for specialized software. For Kindle users more info on Mangle here

Pocket Pro 902 / 903?
It has superb support for text-to-speech (at least the manufacturer says so). Support for manga - none.

Jinke Hanlin A9?
Only 9 inch 1024x768 display. Si-pix display has dark gray background and reviews claim it is worse than e-ink. It supports great deal of formats including rar and zip.

Jinke Hanlin V90?
Good price usability ratio. I don't have many informations on this one.

Sibrary G10?
This one is tricky. Actually I bought Sibrary G10 reader and now I've to say it is quite good reader for manga reading. It has quite good 9,7 inch 825x1200 (8 scales of gray) e-ink display, comics browsing support is excellent and handles well rar, zip, cbr, cbz archives.

However there are several downsides (I can live with that):
There is practically none relevant update information and latest firmware in English. The latest firmware is only accessible from Chinese web.
Only the 1.6.1 and higher supports all these awesome manga reading capabilities.
Beware there are problems with displaying very large resolution images. And more importantly, if archive contains folder named in japanese reader can't open it at all. Those things are pretty annoying.

I'm going to make full review on Sibrary G10, when I've enough free time.

9,7 inch readers are great. However there are several downsides i.e. weight above 550g (aprox. 1,1 pounds) and price is quite high.

updated: 17.11.2011

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