Can anyone suggest a good accessible e-reader?

I know we won’t all have the same accessibility needs.

I have arm injuries and need to be able read more away from the computer, and spend less time on the computer.

I have proprioceptive problems and have a lot of trouble with touchscreens. Some are hard to use, other impossible, others go haywire.I have sensory problems and can’t handle bright lights.

[P.S. I’ve been able to use some touchpads pretty well. Complex gestures, gestures which involve fingers moving different directions, touchpads which don’t detect my fingers, and touchpads which detect my fingers when I’m not even touching them give me trouble. I’m wondering if touchscreens are just inherently flakier than touchpads, besides being used for more of the interface, and having less room to disable buggy gestures.]

I have files in pdf, djvu, odt, html, epub, etc. that I’d like to read.

I can organize things using folders. I have never been able to organize things using so-called libraries. I have tried, but they always take the files out of their proper folder, away from their related files, and they always give each file the wrong name and make it too hard and too painful to change them to the right name. I physically can’t rename every file all over again with a keyboard, let alone a touchscreen. My
computer often gives each file the wrong author, etc. which isn’t an issue on the computer, but would be an issue with some so-called libraries.

I have been using an old Iriver Story HD. It has been very useful, but it is slow, it can’t handle certain pdfs, it can’t handle djvus, etc.

Any suggestions?

I like my low-end kindle. No backlight, one handed operation, easy on the eyes.

I have not yet tried to upload anything but kindle books on it yet, so not sure about file management.

For the record, I transfer whole folders to the Iriver, read the files, sometimes move or delete the corresponding files on the computer, eventually replace the folder on the Iriver with the new version of the same folder on the computer.

Low end kindles are perfect. I’ve seen all of the expensive ones my friends have, and honestly I’d so much rather have the absolute cheapest model. A month of battery life, stores 2000+ books, pages look just like a book.

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Don’t recent Kindles all have touchscreens, use their own file formats, and not support epub, djvu, odt, etc.?

Do recent Kindles have reliable touchscreens, tools to disable unwanted gestures, adjustable brightness, the ability to transfer whole folders to the device, the ability to use folders and find files on the device, etc.?

I was referring specifically to the low-end kindle, not the new snazzy fire tablet, but the non backlit, non touchscreen paperwhite.

Apparently you can jailbreak it and yes, if the internet is to be believed, you can get it to read at least a few of the file formats you mentioned.


I am by no means an expert on this, but I can ask around some too. Interesting question MarjaE.

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Oh the newest low end kindle (Voyage) is all touchscreen. See if you can find a paperwhite model. Far better with buttons.

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I’d get a faster processor, and after jailbreaking the ability to install software to open djvus, but I’d lose the ability to find my files in their folders, and I’d get similar screen size and resolution.

Has anyone tried one of the low-end Windows 8 hybrids?

I don’t know Windows, or the changes in Windows 8, but the hybrid configuration might help, the file organization might make it easier to copy folders over and access files, and so on. I’d need to know about disabling specific gestures and about minimizing screen brightness.

[P.S. or running Linux proper on one of the Android hybrids?]

Other than the touchscreen the Kobo Aura might work for you.

But I don’t know. I haven’t had a dedicated ereader since the Kindle 3, which had physical turn page buttons and a physical keyboard.

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Are you looking for an e-paper device, or would you take an android tablet if the software was compatible with what you need? I’ve seen readers that use the volume button for page turning, and I believe there are reader apps that will let you go straight to the file system for organizing your docs

here’s the problem:

For reading certain kinds of books, a kindle has some useful advantages over, say, a tablet-- it consumes less power, it can be read in direct sunlight, it’s cheaper. The physical size of the display really doesn’t matter all that much because text can be reflowed to compensate-- though math formulas tend to trip up azw books.

For other types of books, information is presented in, for instance,tabular form or maps, or illustrations, and it really does help to be able to appreciate both the full size of the table, or map, or illustration, and to be able to read the individual elements of this sort of thing. At the extreme end, this requires both a large display and a high resolution display-- or some way of zooming in and out easily.

The controls to do this on an kindle keyboard are awkward. The ipad solves this to some extent by using pinch to zoom gestures-- if for some reason you can’t use those gestures, you’re out of luck. Marja says she falls into this category. The other major issue, is that the ipad likes to compartmentalize things–each app has its own filespace-- so if you are in the habit of organizing many different filetypes in the same folder, the ipad will break this habit. A filesystem using a database of metadata is what the modern user is encouraged to use, and I suppose this can be difficult to get used to.

Inevitably, though as a third person, I’m distorting her vision and her needs.

Her iRiver was bought chiefly because the screen resolution was superior in resolution to a kindle.

Thanks. From what I’ve read, like the Iriver, it has trouble woth pdfs and doesn’t support djvus.

And because it has buttons…

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I’ve got one, or rather an Aura HD and it doesn’t fit @MarjaE’s needs.

I used to use a jailbroken Sony PRS-T1 which had some physical buttons and handled PDF well, but I think it still needed touchscreen to select books.

I’ll try to find it when I get back home and tell you how well it would fit your needs.

I used to have a Sony prs 350, after jailbreaking you can install another firmware which will allow you to map most functions to the hardware buttons. It’s also available for other Sony models.

The biggest problem is file formats, I just don’t know of an ereader that handles djvu and most ask you to choose between mobi or epub :frowning:

The PRS-T1 uses android 1.6 and the custom firmware has ebookdroid which is supposed to read djvu files. I don’t have any to test with though.

Sorry, I tested the T1 and you cant use the buttons to select anything, you can only use them to turn pages.

I figure I’m out of luck with buttons.

I should probably look for something which doesn’t go haywire if I just wave my hand near it, and which allows me to disable complicated gestures instead of accidentally triggering them [pinch and zoom being particularly nasty], and I should look for a suitable mini keyboard, big enough for my fingers, small enough for my good hand to do two-key and occasional three-key functions witout hurting.

It is possible to run Linux on Android. That would eat up a lot of drive space, but it would allow me to find my files. Unless Unity has progressed further towards uselessness…

I have trouble with bright and/or strobing lights. But reducing the power of leds tends to worsen the strobe problem. I know there are hacks to darken the lcd in front of the leds to avoid strobing. I don’t know how well they work.

I found one option which was supposed to have a good deal of customization, and is supposed to be able to run full Linux, and does have its own file manager too… but the manual still doesn’t describe any way for users to disable pinch/zoom/go haywire.

The cheapest kindles have tactile buttons, which are a lot more usable. As for the different formats - it is true that mobi is the one that runs natively, and you could, as @AcerPlatanoides mentioned, jailbreak it, but I just convert them instead, which isn’t a huge problem since I only place 4-5 books per month.