EBookwise-1150 Review

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Review of the eBookwise 1150 Portable Ebook Reading Device

Most people don't know anything about ebook reader devices because, for the most part, they are sold on the internet, not in stores. I tried to find them in stores when I was home and no stores carried them and no clerks knew anything about them and tried to steer us to tiny PDAs.

I bought an ebook reader device because I read lots of books a week. I was spending too much money on the books plus on shipping to get them to me and then I had to get bookcases to store them in and, as I am Canadian but live in Korea, I will have to pay to ship them home again.

The eBookwise 1150 Portable Ebook Reading Device machine is a book reader. Dedicated. Extremely good at what it does. It is not a computer, pda, cellphone, or any other multi-tasking piece of equipment. It reads books and lets you do to the book what you do to any paper book such as underline, highlight, bookmark, make notes, fold down the corners, and even add an extra page for notetaking - only it does all these things better and you can have tons of books on it at one time. You can download books to it through USB or a phone line. No wifi. Doesn't play music. You can hold it one-handed in your left or right hand - the text flips over.

Not long after I bought it, I was in the hospital and one hand or the other was hooked up to IV and the ability to hold it in one hand and to flip it for the other hand was a lifesaver. Twice I had to read a paperback while I waited for it to charge and the book was awkward to read with the IV in.

These websites contain detailed reviews of the eBookwise Ebook reader device and there are pictures with all of the details:


For this site,scroll down a little until you reach the title: eBookwise-1150: The john test.


I bought my ebookwise device because of 2 of those reviews.

The eBookwise-1150 is a dedicated ebook reader device available online from eBookwise, a Fictionwise Company:


for only $139 plus shipping which includes a 64 Mb Smart Media card for storing books, although it does go on sale from time to time.

A similar ebook reader device without the Smart Media card is available online from Filament Books:


bundled as a package with a one year club membership for $199.

I bought the $124 ebookwise reader device which came with a 64 mg memory card. I had it half full with 60 documents on it.

It can't read pdf files. PDF files are huge. I have downloaded books in pdf (acrobat reader), lit (microsoft reader), and rb(my device reads this) and the last two are maybe 500 kb while pdf is 2,500. There is more technical information here:


You can hand write notes on my ebookwise but there is no way to type anything. No keyboard, no wifi.

It is backlit. It takes 2 hours to charge. It then provides you with 20 hours of reading at the light setting that I have found most comfortable for my eyes. It lets you enlarge the type while keeping to a page format. If you turn the backlight up as high as possible, you reduce your reading time to a few hours but you can find your way down a dark, smoke filled corridor because it gives off so much light. How many pages of reading is 20 hours? Depends on how fast you read, how many pages an hour do you read?

First, IMHO the Sony with EInk technology is too new, too expensive, and too proprietary although the e-ink looks great. Plus, they use DRM technology which provides them with way too much information about you. Also, you don't own the books, you have them for 60 days and then they disappear.

For Asians, a new EInk ebook reader device has been developed in Korea. The reader can read Korean, Japanese, traditional Mandarin, English, and possibly Russion. You can read more about it here:


Although I use the word ebook reader it is actually a device and the software is the reader, just be aware of this as you read stuff. I got this from the site highlighted below:

NOTE: Some devices such as the Sony eBook Reader and the Illiad claim to support "Adobe PDF" format, yet they do not support encrypted Adobe Reader format. Those devices only work with unencrypted content.

There are a number of other reader devices out there and these sites will explain about them: This is a good page to look at as it lists all the options, really take a look at this site and read all about them.


Fictionwise supports the Franklin eBookMan handheld device. The Franklin eBookMan can read either its own proprietary format (FUB) or it can read Palm Doc files (PDB). The FUB format is generally more desirable because it can display text formats such as italics and centering. (The Mobipocket Reader will also work on Franklin eBookMan. This software is used at Fictionwise for its encrypted eBooks and is recommended.)


The Microsoft Reader software is actually a nice reader for reading on the computer. It is much better than Adobe Acrobat. They both show the cover of SF magazines in colour and detail. However, Acrobat is much better for seeing the detail of the cover and illustrations and it is the largest, by far, file size that you get. The Microsoft reader books download in a nice size and show up in the library in colour covers. If you have a pocket pc then MS reader works on it.

Reading on a PDA or phone is, IMHO, just plain insane. But for those who want to, here is some additional information:


No one who reads any amount would actually consider reading on a PDA or phone. Get a dedicated reader. The Hieman seems to be out of production. The Rocket (REB 1100, 1150, etc.) (This is what my device is but it is now called an ebookwise ebook reader device) are still in production under different names.

This seems to be your best choice as it reads:

   * Rich Text Format (.rtf)
   * Microsoft Word (.doc)
   * Plain Text (.txt)
   * Rocket eBook Editions (.rb)
   * HTML (.htm or .html) 

This means that you can read anything from the various Gutenberg projects on your device. You can also copy and paste PDF docs to word and then upload them to your device.

Here are some articles and discussions about them:


Scroll down to the john test.

These are some reviews of my reader device. There are also lots of discussion groups with things to say about them but I didn't save all those links.


To get books you have a lot of choices depending on what you want to read. I like classics and Canadian and Aussie copyright laws say that a book is no longer covered by copyright once the author has been dead for 50 years. That means that Dickens, Woolf, Austen, the Brontes are all free at the Gutenberg sites. Be careful though as sellers will offer to sell these books to you.

I like SF, Fantasy, mysteries, but mostly spec fic. There are tons of options out there. I have bought from ebookwise which is the simplest as the content is automatically set up for the reader I have and it downloads with no fuss, no muss. I purchased 22 back editions of Analog, Asimov, and SF and F magazines. It seems that most of the people who own ebook readers are spec fic readers.

I have also started to buy from fictionwise which owns ebookwise. They offer slightly different prices especially if you buy their club membership. They have books that rebate you up to 100% of the cost of the book towards purchasing other books. Through them I have bought subscriptions to Analog, Asimov and Fantasy and Science Fiction magazines. I also purchased a 100% rebate novel and downloaded some free books including the one to test the download of Microsoft Reader.

From the fictionwise website I had access to the 22 books I had purchased through ebookwise. And these were available in the automatic and proprietary format for direct uploading. There are 10 other formats and you are allowed to download each of your books in your choice of 10 different formats. This means that you can save your books to your computer and burn them onto disks rather than having to save them on the smart card and buying more smart cards. I tested out the MS Reader which is how I learned about the improved pictures, and the PDF for the magnificent covers which matters to me in SF magazines, as well as the rb format which I can upload to my bookshelf at fictionwise/ebookwise and download to my reader.

The other formats like .txt, etc. you upload to your bookshelf and then download to your device. This is what I did with the Gutenberg Wizard of Oz series and the journals I was reading for my research paper for my Masters. I currently have 60 magazines, books and journals on my reader. I also have them downloaded to my computer for permanent storage and ownership. Pdf you have to copy and paste into word to be able to read on the reader.


Then there is the whole world of publishing:


Russian on your ebook reader (also found a site with yiddish)


Then there are the ebook online groups. Here are a couple. There are more. Be afraid, be very afraid. If you search make sure you search for 'ebook reader device'. The software is the ebook reader. You get better results. These are not the sites that I had found in my first times of doing research.


As you can tell, I have done way too much research on this topic. But I have to say that I really love my ebook reader and I wish I had it years ago. I prefer reading it to reading books because of the ease.

It is apparently a rebranding of Gemstar's GEB 1150. (Gemstar has since left the ebook business.)

The eBookwise-1150's screen is a backlit greyscale LCD.

The eBookwise-1150 has a built in modem for buying content from the eBookwise server; or you can put ebook files on it using its USB port to connect to an MSWindows computer running eBook Librarian, which can import from HTML (or a subset thereof), plaintext, MSWord .DOC, and RTF. There have been reports of Linux users being able to add content by directly writing to the device's SmartMedia card.

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