The Delstar OpenBook, the eBookwise, and the Kindle

The Delstar OpenBook, the eBookwise, and the Kindle

In previous posts, I’ve written about Barnes & Noble’s nook (sic) and the Sony Reader Daily Edition.

I’ve been a bit surprised recently to see lots of people finding this blog because they are looking for information on the Delstar OpenBook EBR (E-Book Reader). 

It’s the power of Walgreens, I guess.  They recently reduced the OpenBook to about $100.

That’s a lot lower than the $259 for the Kindle of the nook.  Sure, that could be news.

However, there has been another $100 EBR that’s been around for years.

This is a clear example of how the Kindle changed the e-book market and the perception of e-books.

Before the Kindle, there were EBRs, but they never really took off.  Now that the Kindle opened up the market and began the mainstreaming of e-books, people want the things that existed before.   They see the value of them now in a way they didn’t five years ago.

However, not all EBRs are even the same class of device.  In this post, I’m going to compare the Delstar OpenBook, the eBookwise, and the class of EBRs that includes the Kindle, the Sony, and the nook (KSn)

 “E-books, e-books, watcha gonna read?  Watcha gonna read when you feel the need?”

Before we get into anything else, let’s talk about what books are available to you with the different devices.   Once you get an EBR, that’s going to be your biggest concern…what is there to read?


All three of those EBRs have stores.  You can get those books you read about in People magazine from them.  For most people, that’s probably what you read most of the time.

Delstar OpenBook

That’s where this one definitely loses, and the reason I think most people would be very disappointed getting one as a gift.  You can not read anything with Digital Rights Managment (DRM) on this device.  What’s DRM?  It’s something that copyright holders put into (in this case) the e-book file to control where it can be used.  It does a lot more, but that’s the important thing here.

The big publishers in the US generally do not release books without DRM.  If you can’t get books with DRM, you can’t get the new popular books.   What are you going to be able to read?  Older (pre-1923) books you can find on the internet.  Now, I love those books, but I don’t think that’s what most people who get an EBR want to read, primarily.  You’ll be able to read some personal documents.  I’ll get all techie on you a bit later, but bottom line, you won’t be able to buy those books you could get at Target or Costco in paper.


The eBookwise does have a store.  You can get Michael Crichton, or a Dr. Temperance Brennan book (“Bones”).

The KSn group clearly wins here, and Amazon has the most.  The eBookwise certainly has some options, and the Delstar OpenBook is going to be the most disappointing.  Maybe that’s why they call it the OpenBook…it can only read “open” books?

Prices on books

The eBookwise prices are comparable to the KSn.  Since the Delstar OpenBook can’t read protected books anyway, it doesn’t really apply here.

Price of the device

That’s where the KSn group loses.  The 6″ Kindle and the 6″ nook are both $259 at time of writing.  The Sony Daily Edition (7.1″) is $399.99. 

The eBookwise is $99.95 in its cheapest configuration. 

The Delstar OpenBook is currently $99.99 from Walgreens (discounted from $149.99).  Right now, the on-sale Delstar OpenBook and the eBookwise are about the same price, the Kindle and nook are about $159 more, and the Sony Daily is about $300 more.

The screen

If you don’t like reading on the device, it won’t matter what you paid for it, right?  The KSn group all use the same technology: E Ink from a company named Vizplex.  It’s what is called a “reflective” screen, versus being backlit.  Many people report that they prefer the “feel” of E Ink, and it certainly is much easier on the battery.  E Ink can read better in bright light, but it doesn’t currently do color. 

The Delstar OpenBook does color, and has a TFT (Thin-Film Transistor) LCD screen.

The eBookwise does 4-bit grayscale, and has an LCD screen.

In terms of appearances, the eBookwise may lose on this one.  The Delstar OpenBook will look good, if you need color for your books.

Getting the books

This is one of the things where the Kindle changed the landscape, and the Sony and the nook have it, too.  Most people can get books for the KSn group wirelessly…no computer technically needed (although some people find it easier to shop from the computer).  Even if you buy books from your computer, most people (in the US) can have them sent wirelessly to the EBR.  That’s great and feels almost magical.

Both the eBookwise and the Delstar OpenBook need to be plugged into something to get a book.  The eBookwise can work with a computer using a USB or by telephone (I don’t think that’s going to be common any more).  With the Delstar OpenBook, you get books via a USB cable from your computer.

The Delstar OpenBook also can use external memory: so can the nook and the Sony.

Getting books is much easier with the KSn group, but doable with the other two.

Onboard memory and online archives

The KSn group wins on this one.   The KSn group have the same about amount of memory: 2GB. 

The Delstar OpenBook is respectable in this area: 1 GB.

The eBookwise is much smaller, at 64MB.

All of them (except the OpenBook) maintain online archives you can access…you only need to carry with you the books you want to be reading at that time.

Got to give this to KSn, followed by Delstar OpenBook, trailed distantly by eBookwise…but again, you don’t need to have very many books on the device at a time.

Battery life

 The KSn group blows this away.   That’s largely due to the E Ink screens I mentioned earlier.  The KSN group will give you a week or more on one charge. 

The eBookwise says 15 hours if you don’t crank up the backlighting. 

The Delstar OpenBook says 8 hours.

Those are some of the key factors that will affect reading books.

There are other bells and whistles…literally, in the case of music.  The eBookwise has a touch screen, which some people prefer.


I honestly think most people are better off spending the extra $159 and getting a Kindle 6″ or a nook.  The $400, almost, for the Sony seems expensive to me (there is a more expensive and larger Kindle as well).

Between the two backlit devices here, I’d suggest the eBookwise as a gift.  The main reason is the content.  I like that the Delstar can play music and show pictures and has a much bigger memory, but most people are going to want to read recent, well-known authors.

This look covers the main issues.  I’m going to list a few technical points about the two backlit devices below, for those who want that, and then link you to the device websites.  I’ll also link to my articles on the Sony and nook, so you can get more in-depth on those if you want.


Delstar OpenBook: 5″ color TFT LCD

eBookwise: 5.5″ grayscale LCD


Delstar OpenBook: none with DRM.  Non-DRM: ANSI, UNICODE TXT, DOC, PDF, HTML, FB2, PDB, EPUB

eBookwise: Their DRM files.  None-DRM: TXT, RTF, DOC (Microsoft Word), HTM, and Rocket eBook (RB)

Websites (including links to documentation)



My posts on Sony and nook

Sony Reader Daily Edition


I’m always happy to hear about your personal experiences with EBRs and e-books.   Feel free to drop me a comment.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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