In the Future, Tense

September 29, 2009

Sony EReader — Take 2

Filed under: technology — carolynanderson09 @ 1:31 pm

Sony EReaderThis blog more or less started with a description of my disappointing experience with the Sony eReader.  The root of most of the frustration was that they’d created an electronic book into which I could not actually load books because I am part of a Mac only household.  This really was frustrating because except for my ability not to use it, it was a sweet machine.  Sleeker and more compact than the Kindle, more book-like in its design.  I liked the touch screen and the cover, and overall found the device it was easy to use and work out.

I was feeling completely confirmed in my electronics mantra:  Never buy the first version of the New Toy.  They’re still working out the bugs, and the price will come down.

Then I got the news.  A new version of the eReader was scheduled, and this one would have an iMac version.

I was deeply torn.  Last time had NOT gone well.  But then again, I’d been able to return it easily so there was very little to lose.

So I went out and bought the new version.  I shelled out for the larger of the two new models (after multiple months of reading on my iPhone, I am now quite certain I like a bigger screen size for my e-texts when I can get it), plugged it into my Powerbook, and crossed my fingers.

I am very pleased to be able to announce that this time it worked like a charm.  The software loaded, the help system was helpful, I was able to find and download books for free from Guttenburg and Google, and was also able to purchase a new book that was out of hardcopy, and FINALLY I will be able to read Toby Buckell’s SLY MONGOOSE which I have had sitting around in e-form from my last venture into the world of ebooks but haven’t been able to actually, like, READ do to a lack of working reader.

Which demonstrates the inherint weakness of e-text.  It’s complicated and it can crash.  On the other hand, I live in a small house and I’m running out of shelf space.  I don’t re-read as much as I used to, and I need access to a lot of texts on a one time basis for research.  My Rocket Scientist Husband (TM) discovered he can easily download academic papers onto the thing (I may now have to arm wrestle him for control of it), and I found I can download manuscripts in PDF form so I can carry them around and edit them.  One of the very smart things Sony did with this version, IMHO, was abandon the idea of a proprietary file format and the machine takes at least PDF and EPUB (which is the stantard the EU is adopting).  It doesn’t have wireless download for instant gratification, but that is coming later in the year for an extra $100 initial outlay.

The handwriting feature displays my sprawling scrawl pretty faithfully, the text-size option lets you adapt to a variety of reading conditions.  I also downloaded some music and having an all-in-one book and iPod is in fact pretty darned cool.  You can also use it for audio books.  There’s features for notes and bookmarks, of course, and the pages turn with minimal delay and it still fits in my purse.

In short, this time I’m keeping it.


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