Thursday, July 23, 2009

 

I joined the 21st century

My brother has used an ebook reader for some years. I love to read and in fact probably have nearly half of the storage unit I still rent full of books, but I recently decided that it was time to join the 21st century. I bought one of these:
Sony Reader 01
This is a Sony PRS-505 eBook Reader. I debated over this VS the Kindle from Amazon.com but in the end I thought this one would work better for me. The Kindle requires the user to only download books from Amazon.com and while I like their service and am even a stock holder in the company, I think I'd rather be able to have the options that this reader gives me.

I picked one in what they call blue color but it is very dark, pretty much a Navy blue color. I know it is easier to look at photos that are against a dark background and figured the page of the book would work the same way. It does seem to.

Sony Reader 02
Here is the main menu and as you can see, I currently have 105 books loaded. It says that it can hold about 160 books but that depends on the size of each book. I can also use either an SD or Sony Memory Stick memory card to expand that considerably. In fact, I was able to buy a bunch of 2gb SD cards from Costco for only $5 each so am well set for quite awhile.

Sony Reader 03
Here is a photo of the reader beside a standard pocket book so you can get a feel for its size. Its page size is just slightly smaller than the paper book but I have the option to select from three different text sizes. I've found that I generally like the mid-size one best. By the way, the paper book shown here is a great read and the author has half a dozen or so published with this character. They are set in New Mexico.

Sony Reader 04
The text shown here is in that mid-size option. The screen is what is called ePaper and very easy on the eyes to read. It's much easier to use than a back-lit computer monitor screen and is even easy to see in bright sunlight. The battery is good for something like 5500 page turns before recharging and anytime you have it hooked to your computer, via USB port, it is charging those batteries. The USB port is also the way I download books to it. There is no built in light but Sony makes a cover that includes a lighted wedge that I bought and it works great. In addition to the USB connection charge I have chargers that plug into the wall (AC power) and one that connects to the 12v outlet ("cigar lighter") in vehicles, so we can recharge it from our solar panels in the motorhome. The list price is $300 but I bought mine online at about a 10% discount for $270. Amazon just lowered their Kindle price to that same $300 but you won't find it discounted any lower as they are the only source to buy one from, except perhaps on eBay.

There are many places where eBooks are available to download for this device. Sony has a store of their own and I've bought some there. Barnes & Noble owns Fictionwise which has many thousands of books, many of which are free. I do have to be careful to not download copy protected books that are not in one of the two protected file formats that I can use but there are a lot of unprotected formats including plain text and PDF files. The screen of the reader is not in color so photos are rendered as black & white and not real detailed, but it can be used that way. Many eBooks have covers that are from the printed versions and they look okay.

Any book that was published before 1923 is no longer protected by copyrite and many of these have been digitized and are available to download from many different sources. Google has over 500,000. Many of these are some of the real classics. For example, I have Tom Sawyer, Gulliver's Travels, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The War of the Worlds plus others. I have bought a few new books. I am a real fan of books by Nelson DeMille and have read all but his latest which is still only available in hard back format. But it is also available from Sony as an eBook for $11.99, less than half the price of the hard back. I recently borrowed a book from a friend that I really enjoyed ("The Unforgettable Minute") and I found it from Sony for the same $11.99 price. They download in just seconds, even these full current books. Mysteries are my favorite genre and as you'd guess that is where I have the most books, currently 33.

Many authors are now publishing only in eBook format. It saves trees, is less costly as there are no books to print and I understand that authors actually get to keep a higher percentage of the cost of eBooks than they do from standard publishers. That sort of sounds like a win-win kind of thing to me.

If you have any questions that I might be able to answer, go ahead and ask. I am far from an expert but I am enjoying this device. It is a great way to be able to take a lot of reading material along on a trip in a very small space!

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Comments:
Several of my friends have recommended the Kindle to me and I'd love to have one, but at $300 they're still a little too pricey for me. I'll wait until they come down in price, as surely they will since most electronics do over time.

Thanks for the look at your Sony device, hope you get good use from it.

Love and hugs,

Diane
 
How cool is that?!! I read in bed every night and so far the old fashioned book itself is fine for me, but one day who knows I may join your ranks Dick. Enjoy the weekend!
 
I have a kindle and I LOVE it. I can download anything from my pc...even audio books and music. I did not like the cover that came with it, so I bought a red leather one for it, and I have two cards I got at COSTCO but they were not 5.00 each. I think they were two for 29.00 but I can hold over 200 books on just the kindle memory alone. I looked at the SOny, but Santa got me the Kindle, so I aint arguing! It fits my needs just fine. THe only complaint I have is it is not compatible with color!
 
Mary Lou, your Kindle is the model 1. The one they sell now, the model 2, doesn't have the ability to take a SD chip and as I understand, there is no direct connection to a computer so that files, etc. can be downloaded to it. I think the only way to put books onto it is from Amazon. Hold onto yours!
 
Dad ~ I was able to check out DeMille's newest book at our library, here, and read it for free! Gotta love the library!

Mike
 
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