August 28, 2007

Sony Reader

Filed under: Technology — mmrobins @ 1:23 pm

I faced a major dilemma in packing for Peru: what books to bring? Books are heavy and bulky, but I can’t imagine not having something to read during downtime, which there’s plenty of while traveling (airports, bus stops, train stations, etc). While I can easily entertain myself with one or two books for a week, six months is too long for just a couple of books. So I got a Sony Reader. So far I love it.

The screen is as easy on the eyes as paper and the battery lasts a long time. The text can be resized to three different sizes which makes it even easier on the eyes. It can even do a decent job of displaying PDF’s that are formatted to be printed at 8.5×11, although it’s often necessary to rotate the device to a horizontal display so that half a page is displayed at a time (hold the size button down until it rotates).

The device costs $300 which is a bit much for some books, but when I think about how much I spend on gear to make it lighter and smaller I feel justified. I wanted to wait a bit longer for it to come down in price and include a few more features, but moving abroad determined the timing of the purchase. The features that I really want included that aren’t:

  1. Searchable text
  2. A touchscreen that allowed hyperlinks to be followed so that you could put wikipedia on it.
  3. A dictionary so that you could click on words and bring up the definition.

So basically everything I want would require and input method like a stylus or an onscreen keyboard or something. The Iliad is another reader that costs $700 and you can write on it, but it doesn’t look like it makes the text searchable either, and I don’t think it can do hyperlinks.

I’ve got dozens of books ready for the trip now. The best places I’ve found for getting free books are Project Gutenberg for stuff out of copyright and Wowio which has free books that are ad sponsored. There is a store that Sony has where you can buy books, but when you’re DRMing the purchase and still charing almost as much as you would for a paper copy, it’s not very worthwhile. I’m willing to pay for electronic versions of things, but not when they’re less useful than the physical media versions and when the cost doesn’t reflect even part of the savings in distribution.

Overall I’m already happy with the purchase. I’m looking forward to reading a lot of good books while traveling.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. | TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML ( You can use these tags): <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> .