Dec 30 2007
Author Sandra Schwab of The Lily Brand and Castle of the Wolf bought a new Cybook and wrote up a wonderful review of it. I asked for permission to republish the posts here for the Dear Author readership. The Cybook can be ordered directly from Bookeen, a French company, or through Baen’s Bar.
So last week I finally got my Cybook Gen 3, the new e-reader from Bookeen. Since this is my first e-reader EVAH!, I was extremely excited and documented each step of the unravelling of the FedEx package:
The FedEx package:
If you open it on one side and peer inside,
that’s what you see:
And when you opened it, you’re presented with this view:
(they actually sent me the wrong cover: not chocolate brown, but executive black – grrrr)
(There’s still the protective foil on the screen, hence the reflection.)
Like the Sony, the Iliad and the Kindle it uses the e-ink technology, which makes reading the screen so comfortable and comparable to reading a print book. The Cybook is slightly smaller than a normal massmarket paperback and the mantle of the unit is made of plastic — a lot of people have commented that this makes the device look cheap. Still, the overall design is rather nice (especiall when compared to the butt-ugly Kindle!!!), even if the main navigation button at the front is perhaps not ideally placed.
The Cybook is very light and very thin. It reads txt, html, pdf, and prc (Mobipocket) files; as well as jpg, gif, png and MP3 files (i.e. you can listen to music while reading). The internal storage memory is 64 MB. However, storage size can be extended with a 2 GB SD card. The device is charged via USB (either by connecting it to the PC or to a USB charger), and the battery, according to the Bookeen website, will last up to 8000 page turns (i.e. screen refreshes).
You can upload books to the Cybook either via USB (the computer treats the Cybook like a storage device) or you can put them on the SD card. The whole uploading process couldn’t be easier, really!
So far I’ve read 1 1/2 books on the Cybook and I have to say it makes for very comfortable reading indeed, I haven’t experienced any sort of eyestrain whatsoever: the screen isn’t really white, but more grayish in colour (like a newspaper) and the resulting contrast between the black letters and gray background is rather nice. Still, as a first-time e-book reader I found it somewhat strange to read without being able to feel how I’m progressing through the book. Funny, isn’t it? I would have never thought that this aspect of reading is so important to me. But I’m sure in time I’ll get used to reading on the Cybook without suffering from a slight vertigo. :)
Some negative points:
- The organization of the library: at the moment library folders are not supported, thus in order to find a book you have to click through the pages of the library (now imagine if you’re using your SD card and have thousands of books show up in the library!)
- A minor irritation: the Cybook doesn’t always turn the page when you press the relevant button
- Another minor irritation: you have to press the SD card really far into the card slot to make it lock. (At first I actually thought my device wouldn’t take the card, but after some minor panic attacks, I tried again this morning and it worked like a charm when I used my fingernail to push the card in)
- A major irritation: Bookeen’s customer service. Or rather, their momentary lack of customer service: they don’t seem to answer e-mails from customers (or at least not on a regular basis), and what’s worse they don’t keep customers informed, e.g. about changes in shipping dates. And even though the Terms of Trade on their website explicitely state that in case one of the products is not avaible and has to be replaced by another, they will send an e-mail to the customer, we did not receive any sort of prior information about the exchange of the brown leather cover to the black one. Indeed, there wasn’t even a note in the Cybook box to explain the switch. Hello? You can’t just send a completely different product to your customers. On Saturday I sent an e-mail to Bookeen to complain about this switch, but who knows when or if it will ever be answered… Duh.
Update: I’ve just got an e-mail from Bookeen about the cover. Good!