Feb 15 2009
So, I was the lucky recipient of a shiny new Sony PRS-505, in a very lovely shade of red. I’ve never owned an ebook reader, and in fact my experience in reading ebooks has been fairly recent and rather limited. I have tried both reading on the computer (which is convenient sometimes, but obviously not at others) and printing out ebooks (paper-wasting and cumbersome, but at least I can read them in bed).
I was a little intimidated by the Sony PRS-505 at first, I will have to admit. I think of myself as sort of in the middle, technology-wise – not a Luddite but not a tech geek. I can usually figure out how to do what I need to, but there is a lot I don’t know. I was unsure about all of the various formats that ebooks apparently come in, and what would be needed to convert files for uploading to the reader. Jane was very good about giving clear instructions, and the only slight problem I had at the start was caused by my not reading her instructions carefully enough.
But within a few days of receiving my beautiful Sony PRS-505, I had 27 books loaded onto it. Now, 27 books might not sound like a lot to those of you who have many more loaded onto your ebook readers. But I’m starting out small. As it is, to me, it is an embarrassment of riches. I mean, think about 27 books – how much space they take up. I have all of them on something that is just the right size (small but not so small that it is in danger of slipping out of my hands or getting easily lost), sleek and lightweight. I can take it everywhere with me (except in the bath; that’s a bit of a bummer). It fits in my purse. I can carry 27 books around in my purse! It’s so exciting!
In terms of the user interface, the Sony PRS-505 is quite simple – really pretty intuitive. I don’t mind reading on the screen; the only issue I’ve had so far is with weird line breaks and page breaks, but that seems to occur only when I change the font to a larger size. There may be a fix for that, but for now I’ve just switched back to medium font (which is sufficient and really better for me because even without the formatting issues, the larger font required turning the pages rather more often than I really want to have to).
I don’t have much to compare the e-ink technology to since I haven’t used other ebook readers, but I will say that the type is quite clear and crisp and that reading on the screen doesn’t seem to cause any undue eyestrain.
I do think there is a slight psychic adjustment that is inevitable with the switch to ebooks, but it really hasn’t been too bad. It’s a little less obvious where I’m at in a story (I mean, I can subtract the page number I’m on from the number of pages, but it’s not so instantaneous as just measuring how much of the book is left). It’s a little harder to go back and find a passage if you want to – you can’t flip through looking for something. Instead you have to guess a page number and enter it in and then scroll backwards or forwards to try to find what you’re looking for. On the plus side, I think in this format I’ll be less likely to peek ahead. Peeking is only an occasional problem for me (I used to do it much more), but I really find that it can affect my enjoyment of a book, so anything that discourages the habit is a step in the right direction.
By the way, I wholeheartedly agree with Jan that the "roadmap" format of the instructions was annoying. Maps strike fear in my heart, and it was just plain irritating to have to keep spreading it out and refolding it differently to get to the step I was on. Luckily, there aren’t actually that many steps involved in setting the PRS-505 up.
I ended up installing both the Sony elibrary software and the Calibre program. I installed the former because I could not figure out how to remove the DRM from the books I already had in Adobe Digital Editions. I think in the future I’ll stick to using the Calibre program, since it does appear to have greater functionality.
One thing I’ve been impressed with is how long the reader holds a charge. Compared to cell phones, my other major point of reference, the Sony PRS-505 holds a charge forever (especially compared to my recently purchased iPhone, but part of the blame there goes to me for playing with the damn thing so much!). I appreciate the long charge because it’s just one less thing to worry about. I’ve been taking the ebook reader with me wherever I go, and it’s nice to know I don’t have to worry constantly about a low battery.
I can’t emphasize how exciting it is to have so many books at my fingertips. I have not been much of a book saver for the past five years or so, but I still have about four boxes of keepers from previous years, which have been culled down a few times (sometimes to my regret!). I’d like to get the collection even smaller; since I rarely reread, I am mostly holding onto these "just in case". So I’m going to look into buying ebook versions of some, and perhaps undertake the task of scanning some. I will probably have to buy more memory cards at some point, but it’ll be worth it. Getting rid of clutter excites me almost as much as reading does!
I wasn’t sure how I would take to ebook reading, but I have discovered that the Sony PRS-505 is easy to use, very attractively designed and a great boon to me as a booklover. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.