Monday, November 05, 2007

Sony Reader PRS-505: Stephen Fry's blog

I'm thoroughly enjoying my latest toy, the new Sony Reader PRS-505. It's been a very enjoyable experience, and I've already read three books on it. Surprisingly, the short "flash" between page-flips has not been any distraction at all, and I'm finding that I actually engage MORE with the Reader's text than I do with a regular paper book. Once I get comfortable, I never need to move, save for a thumb-blip on the page turn button every few seconds.

The beautiful electronic-ink screen is truly marvellous, and because there is no back-light there's no eye strain at all. When I'm tired at the end of the day, I sometimes boost the font-size up to "Large", so every book can be a big print book. It's a shame that the older generation who would most benefit from such a feature, are the least likely to be interested in such a device, but every "more mature" person I've shown it to really likes it. You'll still need a book-light if you want to read in the dark, but that's not something I do anyway.

It's a great device, solid of construction, but nice and light. It will be perfect for my trip back to the UK in November, and my carry-on luggage will be considerably lighter than it would be normally. I won't need to carry three or four bulging books with me, instead I'll have the three new e-books I bought from the Sony Connect store (Stephen Fry's "Revenge", Alan Alda's memoirs and Ewan McGregor's "Long Way Round"), plus a dozen of the "100 free classics", Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin etc. In addition, there's also 2000+ public domain books available on MobileRead.com, where I picked up some of the less well known Jules Verne stories.

I also converted Stephen Fry's blog posts for the Reader by copying and pasting the contents to a Word Doc and then dragging them across to the Reader via USB. Stephen Fry's "blessays" are the longest and most entertaining blog posts on the web, and with a little jiggery-pokery they became almost like book chapters on the Reader. Very worthwhile train reading. The good folks at MobileRead.com have lots of other tools that can be used to convert or make content for the Reader.

Below you'll find a quick slideshow of my Reader in action, as well as the home-brew "softcase" I made from a $0.50 clearance item at Staples.
There's no doubt that this technology is still in its infancy, but over the next few years these screens will get bigger and more usable for student text-books. Right now they are a perfect replacement for reading novels on the go, and considerably lighter! I won't be carrying any more hefty hardbacks around in my backpack if I can avoid it.

The Reader is available for purchase at SonyStyle.com, Borders and Best Buy stores, and online in various places. Purchasing from Amazon.com will help me with the up-keep of this site, and some other projects I'm working on.

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