sony reader

300px-Reader.jpgi am totally digging my newest techno gadget: the sony reader. it’s an e-book reader. i picked one up because i wanted to see if sony’s promises about a huge leap forward in e-book technology was true at all. e-books have held a small slice of the book buying market for a few years, but the readers have had all kinds of limitations that have all been loosely categorized under the heading: the reading experience is just too different than a paper book.

no longer.

they call the screen ‘e-paper’. it’s a bit gimmicky, i suppose. but the technology actually is different than other screens — so i guess they have the right to call it what they want. and — here’s the big deal — it actually does look like paper. i’m about 275 pages into “the secret life of houdini” right now, and i have, multiple times, forgotten i wasn’t reading an actual paper book, and have reached up to turn the page. there are quite a few extra nifties, of course, like: between the resident memory and the memory stick i have in it, i can hold something like 700 or 800 full length books. i can bookmark as many pages as i want (it’s like folding a page down – you can’t actually highlight text or enter text in any way). i can zoom in if the text is too small for the lighting available to me (the screen isn’t backlit). it also holds photos (it’s a black-and-white screen, but with impressive resolution), and audio files (there’s a headphone jack, but no speakers). the reader costs about $350, but the books are about 35% of retail. oh, and the reader comes with some software for your computer — called ‘sony connect’ — that’s very much like iTunes for books. it’s an online store for downloadable books, and also an organizer.

it’s perfect for reading on a plane, or for a longer trip when i would normally pack three or four books. everything’s not available in this format — but i expect to keep enough books downloaded to it that i always have a few back-up books with me.

7 thoughts on “sony reader”

  1. That’s pretty cool. I’ve always wondered when they would come up with something like that. Without sounding like a white and nerdy youthworker, how utterly convenient would it be to have your Bible, along with commentaries and resources, right there in one little “book”. If only I had $350 laying around!

  2. If only it wasn’t Sony…Otherwise, it sounds great. And while $350 might seem like a lot, it is on par with all the people who rushed out to by an iPod Video so they can watch movies all the time. And for people who read as much as you seem to, books might be the better investment.

  3. I just thought of a much needed addition/plugin/feature for your reader. What if you could download your Blog Reading to it (text only) and mark the ones you want to comment on. When you get back to the office, you sync, type in your comments on the ones you wanted to comment on, and download your new reading. I have several posts I have been meaning to read, just havn’t gotten around to yet.

  4. Marko,

    What kind of DRM does this system use? If I purchase an ebook can I loan it to a friend? Can I resell it? If I buy a different ebook reader at some later point in time, can I transfer all the books I have purchased from one to another? Or will I need to repurchase all my books again?

    The last time I played with these, I searched for someway to download books from Project Gutenberg but the system was defective by design – meaning it had been intentionally crippled so that I could not load ebooks I did not pay the manufacture for.

    Does this gadget get things right?

  5. nate — i can’t authoritatively answer your good questions. my neophite’s understanding is: like iTunes, you can save a book up to five times (or something like that). but, really, the DRM is connected to the purchasing site, not the reader.

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