I’d asked for a Kindle as a Xmas present, judging that would be the cheapest to get. So, I was very surprised to get a Sony Pocket eReader (350 model in pink!) instead.
Have become a convert very quickly, as it’s great for carrying around in my bag, reading on the bus, or in cafés, and for taking on weekends away.
The plan is to use it to read lots of the freely available, out of copyright, classics I’ve never read. Loaded it up with titles from authors such as Dickens, H.P. Lovecraft, M.R. James, Edgar Allan Poe, E.M. Forster, Oscar Wilder, Rudyard Kipling, Arthur Machen, Conan-Doyle, Bram Stoker, Jules Vern, and Mark Twain. Plus some Cory Doctorow titles and some short stories by friends. Also found it good for reading drafts of novels/scripts that I’ve been sent to critique by friends.
Features I like:
- Really nice size (a little smaller than the Kindle), which means I can hold it with one hand, while drinking a cuppa, and it doesn’t put any strain on my wrist.
- The page turning buttons on the bottom can easily be pressed while still holding it in one hand, so no need to put my cuppa down. It also allow you to turn the pages via the touch screen but that’s a little more fiddly.
- Touch screen is really easy to use.
- Has a stylus for use in the trickier screens, like the touch screen keyboard.
- Can type text memos.
- Can handwrite notes on the books pages and highlight text (and delete).
- Can add bookmarks (and delete).
- Can draw pictures on it!
- Double clicking on a word will bring up the OED definition.
- Remembers what page you got to on any book/document you go into, so you can have several titles on the go at once.
- Can read PDFs and if they are text only will also re-size/word wrap in the same way it does for the native ePub format – though you do get the odd formatting issue with PDFs.
- Being able to sort books into self-titled collections.
- and I haven’t even used all the functions yet!
Not so good stuff…
- That you have to hook it up to your computer to add/delete books and recharge it. (No wifi).
- The software provided for your computer (Reader Library), has a tendency to crash. Though it’s fairly easy just to move stuff across to the reader as if it’s an external drive anyway without software.
- You can’t do anything with the drawings you’ve made because they’re SVG (scalable vector graphics) & I haven’t been able to figure out how to convert them into jpgs.
- Not really usable for comics. We’ve put a copy of an issue of one of our small press comics on in PDF and the pictures show up pretty well in b/w or greyscale (as the screen isn’t colour) but obviously they’re too small to read and it can’t resize them. Can zoom but really fiddly, so any comics would have to be done as a panel at a time, as they’re are for other small screen devices.
I still love printed books, but this is certainly much, much easier to use on the move.
I did a training session on eBooks and eReaders for some of our library staff yesterday, and they found it really useful to see the difference between our online library subscribed ebooks, and the type of ebooks you would download on to an eReader.