Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Why I Love "My" SONY Reader PRS-505

Now that my mystery-author wife Jaqueline Girdner is being re-issued in E-Reads e-books, we had to find out about the wonderful world of e-reading devices. I ordered the $300 silver PRS-505 Reader from with free engraving of both of our initials, along with the optional "hot pink" sturdy leather cover for $40, with some premonition of things to come. She said, "Honey, you can order this techie toy for yourself," but as soon as we unpacked it and Wuthering Heights appeared, she swiped it and won't let me have it back! Nice marketing move, SONY.


A well-designed appliance becomes invisible doing its dedicated function. "The key feature of a book is that it disappears," says Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. I don't think he meant that my SONY Reader was going to disappear into my significant author's clutches. For long-form (aka long-haul) reading, this SONY ebook Reader appliance offers superb readability, large storage, and long battery life. She is getting our money's worth in easy-on-the-eyes usage and free ebooks.


The screen is 6 inches on the diagonal like a mass-market paperback. The unit with its pink cover weighs almost as much as a trade paperback, for easy holding and distance from the eyes during long-term reading. My word-hungry honey turns the pages with one hand while eating breakfast with her other hand. She finds the black letters on the slightly off-white screen to be a perfect contrast, strong yet not as intense as with some blindingly-white paper pages. She likes it that the screen has no flicker as from a computer screen and has no active backlighting that could create long-term eyestrain. She likes it that the lines on the non-glare screen don't curve like they do on a book, and that the pages don't bunch up while reading in bed as with a large book. My speed-reading demon says that page turning with an ebook falls into a natural rhythm that takes about the same amount of time as with a paper book. The display offers 6 font sizes (really small to really big print), and she adjusts them during the day for a personalized "right-sizing" of text.


My book-bearing weight lifter is pleased that the Reader weighs the same no matter how many ebooks are inside it. Our floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are overflowing, so this Reader device is saving us from (reluctantly) having to release any of our collections to accommodate new ones. The ebooks that go on the Reader are managed in a "library" on the host PC. An ebook can be downloaded from the web, read, and its content searched on the host PC. This makes the host PC the appliance for web searching and file managing. Ebooks can be purchased from the SONY CONNECT website. Free ebooks can easily be loaded into the library and onto the device. (In my next posting, I will describe how I find and convert free ebooks to the Reader to feed her favorite hobby.) The Reader works well for travel too. Not that I got to use it, mind you. While I was on the road, my voracious reader stayed home with it by herself and only ran down the battery after 8 days.


I used to print out all of Jaki's emails and lengthy articles of interest for her. Now she allows me to "borrow" the Reader for long enough to load her email, web articles, and more ebooks, which is long enough to charge its battery at the same time via the USB cable. We had switched from the computer screen to paper printout to read the lengthy articles more comfortably off-screen and off-desk. Now we can comfortably skip the desk and the paper with this display.

This brings us to why I love "my" SONY Reader: because it makes my wife happy!


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