E-book viewers prompted plenty of Register Hardware reader interest during 2009, a year in which market stalwarts Sony and Amazon finally saw some notable rivals, iRiver in particular. In response, perhaps, Amazon started offering the US-centric Kindle to overseas buyers - will ours arrive in time to change the selection here? …
No to the PRS-600
The touch screen interface sounds like a good idea, but the refresh rates are never good enough to support it plus it degrades the text and puts greasy marks on your screen. The functionality is surprisingly deficit, with no auto landscape mode detection, multiple bookmarks or ability to store music in albums. The PC download application is horrid and I found the battery life disappointing, but since mine failed after 4 weeks this may be due to a faulty unit.
either save your money and get a PRS-505 or wait for the new year until someone brings out the killer device.
I upgraded from the PRS-500 (which I imported) shortly after the PRS-600 came out - I think the touch screen interface works very well but i do take your point on it degrading the readability. It's still a very readable screen but noticeably less sharp than the PRS-500/505, but in my opinion the new interface, search, dictionary, and faster refresh offset that.
You can do multiple bookmarks but Sony have broken the functionality vs the PRS-500/505, but I personally don't worry about book marks now that I can use the search to jump back to the nearest chapter or directly to the passage if I can remember enough of it.
Try using the alternative Calibre software instead of the usual Sony crap and avoid the music player (thats what ipods are for) to preserve your battery.
Personally - I'm happy with it, been reading several books a week on it since I bought it and not tired of it yet.
No mention of the still-for-sale Sony 505? I can't think of a reason why ANY of the above are better...
Re: No mention...
Because the 505 was not released in 2009.
Re: Re: No Mention...
Well... It may not have been RELEASED in 2009, but it was available to buy (that's when I received mine - best birthday present ever!) and, like Robert, I'd have to say that it compares well to the more recent models.
If it had had Search and Notes it would have been perfect, but as it stands I'm more than happy. It's amazing to be able to carry a bookcase in your pocket...
The Sony's I can buy (and play with) in a shop like John Lewis just down the road from my home. Even the iRiver web site won't sell me their wares.
2009's Top E-book sellers?
How about a list of 2009's top e-book sellers? Some sort of rating based on how likely you are to find books in these categories:
new and popular
old and classic
old and popular at the time
special interest / reference
independent / unknown
Compare to availability and price for physical book (from amazon, for example).
Why no HTML?
What I don't understand is why if the readers support ePub format (which is just a packaged version of HTML) they don't also support HTML. It would be so easy, and so useful...
Or the Sony Touch at £150, maybe?
The 'street price' of £150 for the Sony Touch makes it a bit more attractive than the list price, anyway, although I'd agree that the PRS-505's still a good buy if you can get one at a decent (sub £200) price now. More on the topic at my site - http://eBookReaderGuide.co.uk - if anyone's interested.
while most of the ebook readers i have seen have claimed to handle pdfs, the hnadling of pdfs has been useless. it would be nice if the reviews put large pdfs on these devices to see how well they display them. get a pdf manual for a rpg game. these are often 50mb+ and are just jpegs stuck inside a pdf. i have yet to see a pdf reader display these useably.
e-book readers . Why ?
why would I want to buy a one-function-device like an e-book reader ? they seem really stupid to me.
give me the software on something more general purpose. (like a smartphone, netbook , pc etc ), and then I might read e-books.
Re: e-book readers . Why ?
You would want one because the screen on ereaders is actually nice to read unlike any LCD screen that a smartphone/netbook/PC etc has. EInk screens unfortunately are rather slow and hence not good for any of those other devices, but absolutely amazing for ebooks. By not requiring any power except when changing pages, you get incredible battery life (again something none of those other devices have).
I would rather have a device that does one thing perfectly than 100 things badly.
Now the only reason they have mp3 support seems to be to support audiobooks, but I consider it a totally stupid feature on an ereader and a serious waste of battery life. Also having to plug in headphones makes it much less convenient to deal with. It is the same thing again. Do one thing perfectly, and don't try to do everything else because it will simply be bad at it.
By your one device that does it well logic, you would have one item for MP3, one for email, one for ebook, one for GPS, one for web browsing, and one for phone calls, and on and on.
I have been reading ebooks on my phone for a couple of years now. Before that it was on my Palm Pilot. The text isn't hard to read, is sufficiently backlit, can be magnified to suit, background and text color can be changed to suit, and it doesn't cost me hundreds of dollars extra for the priveledge of hauling around yet another electronic device. Those days are over friends. Any newer phone does the job quite well. As for lasting a long time on a charge. Super. The technology IS impressive, but I charge my phone every couple of days and it does the job. And when it is all said and done, I get to carry ONE(1) device in my pocket that does it all.
Why buy an expensive, clunky, electro-slate?
I much prefer audio-books on my MP3 player.
That way I can 'read' with my eyes closed.
It's so relaxing on the train, in bed, while driving (hands-free) , or just sitting in a chair. It's meditation while you learn stuff.
I've also increased my 'reading' volume enormously. I often have an analog book on the go plus an audio book. But not both at the same time, of course.
The book may be dying, but these devices ain't pullin the trigger...
I still stand by my prediction that the Kindle won’t catch on, beyond the early adopter levels. It’s too low-tech. However, I do think that in the near future, someone (probably Apple) will no doubt soon release a tablet to beat all tablets (I’ll probably camp out overnight again like I did for my iPhone). The trick with these things, much like The Guardian has recently proved with its iPhone app, is it’s all about the user interface.
For the reproduction of both books and newspapers on electronic devices, the key for designers is to not re-create the same interface that the reader has with paper. That is impossible. Paper feels too good. It’s too tactile, too romantic. Instead the only way to beat paper is to make the interface more fun, more interactive. Readers need to prefer digital to paper. Environmental concerns won’t cut it here.
I blogged about it at (see link below) earlier today. I don't think any of these devices will become at all mainstream, but I do believe that an all singing, all dancing device will replace paper eventually.
It's just got to be more interesting than paper, not try to replicate it.
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