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back to article Sony e-book reader to debut in UK tomorrow

Sony's PRS-505 Reader goes on sale in the UK tomorrow and will "revolutionise reading", the company ebulliently claimed today. "What the Walkman did for music on the move, the Reader is about to do for books," the firm's spokesfolks enthused. Maybe. Sony reckons the 260g gadget based on E Ink screen technology will prove a hit …

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Great toy and sanity saver

Maybe try buying from the states?

I bought my 505 for ~$230 USD, and use it regularly.

The 505 seems to run longer on a charge, as well as responding to page turns faster than the PRS-500 I initially had, and ended up sending to my mother, who got me addicted to books in the first place.

Admittedly, they could have possibly done with a couple less buttons, but the buttons that are there are usefull, other than the afore mentioned music control buttons.

As was also mentioned, the music function kills battery life, so I just don't load any music. If I want to listen to music, I turn on a radio, or carry an iPod.

I've easily read RTF files regularly, as well as the LRF files, since the publisher that I have purchased from now supplies them as well as the other 5-6 formats that they had. (www.baen.com, and www.baen.com/library/)

All in all, the icon says it for me. If you're an avid reader, and can live without the complete tactile sensation of paper under your fingers, this makes an excellent addition and a way to cary far more books in your pocket than would normally be possible!

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Not god enough.

No backlight is a killer for me.

The main reason I got into reading e-books in the first is the ability to read in bed without disturbing my partner.

Guess I will have to stick with my PDA for the time being.

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Clear that many "don't get it".

the comments about buying a PDA or Palm Pilot for less to do the same thing.

This uses "E ink", it does not need a backlight, has very paper-like contrast with no flicker. It's extremely easy on the eyes (like paper), unlike all regular TFT screens because it needs to backlight it also has massive battery life (no charger to take on holiday, unless you fancy reading 24x7 for 4 weeks).

I would get one of these, but the market is still immature, the Sony vastly better hardware, the Amazon unit having the better book selection.

Until they both allow books from either store, and prices come down, due to lack of book sharing, these won' take off.

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Don't buy one then

Since childhood I have loved books, but they went out the window when I got my Palm.

Now going into my ancient years (37) I am going blind trying to keep up with the flicker and size of a PDA and I for one cannot wait to get hold of this one.

As for the comment about the refresh being 'half a second' and this being some how bad? Exactly how do you turn the pages of a book?

If you want a PDA or Mini Laptop then get one, but if you are a book fiend that is tired of lugging around anologue tomes then this is a nice addition to your library and about time too!

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About time

About bloomin' time - I bought an earlier Sony model off eBay last year - great technology and really useful - IF you can get the eBooks - so far onlty available if you have a credit card with a US billing address. That will no change (won't it?)

I am looking forward to being able to finally use mine. It is very easy to read and yes it copes with pdf files.

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Not a revolution

The media and Sony fan boys would have you believe this is revolutionary and about to replace books. Hardly.

It's nothing new, just it's got Sony's name on it and people go "Oooo!".

Standard limitations with ebook devices...

Small screen makes it difficult for those with poor eye sight. Yes you can increase the text size, but that means lots of scrolling around.

Small screen means it's useless if you want to replace those big reference manuals. I mean, can you imagine a Haynes on a device like this? Would you be happy having your ebook reader sat on top of the car engine whilst you read, and get oil all over it?

No colour - again with the reference manual issue in the case of those that need colour diagrams. The media has been spouting on about how students can replace their text books, but they often have these kinds of books which are not suited to a small screen greyscale ebook reader.

Annotation - yet again reference / text books. Students often like to scribble in the book to make notes. Can you do that with these? Ideally you need a stylus at least.

Cost. Needs to be cheap. Very cheap. £50 or less I'd say, else it's never going to even remotely stand a chance of replacing books.

Cost again ... attracts thieves. Imaging little Jonny walking home from school getting beat up for it. Hardly going to happen with a £5 book.

The media have also been banging on about environmental impact of books but fail to mention how Sony's factories will likely be located in China, use a lot of oil based plastics in construction, pump out a lot of pollution, and then the products will be shipped by air around the world. Compared to books which are often printed within the country of sale and paper sourced locally and these days from sustainable forests, the plantation of which encourages wildlife and often provide green spaces for recreation.

Lock-in. Whilst we can shove on "free" text files and pdfs (the latter I assume has more advanced content stripped out for simple display), Sony likely will be trying to push online stores like iTunes but for books, with DRM and copy controls, and high prices.

The "Airport novel" factor. You go to an airport and pick up a cheap trashy novel you can flick through and stuff in a bag without concern about damage. Are you going to have your fancy ebook reader with you to do the same and just want a book to read? Likely you'll have forgotten it anyway and then how are you going to download a book when you've run out of books to read? It's also another gadget in the travel bag to add to the laptop, PDA, DVD player, mobile, camera. Plus adapters, chargers, etc.

I'm sure it's fine for what it does, but people are making out it's the end of books. Hardly.

Besides. Books smell nice, and look good in book cases too :-)

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Price of ebooks! A rip

Have you seen the prices of some of the ebooks on Waterstones? OMFG no chance. There are of course some utter crap ones for a couple of quid a pop. Sort that pricing out I'll buy one.

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@TimM and others

...It is the media and various journalists encouraging the over reaction that are touting this as a 100% book replacement. Neither Sony or any of the other ebook producers have said "this will replace books". Did anyone see the extremely jaundiced piece on BBC's 'One Show' last night? They picked THE most anti technology, fire and brim stone book lover they could find and pitched the whole thing toward encouraging her automatic knee jerk reactions. It was touted as a "can we convert someone" article when in actual fact it was nothing like that and done in such a way to completely stoke up her reactions. The fact that she said "just to use this I had to plug it all in and had about five cables hanging out of it", was a complete lie, because even if she had it on charge and plugged into a PC she would have had two cables.

Tim your comments show a great deal of ignorance about the devices and how they work, and indeed their future application. Your comments show as well that you also have the same petty nay sayer attitude that this woman did, and that you believe everything you read in the press and hear spouted on the street.

“Yes you can increase the text size, but that means lots of scrolling around”, you ignorant man. The better devices adjust the page widths making them longer. Yes it means you have to scroll down, of course, but if you have ever tried reading a whole novel with a magnifying glass you will know this isn’t even a consideration. My nan had to give up reading books, her first love, because her hands were too weak to hold a book AND a magnifying glass. This has put reading back into her hands after a two year absence and she won’t be parted from her ebook reader (not a Sony one either).

As for DRM, for christs sake, I don’t condone it, but anyone who thinks that a company will NOT do their best to protect the content you buy from them is very naive. Very. Get over it, don’t buy the technology, or wait until the market matures, DRM is broken, or simply becomes a non-issue as the ebook sellers remove restrictions. People screamed the houses down when they discovered their Apple AAC tracks were locked but they either accepted it or found quick and easy ways around it.

This is a relatively new technology, or application of technology, and things have to mature. DVD players for the first two years were £500+ and films £25 (and yes those are hard facts before anyone says), but despite all the VHS nutters saying it would never take off because of costs, it has and is now one of the most ubiquitous items in homes. The ebook market is in its absolute infancy and the prices of devices and books reflect that. No-one is making people buy these right now. No-one is saying “we are going to close your library in two years”, as one idiot said last night in another news article, and no-one is saying you have to buy these devices as people seem to irrationally be thinking. The only people encouraging those views are the media.

If you can't afford to buy better technology to let you converge those various devices in your travel bag into far fewer, sod off and save up rather than slagging a piece of technology without any prior insight. As you and many others are doing.

But hey, it's Sony isn't it and you've proved in the past haven’t you with your mis-informed comments you have tourettes when it comes to them.

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My opinion..

is I want to see this in action. It's the same with HD, and with the iPhone/multitouch. A review can't really tell you the whole experience, you need to see and touch it to really understand if it is good for you. Most of us can't conceptualize a digital display that looks exactly like paper - because we've never seen it. We may have an idea what it would be like, but we don't know.

I haven't had any hands on time with any e-ink device, but I did see a sony reader at one point in a store at an airport.. and I honestly thought the device was a mockup until someone turned the page. The display is really good - all that aside I still need some time with it to decide if I want one.

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Great hardware - oh my god who designed the DRM???

Only works with Windows - bad. But the people at Waterstones should be shot for their DRM policy.

You are allowed to download a title ONCE. After that the DRM kicks in to say the title has already been downloaded and you can't have it again. No matter if the download is corrupt or if your newly DRMed book refuses to open on the Reader. You can't have another copy.

And when you have your book, it's folded into the horrific Adobe Digital Edition plugin for Flash so you can't back it up in the event of a hard disk crash or a move to a new machine.

This is simply not acceptable. I've never used a download service with so many restrictions.

But I have to repeat, the Reader itself is a stunning piece of technology.

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no-drm UK website

Some here might be interested to know that Pan Macmillan are experimenting with selling their ebooks without any DRM whatsoever through their website at www.panmacmillan.com. Even though I'll have to make a disclaimer - I'm one of their authors - I'll have to say I nonetheless think this is a bold and positive move in favour of the consumer. According to someone I spoke to at Pan, 'All the titles currently on the Pan Macmillan site are DRM free'. Straight from the horse's mouth.

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What Sony do not tell you

What Sony do not tell you until you have bought the new E Book Reader is the limitations on the type of PC you will be able to use it on. It is not supported under Vista 64 bit versions but there is more! I quote from the installation manual The software is not supported if:- Yours is a personanlly built computer, Upgraded manufacturer-installed operating system, multi boot environment or a multi monitor environment. I can perhaps understand the multi boot and monitor but why do Sony discriminate against a home built or manufacturer modified computer?

You do not find out there is a problem until you try to install the Readers operating system software and then after a long wait you get a message saying installation failed - terminated by Sony Calls to the support helpline give no luck it is left to the user to try to plough through the web, manuals etc to try to find the solution. At present I have now installed to a laptop running XP SP 2 but my highly modified desktop running Vista Premium 64 bit is a non runner. Coments Sony??

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