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Old 08-21-2007, 01:52 PM   #1
Kilarney
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Yet another Newbie looking for advice

I'm really interested in purchasing an an e-ink device. A couple of questions:

1) What are the thoughts on whether or not Sony will be coming out with a 2nd generation model in the next few months. Is there any sort of consensus? I've decided that the first-gen model isn't quite what I'm looking for (mostly due to bookmarking, menus, etc.), but I would definitely be interested in a 2nd-gen model. I must admit, though, that the $50 Sony Card promotion is tempting.

2) The other device that really catches my eye is the Booken Cybook. If it comes in at $350, that's pretty competitive to the retail price of the Sony Reader. My main concern is that I want a format that will support the most number of books. Is Mobipocket my best bet for an e-ink device?

Thanks! I've tried to do quite a bit of research, so forgive me if these questions have been answered elsewhere.
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Old 08-21-2007, 01:58 PM   #2
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What is wrong with Sony's bookmarking and menus? They seem to work quite well.

There is no mention anyplace of a 2nd generation Sony Reader coming out at all. So waiting for one is out.

The Cybook is supposed to be out by the end of September. But some people feel it's going to be late due to production issues. It's already almost September and there are no units yet for evaluation. People at NAEB have been waiting and nothing yet.

So unless the Cybook comes out in time, your only eink choices are the PRS-500 or the iLiad.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:14 PM   #3
Kilarney
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As much as I like the iLiad, it's too pricey. At $700, the convenience is not worth the investment.

So which service has more books - Connect or Mobipocket? I'm guessing Mobipocket. Is the Sony Reader able to use other formats that have popular books? (ie: other DRMed formats) It gets back to my wanting a reader that will give me legal access to the most copyrighted material. After all, what's the point of having an e-reader if you can't find the content you want? For example, I really like Paul Theroux, but it seems like nobody carries him.

One other note: My brother regularly travels to China on business. Is there a model I should be looking there?

Last edited by Kilarney; 08-21-2007 at 02:22 PM.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:22 PM   #4
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Right now, there are going to be more titles available in Mobi than BBeB format (well, except that Mobi's server is down at the moment).

Presently, the Sony Reader only handles DRM on their own BBeB books (that is, Sony's format), but they have said they're going to pursue Adobe's Digital Editions format, so that will likely change when it comes about.

One thing to note, there are a whole bunch of books out in .LIT format, and it may be legal for you to remove the DRM from them (which is apparently trivial to effect), at which point they can pretty much become any format you like. Don't know if that option is of interest to you or not.

Out of curiosity, what is it that you don't like about the Sony's book marks? I don't think I've heard of anyone not at least thinking they're okay, and I'd genuinely like to know what it is that bothers you with them.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Kilarney View Post
My main concern is that I want a format that will support the most number of books. Is Mobipocket my best bet for an e-ink device?
I don't think anyone has hard numbers, but MobiPocket probably has more new titles than any other format. It certainly has more than Sony Connect, and you can read MobiPocket books on many more kinds of devices.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advice. I read Cnet's review of the Sony Reader, and focused on the paragraph that said that navigation with the Sony Reader was clunky. I went back and re-read it, and it really isn't as bad as I thought. I do, however, have some issues with its ability to display PDF files.

The biggest problem for me is that I've searched the Connect site, and there just isn't that much out there. Assuming it is legal for me to covert LIT format books, isn't it reasonable to assume that this may not work if Microsoft makes some changes. I'd hate to buy a machine only to have the functionality taken away.

Which gets me back to my Chinese E-Reader question. Any advice on machines available there?

Between Adobe, LIT, Mobipocket, Connect, etc, I really get the feeling that were in a Betamax-VHS type war. I'd hate to pick the wrong format and have a useless machine at some point. My very informal survey seems to suggest that LIT is one of the stronger formats out there. Do any e-ink devices have native support for LIT?

Last edited by Kilarney; 08-21-2007 at 02:40 PM.
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Old 08-21-2007, 02:49 PM   #7
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Hi Folks

Advice needed by a thickie!!!

I have just bought an Sony Reader.

I have downloaded a lot of PDF files. I habe copies the test in a word ducument and then saved them to my sd card in the unit. Can anyone suggesst what font size to use in word to make the type bigger for the reader or can anyone offer any advice on transfering pdf files into the unit.

Thanx


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Old 08-21-2007, 03:03 PM   #8
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Hoo, boy, that's quite a can of worms you got there, Kilarney!

You gotta watch those reviewer reviews, they do the best they can, but because they've only got so much time to sped with each thing reviewed, they don't really give you an idea of what it's like to use a device for any length of time. You'll get a better idea of that sort of thing from a users forum. You still have to allow for individual bias, of course, but at least the experience is more in depth, and of course you can ask questions.

Yeah, Microsoft could drop .LIT altogether. But Amazon could shut down Mobi too (they own it these days), so you basically pick your bet there. But with .LIT (once you convert it out to another format) if it changes, you just can't get any more, you've still got what you already had.

For the Chinese devices, I'd suggest you look at the forums here on them, but I suspect you've already done so. The relative lack of info (such as how to get hold of them) says something too.

The format jumble you're talking about actually has a name: it's called the Tower of e-Babel. It's a result of everyone wanting to make (and control) the standard e-book format. Until one emerges from the fray, we're kind of stuck with a choose your bet situation on that too. I try to stick with formats that are either something 'standard' (such as RTF, HTML, etc.) or can be converted to something 'standard.' That way, whatever happens to the industry, I'm able to follow. But that does require that a body be willing to do some converting, so there's the trade off.

Personally, I'm hopeful that Digital Editions will take the top slot -- PDF almost managed it, and it's utterly unsuited to e-books. That's another can of worms, but the quick version is that PDF is designed specifically to preserve the layout of a document, while e-books inherently require that the layout be flexible to accommodate varying screen sizes -- the conflict between those two is readily apparent.

There are some tools (such as Rasterfarian) that slice-n-dice PDF files into chunks that can be displayed on the Reader, but that's another layer of conversion involved.

I don't know of any e-ink devices that support .LIT -- I believe that Microsoft has blocked .LIT from portable devices, but I could be mistaken about that.
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Old 08-21-2007, 03:07 PM   #9
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Can anyone suggesst what font size to use in word to make the type bigger for the reader or can anyone offer any advice on transfering pdf files into the unit.
Have a look at this, shiney19.

As for xfering PDF files into the Reader, the best advice I can give you is don't. PDF's don't display well on screens smaller than the 'paper size' they're designed for. See my previous post for a quick explanation of why that is. (there are several long drawn out discussions of the matter around the forum too, but you'll have to look for those, I decline to recap them today. )
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:05 PM   #10
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Again, thanks for all of the great advice. You guys are really steering me towards the Sony Reader. It may not have everything that I want, but no model does. And with the $50 (really $60) Sony Card promotion, it's hard to beat.

One last question... how well does the Sony Reader handle converted LIT files?

By the way... I'm amazed that Amazon has dragged their heels. I'm convinced that they could have been a major contender. Every day that goes by is lost market share - and I'm also not convinced that the Kindle is coming any time soon.

Last edited by Kilarney; 08-21-2007 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 08-21-2007, 04:53 PM   #11
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If you convert the .LIT files to RTF or LRF it handles them just like any other RTF or LRF. JSWolf is probably the best one to comment on that, though, he's done a lot of them.

As for the Kindle, yeah, they could have been a big splash, but they're probably spending all this time trying to make it ... not fugly.
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Old 08-21-2007, 09:37 PM   #12
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If you convert the .LIT files to RTF or LRF it handles them just like any other RTF or LRF. JSWolf is probably the best one to comment on that, though, he's done a lot of them.

As for the Kindle, yeah, they could have been a big splash, but they're probably spending all this time trying to make it ... not fugly.
I've purchased the entire Star Trek SCE series of ebooks and have been converting. They convert quite well with Book Designer. And you now have another choice of software to use lit2lrf. That works pretty well. So all in all, I'd say you have choices and they work nicely.
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Old 08-21-2007, 10:37 PM   #13
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One last question... how well does the Sony Reader handle converted LIT files?
Very well; I use exclusively lit2lrf from the command line (libprs package) and it's excellent, fast and reliable; for native lit books it keeps pretty much everything (footnotes, table contents); actually I even take my rtf/html books and make them lit through MsWord's free pluggin and use lit2lrf.
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Old 08-22-2007, 10:36 AM   #14
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I bit the bullet and signed up for the Sony Reader credit card offer. Now the waiting begins...
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Old 08-22-2007, 02:27 PM   #15
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One last question. When Sony says that they will support Adobe Digital Editions - does this mean that the current Sony Reader will get a firmware upgrade to support it, or does it mean that a future reader will support it?

Also, how do people expect Adobe Digital Editions content to look on the Sony Reader? As far as I can tell, it's either a PDF or an XHTML file. Will the PDF file look lousy on the small screen just like any other PDF file?
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