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Old 06-22-2008, 05:38 PM   #1
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PRS-505 with large number of books?

I currently read ebooks using TealDoc on a Palm T3. I have a large (3000+) collection of ebooks in text and PDB format (easily convertible to text). I'm considering an e-ink ebook reader, and the Sonhy PRS-505 seems to be a good default choice. I have no interesting in wireless access, PDF support or DRM'd books.

My main concern is how well the interface would support a very large collection of books. With the Palm, I can just organise everything by directory as Genre/Author/Series/Book and this works great. What options do I have with the Sony?
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:42 PM   #2
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You can set up collections (pretty much a grouping of a series) as well as group by author. I wouldn't suggest trying to load 3000 books onto the Sony, you probably should keep it smaller & load what you need at one time. I've used my prs500 with no problems, and I pretty much keep the book count below 100.

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Old 06-22-2008, 05:44 PM   #3
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Last time I counted, I had about 86 eBooks on my 505.
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:44 PM   #4
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You can set up collections (pretty much a grouping of a series) as well as group by author. I wouldn't suggest trying to load 3000 books onto the Sony, you probably should keep it smaller & load what you need at one time. I've used my prs500 with no problems, and I pretty much keep the book count below 100.
Hmm, what I'm looking for is something that will let me carry my entire library around, so I can always read whatever I feel like.
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:47 PM   #5
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Hmm, what I'm looking for is something that will let me carry my entire library around, so I can always read whatever I feel like.
You "can" do it. But speed of the Sony is slower with that many books. Plus the organization is tough.

With the Kindle of course you have the online media library... so you can have thousands of books available via wispernet without them being on the book. That said, you can use search to find a book on the Kindle even though you can organize your ebook library.

I am hopping Kindle adds the ability to let you put your own books in the media library in addition to books you have purchased from Amazon.

BOb
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Old 06-22-2008, 05:48 PM   #6
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There is no device with a good enough interface to easily handle 3000 eBooks at one go except maybe the iliad (not sure on this one). The 505 has collections, but still, 3000 eBooks will be too much of a hassle still. Why would you need 3000 eBooks at one go? Will you be away from a computer for that long that you'll read most of them before you have access to a computer?
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Old 06-22-2008, 06:03 PM   #7
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Another option is dividing your books into categories onto memory stick or SD cards, and just load that card when you want to read a book on it. I find that after about 400-450 books my Sony starts slowing down quite a bit, especially if I use a card. Right now all books are on internal memory and it's a little zippier.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:18 AM   #8
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There is no device with a good enough interface to easily handle 3000 eBooks at one go except maybe the iliad (not sure on this one). The 505 has collections, but still, 3000 eBooks will be too much of a hassle still. Why would you need 3000 eBooks at one go? Will you be away from a computer for that long that you'll read most of them before you have access to a computer?
It is the same reason I've got a 160Gb iPod Classic, rather than a 16Gb iPod Touch, I want to be able to have enough stuff available right away that I'm never going to think that I really want to read a particular book, but find I don't have it with me. With the iPod it is easier, as I can set up smart playlists to automatically feed me the next X hours of whatever audiobooks I am listening to without taking any action, with the eBook readers it sounds like I'd have to do all of that manually.
I've got the functionality right now, I don't want to have to give it up with a new device.
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Old 06-23-2008, 09:21 AM   #9
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I understand where you are coming from Murray. I used to read all of my ebooks on Palm devices, from the VX up to the Tungsten E and then I switched over to my Sony 505. I haven't looked back. I, like you, would rather have separate devices with larger capacity and better functionality, than combine them all into one device that doesn't do anything well or have room for much. I don't use the MP3 player on my 505 for the same reason I wouldn't try reading a book on my iPod. It isn't what the functionality for which the device is specialized. I currently have over 1500 books on one 2GB SD card and have about half of the space left on it. I also use an iPod Classic for the same reason. I never know what I will want to read or listen to and like having the option to switch around.

I had the same issue when I moved over. It just takes some getting used to. The Sony seemed to have the functionality that I wanted along with a bearable price tag. The big downside to making this switch is that the Sony doesn't use a folder system like TealDoc. For this, I recommend using Kovid's Calibre software. It will keep them organized for you using the collections feature. the only thing is if you have many series in an overall universe such as Star Wars or Star Trek, you may have to label the series as such. I don't mean to just lump them all into one big Star Wars folder or what ever but label each collection with an abbreviation to let you know where it sits. I use SW-Legacy of the Force for one Star Wars series or LKH-AB to separate the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series from the Meredith Gentry (LKH-MG) books by the same author. Not too big of a pain, just takes some getting used to.

I love my Sony and I am so glad I went for it. I hope this helps some.
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Old 06-23-2008, 11:54 AM   #10
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I understand where you are coming from Murray. I used to read all of my ebooks on Palm devices, from the VX up to the Tungsten E and then I switched over to my Sony 505. I haven't looked back. I, like you, would rather have separate devices with larger capacity and better functionality, than combine them all into one device that doesn't do anything well or have room for much. I don't use the MP3 player on my 505 for the same reason I wouldn't try reading a book on my iPod. It isn't what the functionality for which the device is specialized. I currently have over 1500 books on one 2GB SD card and have about half of the space left on it. I also use an iPod Classic for the same reason. I never know what I will want to read or listen to and like having the option to switch around.
A fellow horder
What impact does having such a large collection of books have? I understand the reader reindexes the card when files change? Does the calibre processing avoid this?
Is it still easy/quick to navigate through the title/author/collection lists with this many books?

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I had the same issue when I moved over. It just takes some getting used to. The Sony seemed to have the functionality that I wanted along with a bearable price tag. The big downside to making this switch is that the Sony doesn't use a folder system like TealDoc. For this, I recommend using Kovid's Calibre software. It will keep them organized for you using the collections feature. the only thing is if you have many series in an overall universe such as Star Wars or Star Trek, you may have to label the series as such. I don't mean to just lump them all into one big Star Wars folder or what ever but label each collection with an abbreviation to let you know where it sits. I use SW-Legacy of the Force for one Star Wars series or LKH-AB to separate the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series from the Meredith Gentry (LKH-MG) books by the same author. Not too big of a pain, just takes some getting used to.
This sounds like a reasonable compromise. It looks like I could use the calibre command line tools together with txt2pdbdoc to do at least semi automatication of PDB -> TXT -> LRF. I currently organise by genre/author/series/book, it looks like the best compromise is to combine the genre and series together to form the collection.
In many ways it is deja-vu all over again, as this is the sort of thing you have to do when storing ebooks on the internal memory of a Palm device, which don't support any sort of folder structure.

To switch to another topic: fonts. What are my options here? By nature I am an Arial/Tahoma sort of person, rather than a Times Roman one, and I'm perfectly happy at small font sizes. I use Tahoma 11 with half-sized fonts so ~5.5 points, on the Palm.

I understand I can embed a specific font into an LRF file, but that this will slow down page turning, so I'd rather avoid that. There is nothing under Font at all in the manual index. Can I change the default font family and size that are used for documents that don't specify them, and what range is available?

Thanks for the replies, they are really useful.

Last edited by murraypaul; 06-23-2008 at 12:03 PM.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:24 PM   #11
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The default fonts on the Sony are Dutch (Times), Swiss (Ariel), and Courier. If you want a font other than these you need to embed that font (or at least the glyphs used.) Since you indicated that you would be happy with the Ariel (or at least could live with Ariel) then there is no need to embed that font. What you need to do is to ensure that the conversion program -- either calibre or BookDesigner -- uses that font as the body text. (I favor a serif font for the body text and format all of my books that way.)

Once a font is set for a book at the time the file was created it cannot be changed. The base font size (i.e.: 11 point) is also set then. In LRF, DOC, and RTF files there are three (3) size options -- S, M, and L -- that the user may select while reading. The base font size is the "S" option. There are no meaningful size selections for PDF files. What you see is what you get.

As for keeping a large number of books available for reading, the Sony's indexing scheme is not the best. All titles available on a device are listed in one flat list. The situation is a bit better for collections. I felt that it was not enough better so I don't use it.

A better solution (IMHO) is as Bob mentioned above, to divide the collection and put pieces on SD cards or Memory Sticks. Since you can put a lot of books on a single card or stick, a lot of people use low capacity (read: cheap or inexpensive) cards and carry a bunch of them around. This way if the muse asks for SciFi they pluck out the SciFi card, plug it into the Reader, and select a book.

The Sony Reader (both models) will prepaginate the ebooks. When the file is loaded by the Sony eLibrary this is done on the PC using the processing power of the PC. When the file is loaded by calibre or directly to a Memory Stick or SD card outside the eLibrary software this is done by the somewhat slower processor inside the Reader. Depending upon how many files are involved this may take quite a while.

A note from the Sony folks imparted to Bob Russell and NatCh and passed on from their meetings: Insert and remove the SD cards and Memory Sticks while the unit is on. (Yes, I know this sounds counter to normal practice.) They say it is the best way for the unit to maintain integrity.

I hope all this helps.
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Old 06-23-2008, 12:38 PM   #12
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The default fonts on the Sony are Dutch (Times), Swiss (Ariel), and Courier. If you want a font other than these you need to embed that font (or at least the glyphs used.) Since you indicated that you would be happy with the Ariel (or at least could live with Ariel) then there is no need to embed that font. What you need to do is to ensure that the conversion program -- either calibre or BookDesigner -- uses that font as the body text. (I favor a serif font for the body text and format all of my books that way.)
Ok, that sounds fine.

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Once a font is set for a book at the time the file was created it cannot be changed. The base font size (i.e.: 11 point) is also set then. In LRF, DOC, and RTF files there are three (3) size options -- S, M, and L -- that the user may select while reading. The base font size is the "S" option. There are no meaningful size selections for PDF files. What you see is what you get.
So on the device you can only zoom in, not out?
It would seem sensible then to set a pretty small point size when creating the file. What sizes are available, or as I assume TrueType fonts are used, is there no restriction other than readability?

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As for keeping a large number of books available for reading, the Sony's indexing scheme is not the best. All titles available on a device are listed in one flat list. The situation is a bit better for collections. I felt that it was not enough better so I don't use it.
I guess really I'm not going to be sure one way or the other whether I'll be able to get on with this until I try it out.

Quote:
The Sony Reader (both models) will prepaginate the ebooks. When the file is loaded by the Sony eLibrary this is done on the PC using the processing power of the PC. When the file is loaded by calibre or directly to a Memory Stick or SD card outside the eLibrary software this is done by the somewhat slower processor inside the Reader. Depending upon how many files are involved this may take quite a while.
So would it make sense to create the files with calibre, but then use the Sony software to add them to the device? Or is it a case of one or the other?
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:13 PM   #13
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I use a base of 12 point serif when I create books and will increase it if I need to read in low light areas. I have seen books created with an 8 point base and for me they are not readable except on the "L" setting. As the creator of the file you are free to set whatever font size you want. For many of the Sony store books it seems that readability was not a concern when they were formatted. It is best to try it out yourself as your mileage will vary.

Likewise, creation with calibre and transfer with either calibre of eLibrary. Whichever work flow works best for you. I have found that both work well for me.

Since you are considering the Sony PRS-505 you will not require the Sony USB driver that is required for the PRS-500. There is another USB driver in calibre that you can load but the calibre USB driver cannot be on the same machine as the Sony USB driver. I have two machines so I have one on each to avoid the possible problems.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:33 PM   #14
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Rwood--Thanks for the detailed explanations! It has really helped me understand how the Sony works with embedded fonts. Something I've been a little confused with for awhile.

Murraypaul--I use Calibre or BookDesigner to create my files and then use the Sony software to transfer them to my reader. This works for me, although it does an an extra step to getting the files on my reader.

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Old 07-02-2008, 07:43 AM   #15
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What I do if I have a series on my 505 is to put the series in a collection and then I can sort that series in reading order inside that collection.
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