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Old 02-20-2009, 09:17 AM   #1
mdbenoit
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Thinking of buying a Sony Reader

Hi all,

I'm thinking of asking for a Sony Reader for my birthday (Kindle is not available in Canada) but the more I'm reading on it the more I'm confused. Some rave about it, but places like Wikipedia state "The Sony Reader PRS-500/505 screen has a very low refresh rate. This prevented Sony from implementing sophisticated interactive menu-driven software and scrolling on zoomed pages. This makes it impossible to scroll around a zoomed 8.5 x 11 inch document[3]. This means that the devices are not suited for viewing most PDF documents that are in 8.5X11 inch format. The PRS-700 has an improved screen controller which allows faster menus, paging and zoom. Unfortunately users have reported a significant glare in PRS-700 model, mostly likely due to the special coating that was added to accommodate the touch screen."

It also says that the Reader doesn't support Vista (I have Windows XP but my system is old and I'll soon change it) which could be a problem.

Should I wait? Is the above true?

It's a large outlay of money so I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing. Any help you can provide I'd appreciate. Thanks in advance!

M. D. Benoit
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:21 AM   #2
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Hello, mdbenoit, and welcome to MobileRead.

Have you looked at our Wiki on the 505?

http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/PRS505

Until someone else here who has a Sony jumps in with an answer, (and that won't be long) you might find some interesting info there, including downloadable manual.

Enjoy the forums.
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Old 02-20-2009, 09:27 AM   #3
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The Reader software is compatible with Vista (it's not compatible with Macs). Some people have problems loading it. If you want to give it a shot before you buy, you can hop over to http://ebookstore.sony.com and download it (you don't need the device to download the software).

The 505 page turning is kind of slow, in comparison to newer models out there, but honestly you adjust to it extremely quickly.

You can read PDFs on the 505, but the 700 is better. What it does is it reflows it, and you don't scroll around. It makes the pages longer, so you turn the page to get to the bottom of the text. It doesn't work well with image heavy documents. Do you have a lot of PDFs?

That being said, I friggin love my 505
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Old 02-21-2009, 04:57 AM   #4
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Do you WANT to read PDFs? PDF is not an eBook format.

For reading novels, the Sony PRS-505 is excellent. Yes, eInk screens do take about 1 second to refresh, but that's faster than you can turn the page of a book, and you very quickly get used to it.

The Reader fully supports Vista - both 32 and 64-bit versions.

I have to ask - is there any particular reason that you only considered the Sony Reader and the Kindle? There are many other excellent eBook readers available besides those two.
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdbenoit View Post
Hi all,

I'm thinking of asking for a Sony Reader for my birthday (Kindle is not available in Canada) but the more I'm reading on it the more I'm confused.

<snipped!>

It also says that the Reader doesn't support Vista (I have Windows XP but my system is old and I'll soon change it) which could be a problem.
Hi, M.D.!

I'm afraid I can't answer well about Sony's ability to read PDFs, because I really don't have many. It's not my favorite format, but...

I think some of the Wiki you quoted might be out of date. Sony upgraded the software to work on Vista (although as Lilac_Jive says, some are having problems - but I thought that was pretty common for Vista! ).

When Sony upgraded the software, it also upgraded the firmware for the 505 to read Sony Digital Editions and - I believe - improve the reading of PDFs. (The upgrade was not for the 500, however).

I tried a PDF on my Sony after I upgraded the firmware. It did "reflow" the PDF (only works if the PDF is a text document and not just a series of pages saved as images). However, the person who created the PDF put "line returns" at the end of each line, so the reflow was clumsy, since the Sony's page width is not 11 inches!

Seems I've read that sites like Feedbooks create PDFs in page "images" that are specially sized for the Sony, so if your reading tends toward the older books available for free, you can probably find plenty of reading that will suit the Sony. But if you're talking about PDFs you already own - chances are the view will be less than optimum, but "doable".

As Harry said, there are other ebook hardware choices out there. I wish I could be more help, but "ability to read PDF" was not on my things to look for when I researched buying a reader, so I don't remember which do and which don't.

Bookeen has recently announced the plan to offer Adobe Digital Editions on it's Cybook, which might mean its ability to read PDFs will be approximately on par with Sony (with the added benefit of more font face/size choices).

I'm quite happy with my Sony 505 at this time, although I'll admit I've been watching the threads about the Astek line of ebook readers. My favorite DRM'd eBook format happens to be eReader, and they've been promising a reader that will read it natively...so I've been watching the threads with strong interest!

And, to only confuse things more, there are a couple of readers supposedly in the works with a larger screen. Those may or may not be more suited to PDFs...but since they're not available yet, it's hard to say.

Oh - and about the slow page-turning... I played with the Sony 500 on display at a nearby Borders for almost a year. The page turn flashing to black (negative of the actual page) and back was something I thought would drive me nuts. But when I was able to get a 500 for $50, I couldn't refuse! And I was surprised at how quickly I stopped noticing that flash.

As best as I can explain it, I've learned to anticipate how quickly I will reach the end of the page and click the page-turn button at just the right time that I'm finishing the sentence as the page flashes. My eyes are already shifting back to the top left-hand corner, and I just don't seem to register most of the "flash". (Oh, and I upgraded to 505 because the screen contrast is so much better than a 500!)

Hope this helps!
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Old 02-21-2009, 03:18 PM   #6
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Do you WANT to read PDFs? PDF is not an eBook format.
Interesting you always bring this up - and yet, Mobilereads has an "Ebook Formats" forum titled "PDF".

I understand your point that PDFs were intended to duplicate and maintain the appearance of the printed document. I also agree that reading them on most electronic devices (except maybe a tablet PC) is clumsy because of the built-in formatting.

And personally, PDF is probably my least preferred format for reading online.

But I wonder at your insistence that PDF is not an "eBook". What is an "eBook" by your definition? To the average user, an eBook is a book they have in an electronic format. PDF fits that. A bit saved in Microsoft Word fits that. Mobipocket PRC/MOBI and Sony LRF/LRX and Microsoft LIT and the rest fit that.

I've met a lot of people online who buy from "small publishers". I used to help moderate a list that discussed romance eBooks and had many online discussions with representatives and authors from those publishers. I was told - over and over - that PDF was the most popular format purchased at those sites, by a large margin.

And slowly, slowly, these women are starting to look at eInk options for reading all the books they've already purchased - and books they intend to purchase in the future. They're starting to research what's available, and what's coming.

So how do you think these people will feel if they come to a forum like this, ask legitimate questions about what's available to read the PDFs they already own, and get slapped back with "why do you want to read PDFs - they're not really ebooks"?

I thought the point of Mobilereads was to encourage the adoption of eBooks and eBook readers, to assist both new and experienced users to get the most from their new devices (or to choose a new device!), to encourage the creators of eBooks and eBook hardware to consider consumers' needs and opinions when offering books/devices.

How encouraged do you think these visitors will be when they come to ask their questions and find their questions mocked by moderators of that forum?
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:13 AM   #7
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Nobody is "mocking" anybody, FizzyWater. To say that the PDF format was never designed to be an eBook format and is probably the worst possible choice of format for an eBook is to state a simple and undeniable fact, not to mock anybody.

If people are buying PDF files thinking that they are a good choice for reading on eInk readers, they need to be educated about why that is a false assumption.

Yes, one can read PDFs reasonably well on an eInk device IF the pages are generated for the correct screen size of the device, as Feedbooks does, but unfortunately the overwhelming majority of PDFs are generated for Letter/A4 page sizes, and such PDFs can, generally speaking, be read extremely poorly on eInk readers, for the simple reason that PDFs are not "books" - they know nothing about paragraphs, lines, or even words. A PDF file is a set of drawing instructions to reproduce a specific size page.

Pease don't criticise those of us who are simply trying to give people sound advice about what format they should be purchasing. Who is it that's advising these "women" to whom you refer to buy PDF files? Someone needs to tell them that this is very poor advice, and that they'll have a much better reading experience if they choose a format which is designed as an eBook format, rather than one which is not.

PDF files have an important role to play in the field of electronic documents, but eBooks are not that role.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:25 AM   #8
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Not everyone who reads .PDF files on their reader buys them. Some of us use our reader to read things we are sent for work purposes, and they get sent to us in .PDF format, and we don't have a choice. We're not necessarily assuming that it's the best format. It's just all we've got. It's worthwhile to know exactly what the limitations and challenges are in reading .PDFs on our devices, but just being told not to isn't very helpful, I have to agree.

The .PDF format forum here contains a lot of tools for modifying .PDFs to make them easier (if not easy) to read on mobile devices -- and I think the Sony works decently well, or at least as well as can be expected. It's the reason I chose a Sony over a Kindle, personally.

And yes, Sony's software for the 505 works on Vista (which is what I usually use), and yes, it supports reflow -- though, as noted, the line breaks on a .PDF don't usually line up with paragraphs so it might look a little funny. (Personally, however, it doesn't bother me that much if a line breaks at
a funny spot so long as I
can read it. )

Last edited by frabjous; 02-23-2009 at 07:29 AM.
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Old 02-23-2009, 07:53 AM   #9
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Totally agree with you, frabjous - if you HAVE to read PDF docs, then the Sony is undoubtedly the best of the 6" readers on which to do so, with its support for reflow, etc. However, if all these women of FizzyWater's acquaintance are CHOOSING to buy PDF eBooks, then clearly they are receiving very bad advice from someone, and they need to be told so!
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Old 02-25-2009, 11:37 PM   #10
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I have Vista and have had no problems, only once my pc suddenly shut down (someone was ironing and it tripped the fuze so that area of the house lost power..) anywho, when I rebooted I had to disconnect the reader from "my computer" but apart from that 0 problems.

I have read PDFs and it works great for the most part, one book was really slow like almost 30seconds maybe more per page turn. I ended up reading it on my laptop because it got frustrating.

The only real complaint is that it has ony 3 font sizes, sometimes even on large the font is too small.
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Old 02-27-2009, 06:57 AM   #11
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Do you WANT to read PDFs? PDF is not an eBook format.

For reading novels, the Sony PRS-505 is excellent. Yes, eInk screens do take about 1 second to refresh, but that's faster than you can turn the page of a book, and you very quickly get used to it.

The Reader fully supports Vista - both 32 and 64-bit versions.

I have to ask - is there any particular reason that you only considered the Sony Reader and the Kindle? There are many other excellent eBook readers available besides those two.
I've been looking at the BeBook as well, but I'm kind of leary because it's fairly new. I looked at the Iliad as well but I'm not impressed by the functionality. Are there others I should look at?
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:01 AM   #12
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My personal favourite is the CyBook Gen3, but it's really a matter of what formats you want to read. The CyBook is undoubtedly the best for reading MobiPocket format, which is the predominant format in the current marketplace.
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:05 AM   #13
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Hi, M.D.!

I'm quite happy with my Sony 505 at this time, although I'll admit I've been watching the threads about the Astek line of ebook readers. My favorite DRM'd eBook format happens to be eReader, and they've been promising a reader that will read it natively...so I've been watching the threads with strong interest!

Hope this helps!
FizzyWater: thanks for your response about this. I'm not a maniac about PDFs but I receive a few newsletters that are in that format and it would be nice to read them on the reader. I also have tons of eReader DRM'd ebooks, which I now read on my Zire71 but so far I haven't found a reader that will let me read them on another reader. That's what has prevented me from buying a reader so far. I find it depressing that I'll "lose" all these books. My Zire71 isn't getting any younger.

Is there an eInk reader out there that reads eReader DRM's ebooks? I haven't been able to find one.
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:07 AM   #14
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Interesting you always bring this up - and yet, Mobilereads has an "Ebook Formats" forum titled "PDF".
I actually read somewhere that PDF is the most common ebook format because it can be read on all readers. So self-publishers and small publishers will definitely offer that format.
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:11 AM   #15
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Not everyone who reads .PDF files on their reader buys them. Some of us use our reader to read things we are sent for work purposes, and they get sent to us in .PDF format, and we don't have a choice. We're not necessarily assuming that it's the best format. It's just all we've got. It's worthwhile to know exactly what the limitations and challenges are in reading .PDFs on our devices, but just being told not to isn't very helpful, I have to agree.
Try reading a .pdf file on the Palm Zire71

It's a nightmare.
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