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Old 03-09-2009, 08:37 PM   #1
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Canadian Mac user needs help deciding...

Hi everyone, I need some help evaluating the Sony Reader. I have an iPod Touch which I love, but I find its two big limitations are 1) I cannot read it while in motion e.g. in treadmill at gym and 2) the battery life is not always ideal. I especially am concerned about #2 because I am going on a long plane ride next month and want a reader that will last for the duration.

I have an eBookwise and have found that it's a little too clunky to be especially portable. I am thinking of selling it and upgrading to a Sony Reader, but I am unclear of how/if this will work well with a Mac. I have no plans at all to buy from the Sony store so that is not an issue. I do not anticipate the Canada thing being an issue because they do sell the reader on stores here, but I mention it just in case there is something I have not thought about. I gathered from other posts here that I can read any of my multiformat Fictionwise buys on this device, and I am guessing I can get Sony files from sites like Gutenberg or Manybooks as well. So does this mean I can ignore whatever software comes with the Sony Reader and just install Calibre on my Mac, transfer files from it to the reader via USB and be on my merry way?

Also, if I have a text file or word document, can those be transferred to the Sony Reader? Must I convert them first, and if so will Stanza Desktop or Calibre do this? And how about PDF files from sites like Scribd?

I guess I am just worried because I looked at it in the store and it pretty much said you MUST have a Windows PC, and I don't think this is true but I want a solid and reliable machine that I can easily get content onto.

Also, if I am going on a five-day trip with a six hour plane ride each way, will one charge get me through the whole trip, assuming maybe an hour of use a day on the non-flying days? I don't want to pack the charger if I don't have to because I am trying to avoid checked bags.

Thanks in advance for any assistance. I have read many of the threads on the board but just want to make sure before I drop money on this...

Also, if it sounds from what I said like there is a better device for me that I can get IN CANADA, please feel free to enlighten me

And while I am asking questions, does anyone read in French on this, how is the experience, and can you get any sort of built-in dictionary lookup to work in non-English languages? (you cannot on the eBookwise).
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:50 PM   #2
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I know that Calibre and/or VMWare enables Mac users to handle the 505, but I don't know much about it, but I'm sure someone else will pipe in.

I'm not sure about txt, but BookDesigner can convert an HTML word document in seconds. I'm pretty sure Calibre can too.

As for the charge, it might last that long. But why can't you throw that on an unchecked bag?
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:18 PM   #3
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I guess I am just worried because I looked at it in the store and it pretty much said you MUST have a Windows PC, and I don't think this is true but I want a solid and reliable machine that I can easily get content onto.
You only need a windows PC if you want to purchase ebooks from the Sony store. Or, if you want to apply a firmware upgrade to the reader.

BOb
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Old 03-10-2009, 11:20 AM   #4
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And while I am asking questions, does anyone read in French on this, how is the experience, and can you get any sort of built-in dictionary lookup to work in non-English languages? (you cannot on the eBookwise).
Well im sure you know the 700 does not come with a built in dictionary, the only one i know of with that feature is the Kindle 2, and i am not so sure if has a translator as well.
You can add a dicitonary to the PRS 700 and works well given the fact that the other option is no dictionary. you can find it here, Zelda did a nice sticky.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:45 PM   #5
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As a fellow Mac user - I feel your pain - it's a lot less difficult than things used to be, with regard to hardware "requiring" a PC.

Using my Mac side: The latest edition of Calibre supports the PRS 700 - which means you can save/convert many of your files to the LRF/LRX format. (Or, leave them as PDFs - but, the files are significantly larger, and the PDF reader does weird things with line breaks and font size. These are the only two file formats supported - I've tried LIT, TXT, and a few others on mine - to no avail.)

Using my Mac side: I've downloaded a few free titles from Fictionwise in the LRF format - they work famously (however, there is a sweet spot to the zoom level for some books to chapter break logically).

Using Bootcamp + Windows XP (to get the free 100 titles): Loaded the software. Works like an exceptionally old version of iTunes. Send to cart (just like FictionWise). Checkout. Downloads to Computer. Then, the irritating part, no automatic sync I am aware of; therefore, you will be dragging the titles over.

The way I'm handling "The Classics": Go through Sony's 900+ and find the ones I want. Then see if I can get them somewhere else - absolutely free - and a bearable read (some of the Gutenburg's just aren't a pleasure to read because of formatting). The ones I can't find "in the ether" I go back to the Sony store and grab their free classic - which are generally well formatted.

So - the Mac issue - is pretty much a non-issue with how much competition/alternatives there are right now (reminds me of the browser wars in the mid-late 90s). Eventually standards will be adopted by developers - and we will all breathe easier - until then, don't worry too much about the Mac thing.

There isn't a dictionary built in. However, I have been able to find some eDictionaries - no links sorry - which supposedly can be used with it. Right now, to save storage space, I highlight the word. Later, when I have my dictionary handy I can look it up - and generally I don't get lost in the story, because context helps.

The Pogue article says that there is no multi-language support - at this time.

Regarding getting through the whole trip on one charge - it depends on how you will be reading. If you will be reading a lot (lots of page flips) and in the dark (internal lights on) - probably not. If you're going to read for about an hour a day with the text on Small - maybe. I would take the wall charger. Or, if you have a macbook - you can plug in the USB cable - it will charge, and you can transfer files - just won't have access to the Sony store.

Basically all the "negative" things you've heard about the PRS 700 are probably true. However, 90% of them - can be corrected by Sony via Firmware and Software updates - without having to buy another device.

Hope that helped in some small way.

Cheers,
Josh
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:05 PM   #6
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The way I'm handling "The Classics": Go through Sony's 900+ and find the ones I want. Then see if I can get them somewhere else - absolutely free - and a bearable read (some of the Gutenburg's just aren't a pleasure to read because of formatting). The ones I can't find "in the ether" I go back to the Sony store and grab their free classic - which are generally well formatted.
Are you including here on MR when you're looking for classics, as I'd expect you'd find most (if not all) of them here, with probably better formatting!
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Old 03-10-2009, 05:18 PM   #7
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Are you including here on MR when you're looking for classics
I just discovered MR - and the fact they were available - so, yes.

For instance, the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The formatting was decent; however, editor was different - so, not necessarily the same book with the same footnotes.

But, I am definitely looking at all the absolutely free ones I can find - because if the formatting is an issue - I can always remove it - and still download the "free" version from Sony's 900+ (at least until the end of this month).

Cheers,
Josh

ps. Do you know of any collected works available on MR? or, are they mainly going to be piece-meal? (Edgar Allen Poe's collected works for instance. Or, Henry David Thoreau.)

pps. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn is done very well. Thanks - very much appreciated.

Last edited by jbruce; 03-10-2009 at 05:40 PM. Reason: Added PS & PPS
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:23 PM   #8
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I just discovered MR - and the fact they were available - so, yes.

For instance, the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. The formatting was decent; however, editor was different - so, not necessarily the same book with the same footnotes.

But, I am definitely looking at all the absolutely free ones I can find - because if the formatting is an issue - I can always remove it - and still download the "free" version from Sony's 900+ (at least until the end of this month).

Cheers,
Josh

ps. Do you know of any collected works available on MR? or, are they mainly going to be piece-meal? (Edgar Allen Poe's collected works for instance. Or, Henry David Thoreau.)

pps. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn is done very well. Thanks - very much appreciated.
I looooooved the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (it was one of the first books I read on my Reader, it was a Sony Classic).

And there are some collections on here, just search by author. The ones I can think of are the Sherlock Holmes Omnibus and the Professor Challenger Omnibus.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:28 PM   #9
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And there are some collections on here, just search by author.
Thank you Lilac! Really diggin' MR right now (The Thomas Paine collection - wonderful). Really didn't mean to hijack the thread anymore, but wanted to say thank you.

Have fun.
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Old 03-10-2009, 10:41 PM   #10
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Thank you Lilac! Really diggin' MR right now (The Thomas Paine collection - wonderful). Really didn't mean to hijack the thread anymore, but wanted to say thank you.

Have fun.
Don't worry, this is MR...it's an unspoken rule that threads get hijacked
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Old 03-10-2009, 11:47 PM   #11
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I have an eBookwise and have found that it's a little too clunky to be especially portable. I am thinking of selling it and upgrading to a Sony Reader, but I am unclear of how/if this will work well with a Mac
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Don't worry, this is MR...it's an unspoken rule that threads get hijacked
OK, pardon the hijack, but,..................

Ficbot, it seems that you have an eBookwise 1150 and a Mac.

Have you created any .imp ebooks using the eBook Technologies, Inc. Mac Tools like the Beta Mac OS X Publication Tools? Does it come with a .imp viewer in Mac OS X? a device driver to connect it to the reader? work with Impserve?

I have never had these questions answered before, and I was wondering if you could provide some insights to these threads:

- Does ebookutils work on Mac OS X?
- Does Beta Mac OS X Publication Tools also support .epub conversions?
- if you could generate a .imp ebook from a widely available source and give us a screenshot.

Enquiring minds want to know (so that they can later update the wiki for Mac users) BEFORE you move on to the Sony platform...
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:32 PM   #12
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Never used those tools. And am selling the eBookwise tomorrow Sorry!
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Old 03-12-2009, 09:50 PM   #13
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Never used those tools. And am selling the eBookwise tomorrow Sorry!
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:19 AM   #14
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Nick don't worry I'll check it out for you. I'm the one buying ficbot's ebookwise. I can't stay away from them.
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Old 03-13-2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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Nick don't worry I'll check it out for you. I'm the one buying ficbot's ebookwise. I can't stay away from them.
Thanks!

Seems you have come full-circle, back to the little ebook reader that could...
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