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Old 05-15-2009, 12:30 AM   #1
davlewis
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Mac owner and PRS-505

I know that Sony's eBook store and library software will not work on a Mac (in fact I wonder if it will work with Windows 7, any PC I have is now running the release candidate of Windows 7).

My question is if I use BooksonBoard.com will I be able to use my Mac and manage the PRS-505 100% (copy the books to the Reader by simple drag and drop for example)? Also, does BooksonBoard.com have at least the same number of titles available as the Sony eBook store in PRS-505 compatible formats? (I have performed spot searches for some of my favorite authors and so far BooksonBoard.com looks to be fairly comprehensive.)

I am so conflicted between the Kindle 2 and the PRS-505. I like the PRS-505 form factor and the SD and Memory Pro slots. The metal case just seems more elegant than the Kindle plastic case. I am not sure I want to tie myself to the Amazon store and their DRM (I assume that the main source of books for the Kindle is the Amazon store?). But I do look at the Kindle's wireless delivery of books (at least in the US), its built in apparently easy to use dictionary, and the ability to sync books between the iPhone and Kindle (assuming the sync works reliably) as Kindle positives. But the Kindle is much more expensive than the PRS-505.
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Old 05-15-2009, 12:46 AM   #2
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With the 505 and a Mac you can manage your entire library using the software Calibre. There is a sub-forum dedicated to this program, it's free and the creator is a regular member here.

Before buying the 505 you can download the Sony software to try it on Windows 7. If you can't install the Sony software the only thing you will be missing out on are the free ebooks offered from time to time.

A lot of people use BooksonBoard.com and Fictionwise.com. BoB will usually have epub available which is good for the 505. DRM epub will need to have Adobe Digital Editions installed to download. Fictionwise has DRM pdf and lit (DRM removal required for lit) and non-DRM lrf and epub. If you are located in the US, public library ebooks are available for borrowing (check your local library).

I don't have a Kindle and will let others explain the pros and cons of that device.

Just do your homework and you will make the right decision for you.
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:48 PM   #3
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As a Mac and PRS505 owner, I can tell you that you will have no problem.

The 505 will appear as a USB drive in the Finder, and from there you'll be able to drop any ebook file into the device.

Moreover, using Calibre, you'll be able to convert them, manage them in a nice, tidy, iTunes-like library, and upload them to your device with full metadata. Calibre is way better than the provided Sony software.

The only problem you'll run into is reading DRM'd books. For this, two solutions :
  1. you can strip the DRM of eReader, Microsoft Reader, and Mobipocket ebooks quite easily (recently, someone on this forum explained also how to circumvent the ePub protection Adobe invented)
  2. you can install Adobe Digital Editions on your Mac (it's an AIR program, runs anywhere) and use it to manage the DRM'd books
  3. you can install the Sony Reader software on a Windows virtual machine, or even Bootcamp ; I know that people recommend not running the Reader software in a virtual machine, and for the flashing of the firmware, they are right ; but for "normal" operation, like buying books and uploading them to the device, it works !
  4. there's no 4

Let me know if you need help !

Cheers,
David.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:34 AM   #4
davlewis
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Hi David,

Thanks for the information. If I may ask, do you find that you buy your ebooks from the Sony store using either a virtual PC on your Mac or a Windows PC, or Books on Board more than the Sony store (or both equally)? It appears that a Mac can directly purchase from Books on Board with no issue, correct?

If I understand correctly, any ebooks you have you have imported into Calibre and then you use that to manage getting the ebooks to your PRS-505 from your Mac, correct?

I just compared pricing between a Kindle 2 plus the Amazon leather cover (since the Kindle 2 does not include any cover) versus the current Costco pricing for the PRS-505 (with normal included cover) PLUS the AC adapter.

Kindle 2 plus leather cover = $388.99

Costco PRS-505 plus AC adapter = $269.99

$120 cheaper for the PRS-505. You could buy at least 8 books from the Sony ebook store (assuming a $14 cost for newer titles) with the difference. Or put another way, is the built in dictionary and search feature of the Kindle 2 worth $120? (I live in Seattle, WA so I will pay sales tax regardless of whether I buy the PRS-505 from Costco locally or order the Kindle 2 from Amazon, and in fact I'd pay more sales tax for the Kindle 2 given its higher price.)

If Calibre and purchasing ebooks directly from Books on Board make using the PRS-505 on the Mac relatively seamless, given the price savings over the Kindle 2 I sure am tempted to go with the Sony over the Kindle 2. The only apparent disadvantage to the Costco PRS-505 offer is that it appears that only the silver version is available for $269. I was leaning towards the dark blue, but for the price (including not only the standard Sony cover but the AC power supply as well) I can try to learn to like the silver version.

Thanks for any feedback you can provide.

Dave...
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Old 05-22-2009, 07:30 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davlewis View Post
Hi David,
Hi Dave

Quote:
Originally Posted by davlewis View Post
Thanks for the information. If I may ask, do you find that you buy your ebooks from the Sony store using either a virtual PC on your Mac or a Windows PC, or Books on Board more than the Sony store (or both equally)? It appears that a Mac can directly purchase from Books on Board with no issue, correct?
I always buy my books at Fictionwise and Baen, and have credit store at BoB (long story short, I bought an unreadable PDF and they kindly refunded me).

The only books I got from the Sony Store were the free books they sometimes offer, and I downloaded them on my work PC (but I'm pretty sure it'd have worked from a VmWare virtual machine).

Every computer with internet access can buy Mobi, eReader and Microsoft Reader books at these internet stores, the DRM are stored in the files you download and deciphered on the devices themselves. If you buy DRM'd ePub files (at BoB for example) you'll have to use a computer on which you have installed Adobe Digital Editions, because the store itself will only provide an application link that ADE only can translate into a working file, containing the encrypted book. I think (but I'm not sure) that the Mac version of ADE can manage it, but anyway, it's always possible to run the Windows ADE in a VmWare or Parallels virtual machine...

Quote:
Originally Posted by davlewis View Post
If I understand correctly, any ebooks you have you have imported into Calibre and then you use that to manage getting the ebooks to your PRS-505 from your Mac, correct?
You understood correctly : almost all my eBooks were downloaded at Fictionwise, a few at Baen or other sources. They were all stripped of DRM (evil me) and stored naked (mmmmm) in Calibre, which manages the connection to my PRS.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davlewis View Post
I just compared pricing between a Kindle 2 plus the Amazon leather cover (since the Kindle 2 does not include any cover) versus the current Costco pricing for the PRS-505 (with normal included cover) PLUS the AC adapter.

Kindle 2 plus leather cover = $388.99

Costco PRS-505 plus AC adapter = $269.99

$120 cheaper for the PRS-505. You could buy at least 8 books from the Sony ebook store (assuming a $14 cost for newer titles) with the difference. Or put another way, is the built in dictionary and search feature of the Kindle 2 worth $120? (I live in Seattle, WA so I will pay sales tax regardless of whether I buy the PRS-505 from Costco locally or order the Kindle 2 from Amazon, and in fact I'd pay more sales tax for the Kindle 2 given its higher price.)
Well, from what I read the K2 is superior to the PRS-505 ; it's more expensive, bigger and heavier too, IIRC.

Where I live (Metz, France) the only available reader was the Sony...

Quote:
Originally Posted by davlewis View Post
If Calibre and purchasing ebooks directly from Books on Board make using the PRS-505 on the Mac relatively seamless, given the price savings over the Kindle 2 I sure am tempted to go with the Sony over the Kindle 2. The only apparent disadvantage to the Costco PRS-505 offer is that it appears that only the silver version is available for $269. I was leaning towards the dark blue, but for the price (including not only the standard Sony cover but the AC power supply as well) I can try to learn to like the silver version.
I'd advise a different color than silver (which is the color of my reader) because it makes reading in the sun more difficult... But the price is really interesting (not that you'd need this AC supply, or can't buy a used PSP power brick at any pawn store).

Quote:
Originally Posted by davlewis View Post
Thanks for any feedback you can provide.

Dave...
You're welcome !
Cheers,
David.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:13 AM   #6
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I have a PRS-505 and a Kindle 2 both are used with my Mac primarily ( I use a PC to buy some books form the Sony store). The Calibre software is a godsend and works wonderfully with both the 505 and the Kindle. Each of these devices has their plusses and minuses. (the following is my opinion)

The 505 looks and feels more like a book. I get so caught up in the 505 that I find myself reaching to turn the page by the top corner. This hasn't happened with the Kindle yet (maybe due to the fact I don't have a cover for it). The 505 has positioned the page turn buttons perfectly. The 505 is solid and and metal whereas the front of the Kindle is plastic so it seems more fragile. So to me the booklike experience is a tad better on the 505.
That being said the Kindle is no slouch. I it sleek and lightweight and alot more comfortable to hold than I thought. I enjoy buying books on the fly and I love the dictionary on the Kindle. I bring these up first because they are the two things I thought I didn't care about that I now use quite a bit. I like having newspapers and magazines delivered and waiting when I wake in the morning. The big thing with Amazon is the price of the books and that is what prompted me to get another reader. My wife and I read alot and spend alot on books and we noticed that since moving from analog to digital we are consuming even more than ever.
Doing the math, if my wife and I had purchased all the books we have for the 505 from Amazon over the last nine months we would have saved 143.64 which is a decent amount of savings. Now the 505 is used for library books and the occasional purchase from one of the other stores if they have something Amazon does not (e.g. W.H. Smith has Boris Starling).
In my opinion you cannot go wrong with either device they each have strengths and weaknesses. The Sony will save you money now and possibly in the future if your main source of books is the library. The Kindle will cost more upfront but could possibly save you more money in the long run. Examine your wants and needs and your reading habits and pick which device you feel best fullfils them. As I said there is no wrong choice when it comes to these two readers.
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Old 05-22-2009, 09:31 PM   #7
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Hi David and Kikar,

Thanks for all of the information, Kikar since you have both the PRS-505 and the Kindle 2 plus a Mac your experience is very enlightening.

I am really struggling with justifying the $389 (for the Kindle 2 plus cover) - and in reality based on what I have read of accidents that many people have had with ebook readers I would probably add the two year warranty and accident coverage to either of these. That makes the Kindle $453.99 total plus tax, or around $490 total. That makes it pretty difficult to justify the cost.

But I have maxed out my available space for keeping physical books, I had to finally take a bunch to a second hand book store last month and it killed me, not only for the amount of money I had invested, but I do go back and re-read books, in some cases years later, and now I have lost that opportunity (without paying for the books again!). The ebook readers make the physical space issue moot (of course all of us are dependent on continued file format support in the future, anyone want to bet that an ebook purchased today will still be readable 10 years from now, I have books older than that).

I have some serious thinking to do, again thanks for all of the assistance.

Dave..
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Old 05-22-2009, 10:33 PM   #8
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You're welcome....
The kindle is pricey and if you can get the 505 at Costco for 269.00 I would go that route. The 505 is an awesome piece of tech. It would be nice if Sony were to release their software for the Mac so I wouldn't have to fire up the PC to get certain books. But Adobe and Calibre are working great for me. I bought the Kindle to see what the fuss was about and to see what I was missing out on. and really all it is is 3G connectivity and a dictionary. THe Sony is solid (I have had a couple "drop the reader" incidents, and it is still ticking right along), it is very book like, it is a breeze to use and the button layout is the best I have seen.
It is a tough decision to make but just know that in the end you can't make the wrong choice, because there isn't one.
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Old 05-23-2009, 12:21 PM   #9
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@davlewis, I am (or I was) in exactly the same situation. The fact that Costco carried the Reader (and I found it in stock at a local Costco) was the determining factor for me. Although I wasn't torn between the K2 and the 505, I was torn between the Cybook, the EZ Reader and even the coming-soon Cool-er Reader and the 505.

Purchasing at Costco means I have 90 days to evaluate it, and I can return it with no questions asked. Check online at Costco.com to see if your local Costco has it, it is not carried at all stores (but of course you can order online if you don't mind waiting and paying the shipping).

Oh, and Costco only has silver - if that matters to you.

And btw, so far I love it - but all I have done is to charge it, read one of the samples, and look at all the options. I haven't integrated it with my Mac yet.

Good luck!

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Old 05-24-2009, 03:05 AM   #10
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Kikar do you find the page change on the Kindle 2 to be any faster than the 505? Specifically, on the 505 that I looked at in a store today the page advance (or back) button changes the screen to black and then refreshes back to white with black text. I realize this is an effort to make sure there is no ghosting from a previous page. However, the speed of the transition on the 505 (at least in my limited playing in the store today) was very off putting. I wonder if the constant black flashes on each page change would end up bothering me, and I wondered if the Kindle 2 is any faster on the transition or if the black flash is as obvious on the Kindle 2 as on the 505?

I would obviously have to buy an eBook device and use it for a while, but my initial playing with it today was troubling.

I did load Calibre on my MacBook Pro and bought a few cheap books from Fictionwise and also grabbed some free classic (War of the Worlds for example) and brought them into Calibre to create an initial library. So far very impressed with this application.

Dave...
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:58 PM   #11
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The refresh on the kindle is about a millisecond faster than the 505. The flashing is all part of the e-ink technology. It may seem off putting at first but I got used to it in a flash (sorry for the pun).
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:22 PM   #12
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The speed seems slow when you're playing with it, but when you're actually reading it's not slow, I suspect it's faster than turning a paper page. I'm going to join kikar in saying that it's not something you'll be bothered by when reading a book.
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Old 05-24-2009, 05:37 PM   #13
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@davlewis, when I first looked at the 505 in the store, that also bothered me. Now that I have one, I barely notice it. And it is plenty fast enough.
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Old 05-24-2009, 06:32 PM   #14
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Thanks everyone for al of the feedback, it helps!

Dave..
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