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Old 08-10-2009, 06:01 PM   #1
jferreir
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eBook for PDF files? If so, Sony PRS 600? Alternatives?

Background:
As a graduate student, I read between 5-10 journal articles per week. This can become quite costly - both for myself and the environment - so I'm investigating eBook Readers as a potential alternative to printouts. Ideally, I would like to read/comment on these articles during my daily commute. The journal articles I read usually have very simple formatting with little to no diagrams (see attached).

Requirements:
- eInk technology (or something comparable)
- PDF, doc, rtf compatibility
- Highlight/comment functionality
- Built-in dictionary
- Decent battery life
- OS X (Mac) compatible
- Expandable memory (optional)

Concerns:
- PDF formatting/orientation
- Price ($400 CAD max)
- Lifespan of device (?)

Sony PRS 600:
- Would I have to convert/manipulate each PDF file? If so, is this time consuming?
- Is it possible to read PDF files in 'portrait' view?
- What is the general lifespan of the device? How about the battery?
- Is there a better alternative?

I have no prior experience with eBook Readers, so I would appreciate any/all advice. Also, can someone please enlighten me on "Pixel Qi" technology, and why I should/shouldn't be concerned with it?

Thanks for the help!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Extended Life.pdf (456.1 KB, 362 views)
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:24 AM   #2
Jellby
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Journal articles are usually PDFs formatted for Letter/A4 size, and with rather small type and often in two columns. This makes them almost impossible to be easily readable on 5-6-inch-screen readers. Even in portrait mode the text will probably be too small and an annoying page back and forward would be needed for reading the two columns. It could be a bit better with custom zoom options, but then you'd have the problem of two-column figures, tables or equations.

Devices with a larger screen would be desirable, but those are more expensive too.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:05 PM   #3
jferreir
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
Journal articles are usually PDFs formatted for Letter/A4 size, and with rather small type and often in two columns. This makes them almost impossible to be easily readable on 5-6-inch-screen readers. Even in portrait mode the text will probably be too small and an annoying page back and forward would be needed for reading the two columns. It could be a bit better with custom zoom options, but then you'd have the problem of two-column figures, tables or equations.

Devices with a larger screen would be desirable, but those are more expensive too.
Thank you for the response.

While I appreciate your concerns, the journal articles I read are usually single column, with little to no diagrams (for an example, please see the attached file in my original post).

That said, the articles in question will be Letter/A4 sized, so font size is a major concern. Would anyone happen to know if the Sony PRS 600 would be capable of handling PDF files such as this? If not, what other alternatives are available? Judging by the various posts on this website, I take it that no single eBook Reader is designed specifically for PDF viewing (aside from iRex, which is not in my price range).

What's the probability that some new model will be released in the near future, which caters specifically to PDF viewing (in my price range, of course)? It's a shame that this is still a nascent market - it has so much potential!

P.S. Thank you to the moderator for moving this post.
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Old 08-12-2009, 11:50 AM   #4
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If you have a Windows PC, you can see how the Sony PRS-600's "reflow" PDF option will likely look using Sony's Windows ebook Reader. This program now emulates a PRS-700, which is similar to the new PRS-600. Both will probably also have a "zoom" mode, although this isn't apparently very useful for routine reading on the PRS-700. It will also have a landscape mode, that will provide a half-page at a time magnified view of the PDF (as well as reflow, like the portrait mode).

It is commonly assumed that ebook manufactures (with the exception of Amazon) are waiting for plastic screens before introducing their 9.7" devices. These should be available this fall. Note that a device with the PRS-600's firmware but a 8.1" or 9.7" screen would be the "PDF viewing" option you are looking for. Another possibility is Mainstream iRex 8.1-inch reader for 400$ (rumor).
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Old 08-12-2009, 12:25 PM   #5
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I took a look at your sample on a 700. When the font is enlarged to make it easily readable (the medium setting), each line wraps individually because the document is formatted with hard carriage returns at the end of each line.

It is readable, but does not flow as well as a document without carriage returns that will wrap naturally.

On some of my classic books that are in PDF format, the ones I reread often, I sometimes convert them to .doc files, remove the excess carriage returns and resave them. This is not as difficult as it might seem using find and replace. It just requires three global find/replace entries.

Then you can use word to put them back in pdf format.

What I don't know is how the new reader stores and exports notes that are made on the reader. If you can access the online manual, it may shed some light on this subject.
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