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Old 10-29-2006, 09:02 PM   #1
Rimbaud
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Got a Reader Today - Some Thoughts

I purchased a new Sony Reader today at the Mission Valley Borders store in San Diego. There were three in the case and when I asked to buy one, it took them awhile to find someone who had a key. In the meantime a salesman came up to me and scowled, and said, "Don't buy that. It will be the biggest mistake of your entire life." I was a bit dumbfounded but after a few seconds, he broke into a grin and said he was just kidding and that he really didn't know much about them. I told him he had an interesting sales technique! He was actually a really nice guy and we chatted a bit about ebook readers.

In the meantime, one of the sales people made an interesting comment. She turned to another sales person (the Sony Readers are next to the info desk), and said, "Wow, I can't believe how fast these are selling!" I took that as a good sign.

Here's my little mini-review. By way of background, I've owned ebook readers before; the Rocketbook, and an iLiad (which I still have and rather lovingly think of as my $800 paper weight.) Right out of the box, the Sony Reader is just great. I've had it for about 4 hours now and I already love it.

I was a bit hesitant to purchase one because I was worried that it might be a bit small. But comparing it to my iLiad, I actually prefer the size of the Reader, which surprised me a bit. It's a perfect combination of portability and readability. The fit and finish of the device was also a pleasant surprise. I like the stylishness of it a lot.

Installing the software and connecting to the Sony Connect site was painless and within a short time I was able to purchase some books (which were free due to the $50 promotion.) I also converted one of my books to an RTF file and it worked fine. Reading books on the Reader is great, as everyone must know by now. The screen is fantastic and it seems to have a bit better contrast than the iLiad (although my memory may be a bit faulty, I'll have to compare later.)

In short, I thought I would enjoy the Reader but I'm just blown away by how MUCH I love it after only a few hours. I also find it to be a very intuitive device.

And now to the one negative (I'm sure you knew there would be at least one!) This has nothing to do with the Reader itself, but to the books purchased from the Sony site. The first book I've started to read is so poorly converted that it's almost driving me crazy. The format is fine, but who does their quality control? I'm 100 screens into the book and on literally 95% of the pages there are errors in the form of words strung together without spaces. So, for instance, in a sentence that should read, "He said he would have to look into it," it reads, "Hesaid he would haveto look into it." While I love the Reader itself, these errors are like nails on a chalkboard to me. And they're on almost every single page, and sometimes multiple instances on a page. I would think that after converting, a simple spell check on Sony's part would have caught all of these. Well that's my one disappointment, but again, it has nothing to do with the Reader itself.

All in all I'm very excited and pleased with the Reader! Thanks for reading.
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:26 PM   #2
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Welcome to the fold Rimbaud! If you don't mind, what book was it with all the conversion problems? Help the rest of us avoid it.

Did they have on display at Borders, or were they like locked behind a counter?
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:28 PM   #3
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Nice to see them being purchased... Got mine from there!
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:39 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leaping Gnome
Welcome to the fold Rimbaud! If you don't mind, what book was it with all the conversion problems? Help the rest of us avoid it.

Did they have on display at Borders, or were they like locked behind a counter?
Thanks The book was a collection called "Three Plums in One" by Janet Evanovich. The set include the books One For the Money, Two for the Dough, and Three to Get Ready.

The books themselves are great, I'm really enjoying the first one. But the conversion... eeek.
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightwing
Nice to see them being purchased... Got mine from there!
I'm glad to see they're being purchased also. And the staff at that Borders were very, very nice.
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:46 PM   #6
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They were very nice the night I was there.

Glad you are enjoying it. Been a blast since I went down and got mine!
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Old 10-29-2006, 09:51 PM   #7
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The staff at my Borders (McLean, VA) hadn't the slightest clue about the device. As such, they're not doing such a good job promoting it. In fact, I was their first sale of one yesterday (again, many kudos to the reader who pointed out that Borders has them even if Sony is out of stock).

Having watched YouTube demos of both the PRS-500 and the iLiad, I picked the PRS-500 as it seemed to have a more reasonable boot up time -- and a more reasonable pricetag. The iLiad's feature set looks great but the device still seems fairly immature.

I'm extremely pleased with my Reader thus far. I'm also glad that Sony has started supporting more common standards such as SD.
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Old 10-29-2006, 11:02 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Leaping Gnome
Did they have on display at Borders, or were they like locked behind a counter?
Oops forgot to answer this. They were in a short locked glass case next to the info desk. They weren't in a place that made them very obvious.
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Old 10-29-2006, 11:16 PM   #9
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Regarding the proof-reading, it suspect that Sony doesn't do anything to the files except put them into BBeB, and layer on the DRM, so the typos/coversion errors are probably upstream of Sony's getting them in the first place.
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Old 10-30-2006, 01:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rimbaud
I'm 100 screens into the book and on literally 95% of the pages there are errors in the form of words strung together without spaces. So, for instance, in a sentence that should read, "He said he would have to look into it," it reads, "Hesaid he would haveto look into it." While I love the Reader itself, these errors are like nails on a chalkboard to me.
I see this a lot in my conversions, also. I think that some fixed-page-size formats, like LIT, don't have spaces at the end of lines. When they get converted to RTF, they run the words together.

I feel the same way about it, though, I just can't read something like that. It really, really annoys me. If it's in RTF format, running it through Word catches most of them and can often auto-correct the vast majority.

No ideas what to do about purchased books, though. Complain to the Connect folks, I guess.
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Old 10-30-2006, 02:04 PM   #11
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when i bought my an Borders (Pleasanton, CA) they also mentioned how quick they were selling and that was AFTER they had already pulled the display due to fire hazards. All the ladies at the register were interested in what it was and how it worked.

Hopefully SONY is selling a ton of these...
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Old 10-30-2006, 11:00 PM   #12
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The Borders on Michigan Avenue in Chicago is waiting to display them until they can figure out a neat way to display them that will make them interesting/desirable.

Should go tell them just to put them on a cardboard box, from the success they *seem* to be enjoying.

I'm still on the fence about purchasing one, mainly because I have no idea if/when the content I want will be released in electronic form.

This is as good as any place to say this:

Thanks for being brave enough to embrace new technology kids!
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Old 10-31-2006, 12:42 AM   #13
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Oh my goodness.

I just realized, as the original poster suggests, it's not turning pages anymore; it's turning screens!

Eek! The future is upon us!
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Old 10-31-2006, 03:30 AM   #14
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Actually I love reading but this makes it even more fun!
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Old 10-31-2006, 06:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cthulhu
The Borders on Michigan Avenue in Chicago is waiting to display them until they can figure out a neat way to display them that will make them interesting/desirable.

Should go tell them just to put them on a cardboard box, from the success they *seem* to be enjoying.

I'm still on the fence about purchasing one, mainly because I have no idea if/when the content I want will be released in electronic form.

This is as good as any place to say this:

Thanks for being brave enough to embrace new technology kids!
Project Gutenberg isn't compelling enough?

Seriously, though, there's a lot of content available out there nevermind the "for sale" books.
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