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Old 11-24-2006, 07:38 PM   #1
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Visually impaired peeps using Sony Reader?

Hi Everyone,

Any folks with low vision using this, and if so, what has been your experience? I see that some (such as PC Magazine) are touting it as a great tool for the visually impaired, and some (Consumer Reports) are saying it's no good for this.

I checked it out at a Sony Style and fell in love with the display, but I was saddened to see that the print could not be made larger than 200%. I see from the discussions on this forum that one can make the print larger in RTF... does this work for any kind of ebook (including the Sony Connect ones), or just some? How hard is it to fix the fonts so that they are larger on the Sony Reader device?

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Old 11-24-2006, 08:41 PM   #2
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I used mine for my visually impaired mother & it worked great. However I used the RTF formatted ebooks (or converted to RTF) so that I could increase the font size in MS Word (or MS Works or Open Office) and saved the larger size as RTF. We found that a 36 or 40 point font would work for her. It does increase the page turning but she was having to use a magnifying glass just to read a Large Print pbook.
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Old 11-24-2006, 08:47 PM   #3
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Thanks for your thoughts

Thanks so much slayda. That's exciting to hear. Does this mean you can get the books you buy from Sony Style and reformat the font sizes? Or if not, can you tell where can you get these books that you can reformat?

I could not help noticing you are from Alabama. I have a VI buddy in the Mobile area; can I ask if you were able to see a Sony Reader in a store near there, and if so where that was exactly?
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Old 11-25-2006, 12:06 AM   #4
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The size button works for Connect books, but you don't get any control over the original font size, and some of them tend to be pretty small.
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Old 11-25-2006, 02:30 AM   #5
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If you create a book yourself as an RTF file, you can set the text size as large as you wish. Eg, if you want to read any of the 10s of thousands of "Project Gutenberg" books, there's no issue at all.

If you buy a book from the "Connect" store (not an issue for me, because Sony in their wisdom, only let people in the US do so ) you're stuck with whatever font size the book comes as, plus the small size increase "Reader" will let you do.
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Old 11-25-2006, 09:03 AM   #6
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Oh thanks a lot guys. So Sony Connect would not work out well for the VI... too bad. Are there plans for sony to address this?

I see that on ebooks.com and amazon.com, the most common formats for ebooks are Adobe Reader, Mobipocket Reader, Microsoft Reader, and HTML. How would each work for the visually impaired? I presume the Adobe files can be nlarged if you have Adobe Acrobat, and the HTML files can be enlarged without too much trouble if you know how HTML works? How well does this work? Can the MS formats be easily converted to RTF and then their fonts enlarged?

Thanks guys, sorry to be a pest!

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Old 11-25-2006, 09:30 AM   #7
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HTML is easy - just load it into "Word", set the fonts to whatever you want, and then save as RTF.

Microsoft Reader ".LIT" files can be "decompiled" into HTML by a couple of different tools, and then you can proceed as for HTML files.

Mobipocket can't be converted, as far as I know.
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
If you buy a book from the "Connect" store (not an issue for me, because Sony in their wisdom, only let people in the US do so )....
We're pretty sure that this is a question of book distribution rights, and Sony not having them worldwide, rather than a simple matter of discretion on Sony's part.

Don't know whether that means it may change in the future or not.
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Old 11-25-2006, 10:53 AM   #9
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But PDFs that you buy from amazon.com or ebooks.com, or places like that, can't have their fonts increased? The only option for them would be to risk converting to rtf, then enlarging that?

This is disappointing... Sony issued a press release in conjunction with some Visually Impaired interest group I've never heard of, talking about how great this is for the VI... Maybe they are planning to allow for greater enlarging with a firmware upgrade?
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:03 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh
We're pretty sure that this is a question of book distribution rights, and Sony not having them worldwide, rather than a simple matter of discretion on Sony's part.

Don't know whether that means it may change in the future or not.
Oh yes, I certainly wasn't suggesting that it was some sinister conspiracy on Sony's part to stop me from buying books .

I'm sure that if and when the Reader is launched in Europe, the Connect bookstore will be extended there too. That's pretty much what happened with "iTunes" - first it was a US-only thing, then it expanded.

It doesn't bother me at all because I didn't buy my Reader for commercial eBooks, but for "PG" stuff.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:07 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktb1381
But PDFs that you buy from amazon.com or ebooks.com, or places like that, can't have their fonts increased? The only option for them would be to risk converting to rtf, then enlarging that?
I'm not at all sure that PDF can be converted to any other format. It's probably the least "flexible" format to use in Reader, because it can't be resized, other than to fit the screen - and that generally makes it smaller.

You can magnify a PDF file to a certain extent by viewing it in "landscape" rather than "portrait" orientation, but if the PDF is formatted for A4 or 11x8" it's still a lot smaller than is comfortable even for a reader with good vision.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:19 AM   #12
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But PDFs that you buy from amazon.com....
I'm pretty sure that Amazon isn't selling anything but Mobipocket format, now that they bought Mobipocket.

I agree with HarryT that PDFs really aren't an e-book format.

It's just not flexible enough.

The limited resizing of PDFs on the Sony is more an artifact of the PDF file format than a limitation on the part of the Sony. It's interesting to note that the Reader's PDF viewer software is provided by [i]Adobe[i], who ought to have a handle on what PDFs can and can't be made to do.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:20 AM   #13
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Thanks so much slayda. That's exciting to hear. Does this mean you can get the books you buy from Sony Style and reformat the font sizes? Or if not, can you tell where can you get these books that you can reformat?

I could not help noticing you are from Alabama. I have a VI buddy in the Mobile area; can I ask if you were able to see a Sony Reader in a store near there, and if so where that was exactly?
I see that others have really answered the format question. The Sony BBeB (or .LRF) format is currently locked until they open the format. I get many of my ebooks from Baen Publishers but they only have Science Fiction. You can also find free ebooks in the .RTF format at http://manybooks.net//. These are older, out of copyright books that have been scanned & OCRed. You can find many of the classics there.

As for as seeing the reader, no I ordered it blind and am very pleased with it. Unfortunately I live at the oposite end of Alabama from Mobile.
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:21 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slayda
I used mine for my visually impaired mother & it worked great. However I used the RTF formatted ebooks (or converted to RTF) so that I could increase the font size in MS Word (or MS Works or Open Office) and saved the larger size as RTF. We found that a 36 or 40 point font would work for her. It does increase the page turning but she was having to use a magnifying glass just to read a Large Print pbook.
I found that I can make the print larger if I convert any files to plain txt files, they are larger than the .rtf ones
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Old 11-25-2006, 11:25 AM   #15
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Karen,

The advantage of RTF over plain text is that in an RTF file you can set the font size to whatever you want. With plain text file you're stuck with Reader's default size for them, which personally I find only to be comfortable if I set Reader to "L" view size. If you set the font size in an RTF file to, say, 24pt or larger, I'm sure it would be big enough for anyone.
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