Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Journey to eBook Reading

I love my paperback collection. There is nothing like having a paperback to pull out when you're waiting for life to move on. The turn of the page, the smell of the ink, it's all part of the experience.

Now, with that said and out of the way, I am also a practical person who loves technology and how (in most instances) it makes life easier. I had been debating for a while on purchasing an eBook Reader. I have a fairly decent eBook collection from authors who's work I discovered in electronic format. Lots of these authors I can find in print now a days but every day there is a new author waiting to be discovered but is publishing in only eBook format. I would love to read their work but my eBook TBR pile was competing with my paperback one because I hate to read on my computer. I sit in front of a computer all day and the last thing I want to do is come home and read my books on my laptop. So I decided I really wanted a portable reader. Now came the decision on which one I wanted to invest my money in.

There are so many great readers out there and each has different pros and cons but I narrowed things down to two. The Cybook's Gen3 and Sony's Portable Reader PRS-505. Both books had great features but it boiled down to eBook formats and accessibility.

The Cybook could read PDF files and Mobipocket books which are formats that most books can be purchased in but the company was an overseas company and I really couldn't actually hold the product before purchasing it. It promises great things for future software upgrades but for me the company was unknown and not being able to touch it and play with it before shelling out 350 dollars was a big issue.

Now the Sony is a well known brand for me, it is not a first generation product so it has already gone through a series of bug corrections and I could walk down to the closest Sony store (or Borders store) and give it a test run. Downside... it has known problems with PDF files and did not read any of the mainstream eBook formats. It has it's own proprietary format for the eBooks it reads and those can be found on Sony's eBook store front. This smacks me as greedy and just not reader friendly. So I started my research on the models I was focusing on.

I was lucky to be directed to the Dear Author's blog (which has become one of my favorite blogs to read). They had recently done a comparison on the main stream readers and I was able to discover that the major problem I had found on the Sony Reader was not much a problem at all since there was a large community of techies that had been working on conversion programs for some time. I not only found that I could convert my PDF files into rtf (a format the Sony reader is comfortable with) but I could also convert my MS reader books (those with .lit extensions) and HTML books into a Sony reader friendly format. Having found a solution to this drawback, two weeks ago I headed to the Sony Style store in Dallas to pick up my new Portable Reader PRS-505.

Well, I actually had to order it because the store didn't have it in silver and the dark blue looked more like black and it really wasn't doing it for me. I also had it engraved with the same saying I have on the blog "Fairytales are beyond stories, they are written dreams".

FedEx delivered it to my door on Good Friday!

I found it funny that the box had this big sticker saying it could not be re-routed. I told my sister we were just lucky that we had the day off from work because if not I would have had to take time off from work to sit and wait for the box to arrive.

I was all excited and was happy it was well packaged because the way i was cutting the tape I might have stabbed my little reader before it even had a chance to see the light of day.

My sister couldn't believe I was taking the time to document my purchase. I told her that with all the headaches I had to decide on one I needed to keep the event on image for prosperity!

And there she is!

I was a bit disappointed that the cover it came with was brown. I really would have preferred the black but it came with the unit and I won't complain anymore... I want the Dooney and Burke cover for mother's day anyway.

It's a tiny little thing (the size of a category romance book) but it is actually heavier than expected. It's not a big issue but it was one I never really thought of.

You can't really notice the engraving on the pictures here but it's between the two navigation buttons (the two round buttons on front).

I spent the weekend converting many of my TBR pile in a readable format and then loaded them into the Reader. I had a few hitches here and there where the text was not aligned properly in the Reader but looked fine on the computer. I tweaked things around enough to know what settings work for me and so my future conversions will go a lot smoother.

I'm absolutely in love with my reader! I wish I had more of my paperbk TBR pile in eBook so I can walk around with 50 books in my purse. I bought an SD card so I can load up to 2 gigs of books in the Reader - not that I have that many, but give me some time and I'll work my way there!


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