I have a shiny new toy!
After months of research and careful deliberation, I finally purchased an e-reader. Ever since I attended an afternoon of seminars put on by CAL about e-readers, e-books and the future of reading, I had pretty much made up my mind that I wanted one. Then came the decision making. Unlike the US where it seems there is already quite an established market for and supply of e-readers, they are still a relatively new device in Australia. Before the Kobo became available at Borders, the other models I had seen were either incredibly high-priced, or didn't have a lot of information and support available for users.
My own reasons for wanting to purchase an e-reader were:
♥ I have roughly a two-hour commute each day and this is when I do a lot of my weekly reading. Unfortunately I often finish a book halfway through my trip which is annoying, and I don't like to carry around more than one novel in my bag at a time (current handbag already weighs a lot and won't close)
♥ I often do manuscript reading and assessment for the literary agent I work for. In a paper form, they are difficult to read without being at a desk and are impossible to transport around with you. If I read them on a computer, I find I'm usually trying to multi-task and the reading process suffers
My limitations when looking for a model:
♥ I really wanted to be able to look/try it before purchasing. I had though about buying a Kindle or something online, but big purchases like that make me nervous, and I much prefer to buy them in person and know that once I've handed over my money, I will be walking out of the store with something tangible.
♥ I didn't want to spend more than $250. I put some of my tax return aside specifically to buy an e-reader and don't have a lot of extra cash anyway.
♥ I wanted to be able to read different formats - particularly PDFs and Word for work purposes
♥ I wanted it to be easy to use and there to be resources available for the product and support if needed.
I came pretty close to buying a Kobo (the price and the 100 free books it comes with are pretty tempting), but then heard that the Sony Readers were finally coming to Australia so I thought I'd wait a little bit longer (at least to check them out in person). I'd heard a lot of good things about the Sony models, especially from people in the publishing industry, and read a lot of very favourable reviews. Even the 'negatives' were things that personally didn't worry me (like no wi-fi). After checking the Borders website all week to see when they were in stock, I hurried down on Friday and was stoked when they had one on display! I had a quick play with it and it seemed to be as awesome as I'd hoped, so I took the plunge and bought it.
|Sorry I tried to flip the image about five times but it doesn't seem to want to shift. Grr!|
|The size of the Sony Pocket Reader compared to a paperback novel - my current read Dancing in the Dark by Robyn Bavati|
|Argh, why must you rotate?? The Pocket Reader charging.|
I haven't purchased any ebooks yet, mostly because I can't decide what to pick! Choices (at least for Australian readers) are still somewhat limited and I've noticed that prices of ebooks here aren't completely consistent - an issue which was discussed at length by panelists at CAL. As I'd attended that seminar, and from an agent's point of view, I can understand a big part of the price issue is ensuring that authors are paid correctly for their work and are receiving a fair royalty, but I do think that at the moment, the price of ebooks may put off some potential users (I was quite surprised at the cost of a few titles - especially as the cost was significantly more than a paper copy).
I did, however, download a handful of titles from Project Guttenberg - which is a fantastic resource that provides free digital copies of titles that are out of copyright. So far, I've got Jane Eyre, Dracula and Frankenstein - all titles I've wanted to read for ages, but have just never gotten around to. I also put on a few files from my own computer, like a manuscript in Word to see how the format read on screen (especially as this was a criticism that came up a lot in reviews for various readers - that Word documents and some PDFs were rendered unreadable due to formatting).
|A docx Word file on the Sony Pocket Reader - looks pretty good to me!|
Anyway, I've probably rambled for long enough. Overall, I'm very pleased with the quality of the product, and how easy the software has been to operate - though it has only been four days since I originally purchased it. Once I purchase an ebook through a retailer, I'll let you know how the process went. I feel like I should also add that despite this purchase, I am and always will be a huge advocate of the paper book and in no way do I think that e-books will ever replace them (the same day I bought this, I also spent $50 on an order from Book Depository). For me, the two can happily co-exist.
Now a quick question - do you own an e-reader? If so, which one? How often do you use it? What has been your best ebook purchase so far? I'd love to know - and feel free to ask me any questions about the Sony Pocket Reader if you wish.
Helpful links for buying an e-reader:
♥ A Wikipedia comparison table of e-book readers
♥ Another comparison of different models of e-readers
♥ Good Reader is a useful resource, especially the forum, to get information, reviews and personal experiences with a variety of e-readers.
♥ More comparisons and reviews - I found the video reviews to be especially interesting (a great way to see how the product works and important details like lag time and battery life)