Saturday, May 30, 2009

The e-revolution

I bought a Sony 505 a few weeks ago. Part of my "got my taxes back" treat to myself. It was actually a toss-up--buy an e-reader or new clothes for Nationals. The reader won out. I already have two suits and a pair of jeans, so I'm good to go. It costs money to ship luggage, so if it doesn't fit in my carry-on, it's staying home.

Anything I buy at Nationals, I can mail. I have a two hour layover in Atlanta. Although...two hours? In Atlanta? The only airport I know with a Krystal Burger? I'm so there--right after I eat at Paschals. Dark meat fried chicken, collard greens and yams. Then a sack of carry-on Krystals for the flight home.

The reader is pretty cool. It's gently used. Or in other words. Not as new as if I'd bought it at Fry's, but at half price, still a splurge. Those things aren't cheap. I tracked a couple on Craigslist. They all started out at 250 and once someone realized, yeah--well, that's only twenty bucks less than Fry's, they dropped to 225. After a week, they were still there.

It takes a special kind of person to use an e-reader. The techie kind of person who'd think a reader was cool isn't exactly the kind of person who'd read books. And the "book" kind of person has a hard time crossing the tactile barrier.

Finally, the woman who got hers as a Christmas present (hint: do NOT give a reader to someone who wants a Barnes and Noble gift card)dropped hers to one seventy five.
She powered it up, read five pages into each of the pre-loaded excerpts and shut it down again. Three hundred dollars of Christmas love. You'd think the person who gave it to her would have thought it through.

Almost new, in the box, with software and manuals and original packaging.

My kid (the techie) took one look--pulled it out of the cover and said, "this is pretty cool". I said, "put it back in the cover." When I saw it in the product info, I thought it was some kind of slip cover--like a Bible cover, maybe. Turns out it's hard leatherette with some kind of reinforced middle and there are magnets and a hinge. The hinge keeps the cover on, and the magnets keep it closed unless you open it.

True confession--first thing I did was load my book. But it's not exactly the best reader for pdf files. Your choice. Ultra small with formatting or normal sized text file. Not that I mind text files, but unless you know it's going to be .txt and take that into account, it makes for some random sentence structures. Then I loaded the other six e-books I own.

And stopped.

Fictionwise has just about everything, but--of course, nothing I wanted to read in the format I wanted. They're cheap, have rebates, have a frequent buyer club--and, mobipocket doesn't support the Sony format. I'm pretty sure there's a work around, but seriously--I just wanted to buy books. I didn't want to stress conversions.

The Sony store, of course, has lots of things (call them Borders to Fictionwise's Barnes and Noble)--all in Sony's format. For full price. No discounts. I paid just as much for a copy of A Kiss Before the Apocalypse as I'd have paid at the bookstore. Which was not cool, because despite being produced by Random House it didn't even have cover art. Just some messed up font with the title and usual threats. You'd think with that kind of backing, they'd have a copy of the real cover, but no--the whole thing looked like a ten year old did it on his daddy's Dell using Word.

But, by the end of the book I was pretty happy. I turned it off, it turned off--I turned it on, it opened to the same page I stopped on. It reads like real paper. Not back lit, but I think I'd have a hard time with a book that lit up anyway.

I still can't figure out how to use folders and organize the thing. It's in the manual, but the manual is a pdf file and I really don't want to read the whole thing. The search function doesn't bring up "folders" or "organization". I did have to load a lot of new software, the cd really isn't user-friendly. And the "ebook library" isn't very simple. It assumes you know what you're doing because every time I'd bring up help I'd get something like "look in the help menu" or "look in the users manual", which would tell me to look in the help menu, or look in the manual.


The help menu says to load content on your reader, simply drag and drop. Which worked great for stuff I already owned. But once I bought something from Sony, it kept saying I wasn't authorized. Turns out that's Sony-speak for you need to let their store check out "your computer and your reader" before they say it's okay to put the stuff "you" paid for on the reader, via your computer that now--I'm sure--has some kind of little program telling Sony everything about you.

So now...I have seven e-books.

Over nine hundred real books, not including cookbooks and reference material. It took me decades. I don't know what to do. When I was done with the Sniegoski book I walked over to my shelf--and looked at the stack where I put the new stuff. I really wanted to "put" the book where it belonged.

On the stack with the others.

I think I just bought myself an expensive new toy, because today I went out and bought A Kiss Before the Apocalypse in print and put it on the shelf. I enjoy using the reader, and I'll buy the next book in digital format, but...yeah, well--in print, too.


Unhinged said...

Jodi, I know you don't have a lot of time, but when you get a chance, they've thoroughly broken down the Sony 505 over at Dear Author. Lots and lots of valuable information there, also people could probably answer some of the questions you have:

Dear Author's Sony 505 discussions

jodi said...

hey, that's great. Thanks, Andi. I could use some tech-help in plain english. My kid keeps trying to explain things, but he's light years over my head.

Once I get the folders thing figured out I'd feel a lot more comfortable. But it really is a good investment. I can see using this thing for years into the future. It's way more portable than a book. I just wish everything I owned was on it.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

LMAO! YOu're funny.
I've enjoyed the combination of ebooks AND print books.

jodi said...

Jen, seriously? I've started carrying the sony around in my purse and it's a life saver. I got free downloads of The Scarlet Pimpernel and Tarzan and Captain Blood and John Carter of Mars (which are considered "classics" because they're pre twenties) and it's great. I love Tarzan, and I don't need to tell anyone I love the name Percival. :)

Jeanna said...

First, what, it's how hot? I'm not sure it broke 60 here today (the first day the pool opens).
But take lots of food photos, won't you? Krystal Burgers, I'm thinking Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek or something on a mining ship.
There's a Pascals or the like here, Mexican food, almost killed me in the 80s.
And I have no idea what you're talking about, my inner geek is ashamed.

jodi said...

Ah, Jeanna--I have no inner geek. It's probably why the people over at stopped my catalogs coming and switched them over to my daughter. She understands those binary jokes, lol.