Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I own a Sony 505 ebook reader and like it very much

When people say that they have no interest in reading an ebook, what they actually mean is that they do not want to sit and read a long work on a computer screen. But with a dedicated ebook reading device, such as the PRS-505 from Sony, reading an ebook becomes an excellent experience. The main difference from a computer screen provided by the Sony ebook reader is the e-ink technology that supports the reading screen. The e-ink system allows for low power usage and (here's the big one) comfortable reading. The text is crisp and clear and can be read without eye strain for long periods in both artificial and natural light. Unlike the screen of a laptop computer, the screen of the Sony ebook reader has no glare in sunlight. Essentially the reading experience will feel exactly like looking at the pages of a book. Indeed, upon becoming absorbed in a novel, I have found my thumb seeking to physically turn a paper page because my brain assumed I was holding a book.

The user interface for the Sony PRS-505 is also easy to learn and use. I was able to quickly figure out the bulk of the system's navigation without consulting the instructions. Figuring out how to move between ebook titles and navigate within ebooks took only moments. The menu choices are obvious and make sense - very refreshing in a gadget! No baffling cell phone weirdness here.
The navigation within an ebook is well laid out. You can access the table of contents and go directly to specific chapters within the ebook. You can also simply "begin" the ebook and page through from the beginning. The nicest feature is the "continue reading" choice, which automatically takes you to the last place you were reading in the ebook. This is exceedingly handy for someone like me who is chronically plagued by gremlins (both real and imagined) that take bookmarks from my paper books.

Additionally, the ebook reader has a bookmark button that allows you to mark any page in the ebook. Bookmarks that you make for any particular title are stored within that title's menu where you can easily access the pages you marked for later review.

The system to interface your ebook reader with your desktop or laptop computer is also easy to use. This ebook library management software allows you to load files from your computer or access the Sony ebook store online. Because you can easily load files from your computer, you are also free to obtain ebook files in compatible formats from any source.

The Sony ebook reader connects to the computer with a USB cord. When connected, the ebook library interface will add the reader to its display and you can easily add ebooks from the computer library to the reader by dragging and dropping the files. In the same way you can remove ebook files from the portable reader by dragging the files back into the library.

About my only criticism of the Sony ebook reader is that the little buttons for advancing the pages lack perfection. I find them a little stiff and the positioning of both of them is not an optimal fit for my hands. This may not be the case for all users because I am admittedly an ergonomically difficult personality. The Sony ebook reader does have two ways to advance pages, so one or both of the options may work well for other users.

As with most specialized gadgets, you will need to know where to get content for your Sony ebook reader. Certainly, Sony has its own ebook store integrated with the system, but other sellers such as Baen.com and Fictionwise.com serve the Sony ebook reader market as well. Ebook titles from small publishers and individual artists are also plentiful.

For example, my free fantasy ebook Union of Renegades from Brave Luck Books (TM) is available to download in the Sony compatible ebook format and many other popular formats.

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