About a year ago I did a post called Some Thoughts on Books. In it I mentioned The Kindle, Amazon’s electronic book. I expressed some scepticism about this kind of device. However I now have availed myself of an electronic reading device – but not the Kindle. I plumped instead for the Sony PRS 505, which cost me £159 at WH Smith I’ve had it for just over a month now and so far I have read nine books and the experience is very satisfactory.
My one is silver. It weighs around 260 grams and its size is a very convenient 175mm by 122mm by 8mm. The great thing is that it is compatible with a lot of different formats, which is not typical for the Japanese multinational. The internal memory of 200MB holds around 160 e-books, although this depends on the size of the book and also the format. PDF files can take up a lot of space. For example, a 250-page book on PDF could use up a lot more space than War and Peace. SD and Memory Stick slots can be used to expand the memory but surely 100 books is enough? I prefer to keep the rest of the books on my computer. The e-book comes with a CD featuring 100 classic works – Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Oscar Wilde to name but a few authors. It’s incredibly easy to use – its navigation very intuitive. The page turning does take a split second to refresh the page. Some people find this slow but when you are reading a normal book, it also takes a time to turn a page. This page turning is what uses up the battery. You can do some 7,500 turns before you need to recharge the battery, which for me is about two weeks. The recharging can be done with the USB port of the PC. It is compatible with a lot of different formats, which is not typical for the Japanese multinational.
What are the pros and cons? For me the biggest advantage is space. My house is already overflowing with books. I love being able to have my books stored on my computer just like with music. There is so much stuff available for free on the Internet. The reading experience is also excellent; e-ink is nothing to like reading on a computer screen – it’s very easy on the eyes. With the option of three font sizes, it is actually more comfortable for me.
For me the con is still the price. In the future I hope there will be a models costing under 100. What I would like is a simple model without too many bells and whistles. The Kindle has a lot of gee-whiz technology; you can order a book and have it on the device in one minute. You don’t even need a computer. This is all great but I feel that the cost of e-books doesn’t reflect the savings in materials and transport. As a person who would always wait for the paperback, $9.99 is a bit steep for a book.
What is the future of these machines. I really don’t know because these gadgets are constantly changing. They say that dedicated devices are on the way out and we will have multipurpose machines are the future. I have noticed that when I show it to people they don’t say I must buy that. I also never see commuters on the underground reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on an e-book . Maybe it is just going to be a niche market. What I don’t know is how I’m going to find time to do my blog with the thousands of books I have to read.