05 August 2007

The High Tech book reader

High tech and high priced. Probably too high priced but still interesting as a possible way to the future. Mike Musgrove reviews the new Sony Reader for the Washington Post. Here's the core of what he says:

Click a button with your left thumb to hop to the next page on the device's screen, which is about the size of the average paperback. After some extensive ocean-side research, I can report that it does a fine job of withstanding sand, suntan lotion and light rain. The battery lasts longer than you'd think; I made it through a Stephen King thriller and the bestseller "Freakonomics" with hardly a dent on the meter.

Getting books onto the Reader works pretty much the way an iPod works for music. Connect the device to your computer, fire up Sony's online bookstore and download away. Instead of carrying just one book on the plane you can now lug about 80, stashed in the Reader's memory.

Sounds great until you realize that you have to buy the books from Sony which has only 15,000 titles (a typical Barnes and Noble stocks ca 200,000), you can't read newspapers or magazines on it, you don't have the satisfaction of watching your books accumulate (Ian?), and it costs $300.

Musgrove also seems to think that it is also a negative point that you can't lend your books to a friend, but considering how many books I've lost over the years that might be a plus.

At any rate I am interested in such devices, especially for traveling. I can never pack all the books I want. But then, I suspect the books I want won't be found on Sony's play list either. Still, the technology is intriguing. Anybody else have any thoughts about this?

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At 05 August, 2007 19:52, Blogger Ian said...

I'm as technologically progressive as the next guy but I'll never go for something like this. I really need to feel a book in my hands, sometimes even smell it, to make that oh so important connection with the author.

Plus, we're training ourselves to consider information on screens as disposable. Not so good for important ideas, I think.

At 06 August, 2007 19:07, Blogger tashammer said...

Both of the currently available eReaders are over-priced, the Sony and the Illiad, if they are expecting folks to buy them.
The fact that the eReaders also restrict readable formats is another example of them shooting themselves in the foot - is this greed or what?

Now if they were able to read .txt, html files or .pdf would be very good rather than proprietary.

If one could use something like Spacejocks free yBook reader would, imho, be brilliant.

Another avenue would be being able to access Project Gutenberg, especially useful, for example, if you were studying philosophy - an entire library to you finger tips.

Perhaps other text books too?


At 06 August, 2007 23:59, Blogger Clemens said...

I figured you wouldn't go for it Ian. I would, I think. Oddly for someone who reads as much as I do I am not particularly attached to the books as artifacts. Once I read them there are only certain types of books I won't to keep around.

If this new e-reader could do some of the things tashammer suggests, then I would be very interested in owning one - even though at $300 it is a bit steep.

Thanks for the comments.


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