Tag Archives: Sony Reader

Why The Inventor Of eBooks Says Kindle Won’t Go

Many people have argue with me for years on the subject of dedicated eBook reader devices, with any number of reasons they like them, but it is really only that they can’t read small print or they still want “the look and feel” of the dead trees pulp bound up in dead animal skins.

I won’t even address the latter issues here but to say that the world always says it will stick with the old ways until a new generation comes, and then the car or the telephone or hairstyle, or whatever, becomes ubiquitous, then the story is closed, and the argument forgotten.

However, I will address the issue of font size.

This is an issue mainly of interest to Boomers, and to others born with limited vision, rather, sadly, than just from olde age.

However, the Boomers are losing power faster in all respects than the media are willing to show because the media is still controlled by Boomer and even older groups, who will not admit their time went, of even pretending to be middle age. I won’t argue right now that people born in ’65 were the last Boomers, how silly, those Boomers of the real kind were already having kids!!! Continue reading Why The Inventor Of eBooks Says Kindle Won’t Go

EPUB books now available at Project Gutenberg

It was only a few months ago that Project Gutenberg announced an effort to make mobile all editions of their titles available. This was big news, however, in my eyes the latest eBook format to be released by PG is even bigger news.

Project Gutenberg has now made almost all their titles available in the industry ebook standard EPUB and all are DRM free (Digital Rights Management)!

Although EPUB has only embraced as an eBook standard within the last 12 months it has been embraced by many big names including; Sony, Google, Penguin, Harper Collins and Adobe, to name but a few. There are also many EPUB readers available, both software and hardware, that can read books in this format.

For all you gadget lovers, you can read EPUB formatted books on;

  • iPhone and iPod Touch using the very popular Stanza Reader.
  • Google Android and other Linux-based mobile devices using FBReader
  • Sony Reader PRS-505 and PRS-700
  • Apple iPad with many apps; iBooks, Bluefire, Kobo, etc.

Although the Amazon Kindle does not read EPUB files natively, there are several popular programs (Calibre) that will convert our EPUB files so that they can be read on your Kindle device.

There’s also a number of desktop readers such as the wonderful Calibre eBook Management program, and the Stanza Desktop reader.

Onlines readers such as the excellent ibisReader/Bookworm (an online reading application hosted by O’Reilly) allow you to upload your own EPUB books and read them from any computer or mobile device which has a web browser and internet connection – this also includes the Amazon Kindle!

Project Gutenberg Experimental EPUB

It must be stated that at this time, the PG EPUB books should be considered experimental. It’s a huge task to convert  the entire PG collection, so many may be either buggy or not actually work at all.

The EPUB files are generated automatically from the HTML version, if there is one, otherwise the Plain Text file is used. In this case the conversion program must guess at the structure of the text, so it is more than likely that the EPUB book will contain some formatting errors. These can include verse lines running together or paragraphs being marked as headers. Still, they are very readable.

EPUB eBook Reading Software

There are a number of other readers out there so you might want to search around to find your preferred software.

UK Release of the Sony Reader PRS-505

So here we are, just over a week until Waterstones start shipping out those lovely new Sony Reader PRS-505’s to all us UK residents!

This is going to be the first E-Ink reader from one of the big boys to enter the UK market . The Sony Reader has been getting substantial coverage in mainstream media of late, so it will be interesting to see what the take up will be. If forums such as MobileRead are anything to go by then there will be quite a demand.

Don’t know what the Sony Reader Digital Book (PRS-505) is?

The Sony Reader is an electronic book reader that uses an E-Ink screen to give a paper like reading experience. The Reader can hold around 160 books in its 250MB internal memory, but by using the two memory slots (10GB) you could potentially hold 10,000 books. If you don’t think you could fill this then remember that the Gutenberg.org archives have over 20,000 English language books to download for free!! Continue reading UK Release of the Sony Reader PRS-505

Waterstones: first to sell Sony Reader in the UK

Waterstones UK Book ShopGreat news for all us UK based eBook lovers. Sony are finally releasing their Reader Digital Book (PRS-505) to the UK market!

Sony have partnered with the UK book store Waterstones, who will start selling the Reader from 3rd September 2008 for £199 – available for Pre-Order (see below). This costs a little more than the U.S. version, which sells for $299 (approx. £150). Now we are seeing eBook readers entering the high street let’s hope the prices will start tumbling.

The Reader uses an E-Ink Screen, which gives the user a paper like reading experience. You can store around 160 books in the memory and the battery will last for around 6,800 page turns. I myself have the older PRS-500 model and probably only have to charge it once every couple of weeks.

If you are concerned about buying Sony’s propriety eBook format then not to worry, you can also read ePub formatted books as well as PDF files. The .epub format is fast becoming an industry standard and many publishers are releasing their titles in this format, Penguin and HarperColins are just two publishers.

You will be able to buy books from Waterstones.com – all the titles sold at Waterstones will be in the ePub format. There are now a number of software and hardware readers which support the ePub format, so all your purchases will be readable in the years to come, no matter which hardware you then have.

If you wish to read public domain books there are plenty of free ebook sites like epubBooks, which has all titles available in the ePub and Kindle MOBI format.

All the Project Gutenberg eBooks can be read on the Sony Reader. Just download any .txt file and drag onto you reader using the provided software – it really is that easy.

In the future we are hopeful that Sony will release their Reader in other European countries; perhaps Germany will be next.

Sony Reader Digital Book is available to buy from Waterstones.com and Sony.

Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader will go on Sale in the UK

With reference to this Times Online article, it seems that the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader are to be made available in the UK sometime over the next few months — it’s about bloody time!

…the launch of two rival devices due to come on sale in Britain over the next few months – Sony’s Reader and Amazon’s Kindle.

Although I already have my own Sony Reader, which I purchased while still working on the cruise ships out of Florida, I’m hoping this will mean I can start to purchase books for it from the Connect store. At present I have to settle for public domain books (PG, manybooks.net, etc) or download PDF’s from eBooks.com.

Other good news is that the two big British publishers, Random House and Hachette, which together have over 30% of the UK book market, are to offer downloadable versions for many of their top authors, ranging from Delia Smith to Ian McEwan and Michael Parkinson.

According to the article, “every other major publisher is drawing up plans to follow suit” which can only be good for the eBook market.

UPDATE: Sony and Waterstones have teamed up to release the Reader PRS-505 in the UK, available from September 2008.

WordsCloseTogether.com – Search inside PG books!

Sony’s Reader Digital Book and Amazon’s Kindle are battling over their reading devices and the books that they offer. $1.99 at Amazon gets you one public domain book. Amazon boasts: “To use the search feature, simply type in a word or phrase you’re looking for, and Kindle will find every instance…”. Whoops! No combinations of words, no relevance ranking, possibly even no indexing.

Suggestion: Go to WordsCloseTogether.com and download the free copy of The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens onto your Windows XP or Vista computer. Also download the free WCT (Words Close Together) Reader. Open the book, read, browse, and search with a “research quality” search engine — combinations of any words whatsoever, inexact phrases (for example — a better thing I do), all with relevance ranking that would make Google green with envy.

If you like it, give it away! It’s a Project Gutenberg book.

There are over 14,000 more Project Gutenberg books available from that page.
If you want downloads, $2.00 gets you any eight books together with full search ability AND the right to give them away to as many people as you like, AND the right to free updates of your selections for the next six months.

If you like low cost, the DVD option gets you all 14,000+ books. The DVD is ideal for lending libraries, literacy enthusiasts, schools, English teachers, and lovers of English literature. At $25 + $4 shipping for a DVD, that’s one fifth of a cent per book or ONE THOUSAND books for the price of one book on the Amazon Kindle. With vastly better search. And with the right (and our encouragement) to give these Project Gutenberg books away.

Doug Lowry
dlowry@alum.mit.edu

Sony Reader Digital Book (PRS-505)

Sony Reader PRS-505 Silver

The Reader Digital Book (PRS-505) is the latest electronic book reader to be released by Sony. Now being released in a number of different countries (including U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Netherlands), eBooks are set to make a big impact on our everyday reading in the very near future.

The current model has some significant improvements over the old PRS-500 model, the most prominent is the update of the E-Ink screen to the VizPlex technology, which gives faster page refresh times and better contrast. There have also been improvements to the button layout and the way the internal library organizes your books.

After a recent firmware update the Sony Reader now supports ePub formatted books (the new eBook standard), Adobe Digital Editions and reflowable PDF. Strong reasons even for owners of the older PRS-500 to upgrade.

What are the most important improvements in the PRS-505?

  1. The PRS-505 has a new screen that gives faster refresh times, is also a little brighter and now supports 8 shades of gray.
  2. A much improved layout design:
    • Page turn buttons moved the right side of the Reader.
    • The Numerical buttons now match up to the screen numbers so when menus are displayed the appropriate button is to the right of the entry (going top to bottom).
    • The Menu key is now by itself and clearly marked.
    • The Jog stick has been replaced with a four way arrow button and a center Enter button.
  3. Books have become easier to search as there are now tools that sort the books into alphabetical groupings for Titles or Authors.
  4. Two memory card slots (in parallel) that can support up to 2GB (SD) and 8GB (Memory Stick Duo). Because there are two separate slots the total amount of external storage the PRS-505 can support is now up to 10GB!
  5. USB functionality is much improved:
    • Support for the USB 2.0 standard, allowing for faster transfer of data.
    • The PRS-505 can be charged when the battery is fully empty using the USB port of almost any computer, even if there is no software loaded on it. The old PRS-500 needed to be plugged into a PC running pre-installed software before it could charge, and even then it would not charge if the internal Reader’s battery was dead.
  6. The Connect Reader software has been replaced with “eBook Library v2.0″, although this looks and works much like the older software. The only noticeable difference with the new software is that the PRS-505 can use its new Auto-sync feature. Please note that the PRS-505 cannot work with the older Connect Reader software.

Continue reading Sony Reader Digital Book (PRS-505)

Borders and Sony partnership with new online store

Borders is expanding its relationship with Sony, adding the technology company’s e-book reader to over 200 more of its superstores, while also agreeing to develop a co-branded store to facilitate e-book sales. Borders has been selling the Sony Reader in 270 of its superstore since last November and will now offer it for sale in more than 500 outlets. “We have been doing very well with it,” Borders spokesperson Anne Roman said of the Reader. The rollout to additional stores will begin in October.

Also starting next month, Borders will team with Sony to launch a new e-bookstore. Currently, e-book titles for the Reader can only be downloaded through Sony’s Connect online store. According to Roman, the co-branded site will have a separate URL from either the Borders or Sony sites when it launches, but the store will eventually become part of the retailer’s e-commerce site, Borders.com, when that goes live early next year.

Extract taken from;

Borders Expands Sony Reader Outlets, Will Start Store by Jim Milliot
Publishers Weekly, 9/19/2007

Sony Reader PRS-500

UPDATE: The Sony PRS-500 has now been discontinued – its replacement is a big improvement over this version. Check out my article on the Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-505

Possibly one of the most important advancements for eBook readers is the E-Ink® screen technology, and the Sony Reader is the first major commercial device to use it. This technology means reading is almost as natural as reading on paper.

The Reader is very simple to use and provides an excellent reading experience and with a battery life that lasts well over 7000 page turns you won’t be dashing back home to recharge.

Sony currently has well over 10,000 best-seller titles in their CONNECT eBook store, although they presently have very few technology books available (Internet, Programming, Graphics Design, etc.), the E-Ink® technology is constantly improving and once we have large color screens, we may start to see more of these type of book being made available.

Here’s the official Sony blurb;

The Portable Reader offers a new and convenient digital reading experience. It boasts an amazing screen with technology that rivals text on paper. Weighing less than 9 ounces2 and at only 1/2″ thin, it’s more compact than many paperbacks. Plus, it comes with a soft, black cover and software that seamlessly allows you to search and browse thousands of electronic book titles from the Connect? eBookstore and then easily transfer from your PC to your Sony Reader. With built-in memory and multi-format support, you can take many of your favorite titles and documents with you. So compact and convenient, you’ll want to take it everywhere. MP3 & Portable Electronics Portable Reader PRS-500

Sony Reader PRS-500

Sony’s current retail price is: $279.99.

Since buying my Reader in December (2006) my eBook reading experience has certainly improved. Although there are now several other devices on the market (which I haven’t tried yet), I would certainly have to recommend this.