Electronic Readers, Post the Second

I has one. Back in May I mentioned that I wanted one on account of all the elecronic documents I read. I tried reading on my iPhone but it did not work out: too small and awkward.

After talking to friends and hearing what youse lot think I wound up getting a Sony 505. While it’s not perfect and lacks many features I want,1 it’s made a huge difference. While flying home to Sydney, I did not have to carry the usual 5 books in my backpack on top of the entire suitcase of books. All I carried was the eReader. My back thanks me. Profusely.

It turned out that the incompatibility with my Mac was not a problem thanks to this fabulous software, Calibre, which is incredibly easy to use and is yet to fail me in any way shape or form. Bless you, Calibre.

As predicted I’ve been using it to read manuscripts by friends, books I’ve been asked to blurb, and public-domain research and comfort books. (I’m yet to buy an ebook.) My eyes don’t get nearly as sore as they do when reading onscreen with my computer and I can curl up with my eReader, which I can’t do with my computer even though it’s wee (for a computer).

So, yes, I’m very happy I bought an eReader. However, I’m still waiting for the iPhone to have its own native eReader which is not tied to any particular retailer. Because I would like to have my portable electonic needs—music, mail, podcasts, camera, ebooks, texting, phone calls (ugh)—in the one location. I want an iPHone that’s roughly the same size as my Sony Reader. When that happens I’ll start buying ebooks.2

In the meantime, being able to read Pride & Prejudice, My Brilliant Career, Anne of Green Gables, Alice in Wonderland, The Getting of Wisdom and Ivanhoe whenever I want to is vastly happy making. I’m off to go make a donation to Project Gutenberg for making that possible (and to Calibre as well). Bless!

  1. It does not produce mangosteens whenever I want them or set off fireworks. Honestly! []
  2. Though I’m not going to buy ebooks without being able to preview what I’m buying. There are still too many companies not providing previews. I’ve had several friends who buy ebooks report that are still companies out there selling ebooks that are poorly proofed scans. Sometimes of paper texts. Not good enough. []


  1. Steph on #

    I’d love to get an e-reader, but I have to say, I really love reading a physical book (you can’t sniff the pages of an e-book. Which is okay if you’re an ordinary person, but when you’re kooky and addicted to books, it’s simply something you can’t live without).

    I’m just curious – would an author get less royalties on e-books?

  2. Justine on #

    Having an ereader does not bar you from readingy physical books, Steph. I’m fascinated that so many people see it as an either/or. Especially as every single person I know who has an ereader also has a huge library of physical books. Including myself.

    I don’t know about royalties on ebooks as I haven’t sold any.

  3. Julia Rios on #

    Thanks for sharing your impressions. How does page turning work?

  4. Justine on #

    Julia: You just press a button. Easy. For some PDFs there’s a lag time. But for rtfs it’s about as fast as turning a paper page.

  5. Paige on #

    I’m with you, Steph. There’s just something about the smell of a book that’s just divine.

  6. Justine on #

    Paige: I think you can take it as read that everyone here loves books. I’m curious why you believe that there’s an either/or operating here. Why did you feel you must declare your love of physical books? I did not anywhere say a word against them. My house is full of them. I make my living from them.

  7. Sam on #

    I’m also a recent convert to ebooks – so convenient! I use Stanza on my iPhone to read them. I’ve found that once I increased the text size and jacked up the line-spacing, reading on the tiny screen is no problem.

  8. Joanthan Strahan on #

    The thing about ebooks vs. printed books is that they’re not an either/or thing. You can want and have both. I have a big stereo at home with perfect speakers etc etc AND I have an Ipod. I want perfect sound at home, but on the road I’m delighted to have something light and portable and useful. It’s win/win. Same with printed books and electronic readers. They go together, they don’t replace one another.

  9. Steph on #

    Justine – I don’t think it is either/or. I would love to have an ereader and an expansive library of physical books too.

    What would be really, really perfect, though, is if ereaders came with built in ‘new book scent’.

  10. Justine on #

    Sam: Glad it worked for you. I know heaps of people who swear by reading on their iPhones.

    Jonathan: Exactly!

    Steph: Maybe you could spray your ereader with wood pulp and binding glue?

  11. Tero on #

    I’ve been wanting an ereader for a good while now, and it finally seems someone has come close enough for what I want with the Sony Reader Touch Edition (http://tr.im/xC9N). Touch screen, search, dictionary, and note taking by scribbling in the margins, highlighting text, etc.

    Won’t stop me bying paper books, though. Maybe even the opposite: if I can have electronic versions of some books I don’t really read from cover to cover any more but might need for reference, that would release some (sorely lacking) space in the bookshelf for new books.

  12. Justine on #

    Tero: Exactly. I was thrilled to be able to get rid of all my dictionaries and encyclopedias. More room for first editions of the novels I love!

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