maybe ereaders don’t suck entirely.

So I got this little gadget a few days ago:

I know that I’ve been rather skeptical about the utility and value of dedicated ebook readers in the past.  After a few days of using this one (a Sony Reader Pocket Edition), I have to say that it’s mighty convenient.  You can pick up where you left off without having to worry about keeping your page, it’s much easier to read one-handed, and being able to carry around a few hundred paperbacks in a cargo pocket may come in handy during longer trips.

This one’s not a Kindle, so there’s no wireless downloading of books directly to the device.  You have to use Sony’s Reader Library software to access their ebook store, but the Sony supports all sorts of open standards.  I downloaded a ton of ebooks in .epub format from various places on the Intertubes, and transferring them to the Reader doesn’t even require the use of the software.  The Sony mounts on the desktop like a flash drive, and you can just drag the .epub files onto the storage directory.  It doesn’t have the bells and wistles of the Kindle or the nook, but it’s also much easier to pocket, a little more robust, half as expensive, and nobody *coughamazon* will be able to reach in remotely and mess with my stuff.

Now, I’m not about to get rid of the paper library, but I guess the ereader idea isn’t completely silly.  I’m enjoying this one, and may even start buying books for it if I can’t get a hold of the paper version quickly at my local bookstore.  I’ve been mostly on my back the last few days thanks to a visit from the Sciatica Fairy, and so far, I’ve read two novels on the Sony–John Scalzi’s “Agent to the Stars”, and Naomi Novik’s “His Majesty’s Dragon”.  (Further proof that ebooks drive sales of paper books: I liked “His Majesty’s Dragon” so much that I ordered the rest of the Temeraire series on paper.)

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some pills to pop, and then I’ll continue following the exploits of a certain fantasy heroine.  (Bonus geek points if you can name the book from the chapter excerpt on the screen in the picture.)


16 thoughts on “maybe ereaders don’t suck entirely.

  1. Leatherwing says:

    You’ve done me a favor. Just a couple of days ago I was trying to remember that book, but couldn’t remember the heroine’s name. I knew the series was the _____ of _____, but couldn’t fill in either blank successfully. I enjoyed the series quite a bit.

    Hope your back gets better.

  2. Alex says:

    I’ve had my Sony PRS-505 since November, and I love it. I also found that I could get ebooks from just about anywhere and even make my own to put on the Sony. I probably average about a novel a week, and I love the form factor.

  3. Where is Sheepfarmer’s daughter available for free?

    I did exactly the same thing (except I bought from the evil empire electronically; what can I say, convenience triumphs over all) for Novik – and her next one doesn’t come out for three weeks!

  4. Heath J says:

    You like the Temeraire series?

    A friend of mine loaded my MP3 player with Audio books of all but the present one. They’re really good, if you’d like copies, shoot me an email.

    (I’ve tried to negate that bit of piracy by buying all of her books, they’re excellent)

  5. AJD says:

    The Stanza software on my iPhone is the single biggest reason I have for putting up with Apple’s BS and not switching to an android phone. (Having almost two hundred books with me from Baen’s Free Library, and paid downloads from more than make up for annoyances. So, I don’t feel as large a need to switch.)
    And yes, “The Deed of Paksenarrion” is a fantastic read.

  6. Dogzard says:

    Isn’t she doing a new book in this same series?

  7. Tam says:

    Deed of Paksennarion made me sad. The series started off with such great promise, but the third book was kind of a letdown from the first two.

    Based on further experience with Elizabeth Moon, whoever makes her commit to trilogies should be taken out and shot. Her characters and settings hold up brilliantly for a book or a book-and-a-half, but get that “contractual obligation” feeling in the last volume. It makes me sad.

    Let Paks be Paks, dammit!

  8. Gregg says:

    Sheepfarmer’s Daughter by Elizabeth Moon. Heh, didn’t even look at Baen’s website, nor the comments yet.

  9. BryanP says:

    Dangit, I’ve got a big pile of books to read, I don’t need to go dragging out Paks yet again.

    I see where B&N and Amazon are dropping the price on Nook & Kindle. Gotta wonder why anyone would buy one when for a few $ more you can buy an ipad or one of it’s competitors. I’ll stick with paper for now, but I’m keeping an eye on these things.

  10. Michael G. says:

    I’m glad to see another Sony reader owner. Both me and my wife have PRS-505s.

    Make sure you check out Calibre (, a free program for e-book library management and conversion to and from various formats, with native support for Sony readers.

  11. pax says:

    We bought one of our sons (the fastest reader) a Sony Reader for Christmas as a way to keep the peace during family car trips. Seems his brothers were perpetually irritated by his huge pile of books spilling over into their seats, and he was always annoyed that his books kept getting messed up by being tossed into the corners of the car. The eReader solved both problems nicely — and as an added bonus, we’ve come to an agreement where I’ll reload as many books as he likes, as often as he likes, provided that he reads the rare “vegetables” I load in among the “candy” before I load the next set of books for him.

  12. tweell says:

    Oath of Fealty, the Paks sequel by Elizabeth Moon, is indeed out in hardbound. Sadly, I was not that impressed. There was a lot of muddling around and setup for another book, not much good stuff.
    No Kindle for me, my laptop works well enough for ebooks. I’m not paying for DRM chains either, so Baen is about the only publisher I have bought ebooks from.

  13. Ken says:

    I got a PRS-600 Touch for Father’s Day, and loaded it up with books from Gutenberg (finally reading War and Peace).

  14. Will says:

    I thought Moon’s Vatta series was good (5 books?). Also liked her “Once a Hero” series, but it seemed to get lost after a couple-three? or so. Started her Paks series, but haven’t gotten to #2 yet.

    he reads in the car? I did that as a kid, but some people get motion suckness doing that. Hmmm, I’ve actually read a book on the back of a roommates motorcycle, traveling up I-95. Nothing to see at that point of the trip. My bike was being shipped home due to a main bearing failure.

  15. Jared says:

    I received a cast off kindle a couple weeks ago. I really like it. There’s a ton of free content and the amazon prices are reasonably fair.

    The thing that really sold it for me though was the ability to change the font size. When I’m reading in bed at night in dim light, with tired or sleepy eyes, a big font really helps. But during the day you can take it down to a normal size and minimize the frequency of hitting the page button.

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