Other Media Review

Sony 505 Review: A Report from Corrina

Used by permission of Sony Electronics IncIn retrospect, I think I expected a wondrous magical device.

When I was picked to test drive the Sony eReader, I was more than thrilled. I could buy books, load up my reader with as many as I wanted, and never run out of something to read. My kids were happy, too, because they could get a book FAST without waiting for it to show up in the mail or running to the bookstore. (Kids. Instant gratification is all they want. J

I thought that my whole reading life was about to change.

Not so much.

The stuff I believed would be problems actually turned out not to be a problems and I ran into problems I didn’t anticipate.

I worried that I could never enjoy reading without a physical book in my hand. But the reader feels substantia. I held it just like a book and I soon forgot that I wasn’t holding a paper-bound book.

The text is readable and I just love the feature that allows you to switch to large print in one click. Love the large print to pieces.

I also noticed that I had a bad habit of skimming ahead when reading, until I’d get to a part where I started paying attention again. The eReader forced me to pay attention to all words on the page because I couldn’t flip back nearly as fast. And this helped me focus and get more into the book. Score one for technology.

We did load up on books. Project Gutenberg was very helpful, as I picked up some obscure Arthur Conan Doyle works, and the kids pulled some classics, including Alice in Wonderland. Books in the public domain for free!

But there were some technical issues. Without Calibre, it would have been difficult to sort out how to download from other sites beside the Sony on-line store. Registering the eReader with Sony and at the store took much longer than I thought, as there were far more steps than, say, an iPod, which is basically plug-in, input registration number, and you’re off.

And the wide variety of formats for ebooks confused me, as some are compatible with the eReader and some were not.

But the biggest problem is that I found I couldn’t take it everywhere, like the bathroom (my biggest refuge!) or to the YMCA when watching swim lessons. A little water on a paperback is no big deal but a huge problem for anything electronic.

I also can’t send on a book I love to someone else without passing on the eReader, which I really did not want to do. J I understand the reasons for this and, as an author coming out with an ebook next year, I sure don’t want anyone copying my book illegally. But I don’t like the lack of used book portability.

But the main issue is not the Sony eReader.

It’s me.

I expected because the eReader made it so easy to download and obtain books that it would also somehow magically create extra time in my day to read. I might have got it confused with that whatchamacallit that Hermione used in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” which gave her extra hours in the day. (That seems to be what I need. Dammit.)

If I traveled a lot, I’d be all over this, as it’s far easier and lighter to take on planes than a load of books, so I’d recommend it for anyone with that lifestyle.

But until my life gets a little less crazy, the Sony eReader is of limited use to me.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    MamaNice says:

    Ditto the no bathtub/pool issue (though I know some people stuck the reader in a ziploc bag and managed that way…)
    And I agree about the sharing thing, my friends and I are always trading paperbacks.

    As to the rest, I guess my experience was just the opposite: I really liked the Sony reader BECAUSE my schedule is so crazy…the Reader’s features make it a lot easier to squeeze tidbits of reading anytime and anywhere into my day and I’m zooming through books much faster than before this little device came into my life.

  2. 2
    Lostshadows says:

    I might have got it confused with that whatchamacallit that Hermione used in “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” which gave her extra hours in the day. (That seems to be what I need. Dammit.)

    Does anybody out there not need a Time Turner?

    When I was considering all the disadvantages to e-readers, I never even thought of the whole water problem.

  3. 3
    Carla says:

    I read my reader in the bathtub and at the pool all the time. Just zip it up in a gallon size ziploc bag and you have a water resistant reader.

  4. 4
    Ashley Ladd says:

    I love to read in the tub and I love to read at my kids ball games. That’s not possible to use e-readers near water or out in the sun.

    Otherwise, I’d love to have one. I really need the larger print these days.

  5. 5
    teshara says:

    I want a Time-Turner, too…..

    Hee hee! Either way, you guys have me nearly sold on this because:

    1) My house is getting to be a death trap because of all the books and you can even buy manga!

    2) It bothers me that books aren’t being printed on recycled paper yet. (come one people! Get with the program!)

    3) I’m an ADD reader and it will allow me to carry around way more than one book at a time, saving my back, and yet another purse that’s about to lose it’s strap from the weight.

    I think I want to get the big one instead of the pocket one because it has a slot for memory cards…

    They SHOULD make a waterproof sleeve for it, though. I live in a rainy area and I have literally been walking down the street and it’s started raining so hard I’m completely drenched in the few minutes it’s taken me to sprint 4 houses to my destination.

    Either that, or I’m going to have to invest in a waterproof purse just to carry it about. >:P

  6. 6
    brooksse says:

    My Sony reader did create extra reading time… for me at least. I was reading ebooks on my laptop, which doesn’t fit so well in my purse. And I hardly ever carried paperbacks around with me. So I was pretty much limited to reading at home. But my Sony reader goes everywhere my purse goes. Which is pretty much everywhere I go.  ;-)  So now I can read on my lunch hour, while waiting in line, etc.

    For me, the pros outweigh the cons:
    1. It can go anywhere my purse goes
    2. Dozens of books on one small device
    3. No more skipping pages or reading ahead
    4. No more losing my place in a book
    5. Instant gratification – buy online, download, and start reading in minutes
    6. Adjustable text sizes
    7. Better selection than in a brick & mortar store
    8. No more driving around looking for used books, or waiting for someone to trade one in or for one to be delivered
    9. Easier to comparison shop for the best price
    10. Saves trees
    11. Less energy to manufacture, distribute, sell, buy, and dispose of
    12. Less clutter around the house

  7. 7
    Beki says:

    In a couple years my sweetheart and I will be living mostly out of an RV due to his work.  THIS is going to be the answer to where the hell do I put all my books in a damn RV.  So, there’s that.

    And the solution of the Ziploc near water is cheap enough to warm my frugal little heart.

  8. 8
    Diana says:

    To keep my Sony 505 Reader dry, I have a water resistant, “leisure” case that I bought from…somewhere.  Amazon, maybe?  Since I live in Florida (humid + constant afternoon showers + my backyard pool), it’s been a real life saver.  I just never take my Reader out of my case, and I can push the Reader’s buttons through the plastic cover that shields the screen.  Not a perfect solution, but it’s slightly more attractive than the ziplock bag I used to use.  :/

    Overall, I think the 505 is great.  I’m with brooksse on the “instant gratification” thing, too.  It’s nice to sit at home and just download books…instantly.  On the downside, though, I’m constantly worried that my computer is going to crash and that I’ll lose my entire library.  Even though I do OCD-like backups on several different USBs, this isn’t something I have to worry about with my physical, print books.

  9. 9
    ev says:

    I would love to know where you got the case. I tried to find something, anything, to carry my sony in my purse so it wouldn’t accidentally get scratched, and the one I did find was huge. It was more for the Kindle than the Sony although it was advertised for them both.

    I still use the ziplock bag when I am out where it might get wet or sand in it.Works great and I don’t care about looks!!

  10. 10
    Joy says:

    I love to read in the tub and I love to read at my kids ball games. That’s not possible to use e-readers near water or out in the sun.

    The Sony is actually quite good in the sun.  I took mine to Belize and read 3 books in the sun by and in the pool.  I was brave and took my reader carefully into the pool and out on boats.

  11. 11
    Lee Rowan says:

    Don’t forget that electronics aren’t happy about HEAT, either.  A tub that’s comfy for you would fry a reader.  Maybe a slip-proof stand that holds the reader at a comfortable height, with a cheap replaceable remote to move the text along?

    As a writer who has lost sales to e-book thieves’ “sharing” sites, I still think a person ought to be allowed to pass ONE copy of an e-book along before erasing it from her hard drive.  I have ebooks I’ve read once and never will again, and some I’ve never finished.  I wish there were a legal way to simply hand these off to someone else the way I would with a paperback.  I think this restriction goads some people into posting books in an “I’ll show them!” response.  A few copies here and there don’t hurt.  Thousands of stolen downloads cut into a writer’s livelihood.

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