Other Media Review

Sony 505 Review: It’s not Sony. It’s DRM - by Liz

Used by permission of Sony Electronics IncDid you ever meet someone who wasn’t what you thought you wanted but fit perfectly into your life? Did you? And what happened next? It wasn’t toilet seats up or socks on the floor, was it? Those things you can deal with. No, at some point in those happy halcyon days you met the in-laws. And it all came crashing down. You realized he’d never break free of his mother, he realized you look exactly like yours. The birds stopped singing in the trees and started crashing dead at your feet. A future spent at those family gatherings was unimaginable so you went your separate ways. I’m feeling that way about the Sony 505 today. I’m hoping we can work it out.

I once thought I would have paper pried from my cold dead hands, but (while I was waiting for Kindle to call) Smart Bitches offered me a test drive. “C’mon, no strings.” Sony wanted me to spend time with the sexy 505, and who doesn’t prefer to be the object of desire to the object who is desiring? Sony made me rethink my view of reading and imagine us together, forever, blissful. Everyone needed to meet Sony. Friends, strangers, telemarketers. Even the sky looked brighter. There was just one tiny thing.

Sony needed to talk. Sony had some baggage, a little thing called DRM. So what? This was 505 and I loved our relationship. Also, I was Apple and Sony had been raised Windows. Sony promised to convert, one day, and in the meantime we could work around it together. Sony was my everything. We just couldn’t be together in public. I had to find a Windows family and get my permissions straight. Also, I needed to download Adobe plug-ins. Adobe said my internal time clock wasn’t what they were expecting. I tried to explain it had been born that way. Sorry, go Sudo your Root Tree.

I think, like most people, I had no idea how to Sudo my Root Tree and 13 hours later I hadn’t learned (enter tech support). It was like buying a luxury sedan and only being allowed to drive it when wearing the exact same clothes as when I bought it. A change in hairstyle, a lost blouse, and it’s a very expensive brick in the garage. I ran to a Windows machine and the Sony Bookstore. Slow, expensive, a little annoying, but easy!  Sony and I could face anything!

Except, well, I had forgotten to get Adobe’s permission. It’s so hard to have the open relationship Sony promised me. I’m scared of investing so much and ending up with nothing. But when I hold Sony 505 in my hands, I just want us to be together and go back to the good times. I want to forget about DRM. I want to believe that when Sony converts, this will all melt away and be a bad memory. But some days are harder than others.

Twenty (Two) Things About Sony (in no particular order)

Ten Things I Love About Sony’s PRS-505

1) It’s red. A really, really hot red. Or sleek silver, or mysterious blue…..
2) It’s intuitive. The ‘manual’ is completely optional.
3) The contrast is actually better in bright light than a conventional book.
4) I can put clothes in my carry-on luggage now.
5) The kids can’t ‘forget’ their reading assignment, it’s on the Sony.
6) Freedom to shop around.
7) Control over what I add and when. No need to announce what it is to the world.
8) No squinting, instant large print.
9) Great size and weight. Makes the Kindle look deformed and antiquated.
10) My husband can’t add his multi language proprietary corporate pdf’s or make notes all over them.

Bonus Thing

1) It makes me look thinner, taller and less intimidatingly intelligent, I am sure.

Ten Things I Dislike About Sony’s PRS-505 (or, to be fair, the e-reader world)

1) My husband can’t add his multi language proprietary corporate pdf’s or make notes all over them.
2) Mobi and PDF and E-Pub, oh my! Too many formats, too disinterested to figure out which I need.
3) DRM. After figuring out which to buy, the hoops to jump through should stop.
4) The potential that after jumping through the hoops (and paying to do so) the hoops will be moved.
5) My library stopped offering e-books.
6) The plastic bar that locks the reader into it’s sleeve seems flimsy and destined to snap.
7) The lack (and cost) of awesome covers to replace the um, elderly maroon pleather one included.
8) How grabby it makes my friends who have their own toys to play with thank you very much.
9) If I wasn’t a Test Driver the DRM would have made me return it instantly, thereby missing out on the extremely awesome world of e-reading.
10) There’s no model option for lefty Apple users.

Bonus Thing

1) I’m supposed to give it back.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1

    I’m finding all of these ebook reviews useful and interesting, both as an ebook reader and as an author published in e-format.  I’m still reading ebooks off of my laptop, but I’m about ready to make the plunge and buy a dedicated reader.  Thanks for all the great reviews!

  2. 2
    DS says:

    Very entertaining.  I’m in a monogamous relationship right now but you never know—polygamy has never been outside of the realm of possibility if the features are attractive enough.  Don’t think it is going to be Sony 505 though.

  3. 3
    Estara says:

    I’m quite happy with my Sony 505 having educated myself about the limitations beforehand (and being a Windows XP user). I’m using Calibre almost exclusively – for downloading the purchased books I use Adobe Editions – I don’t buy Sony’s own format, only epub or Adobe pdf and there is software to get rid of the DRM which I do no hesitate to use, seeing as I paid for the content in the first place.

    If e-published books are not available to me – as can be the case since I live in Germany – I buy them in paperback via Amazon, which is happy to sell them to me, maybe I even buy them used, which isn’t so fun for the author.

    These days – except for incredibly beautiful covers on physical books or when I want to support an author in hardcover – I prefer buying ebooks.

    Some publishers or some editors ought to work on the e-editions some more though, the layouts are sometimes extremely horrible as is the spell-checking. The Heaving Bosoms I bought from BooksonBoard for example was partially unreadable – not because the words weren’t there, but with the amount of graphics and referral to them in the place they should show up and then not being there, or being too large for the Sony screen really – and with the amount of spelling mistakes – I don’t think Beyond Heaving Bosoms is a book to be read on an eReader.

  4. 4
    Jessica says:

    As a dedicated mac users all these reviews are just making me really glad I bought a Kindle a few months ago.  It was open the box plug in and start using.  No computer needed, and when I did plug it into my computer to upload some audiobooks (LOVE that feature and its a Kindle exclusive) it was so simple and straightforward.

    I have an ipod touch that I could read on and I even have a few books on it, but I dont like it nearly as much as my Kindle.  Yesterday I found that the Kindle was so much easier on my eyes out on my bright sunny porch than either my computer (I was trying to get some work done) or my regular book.

  5. 5
    Lisa J says:

    I agree with Estara.  My 505 makes me very happy.  I researched e-readers for a year and a half before buying it and I knew what it woudl and would not do, so no disappointment.  Being a PC user proramming has not been an issue.

    PDF and ePUB without DRM are the only things I buy, that way I can read at work on my computer or on my reader at home.

  6. 6
    liz m says:

    @ Jessica – One of my friends has decided to go Kindle because of the lack of wifi support on the Sony. I rejected the Kindle because of it’s closed nature – I was attracted to it initially, but for me the inability to shop around was a deal breaker.

  7. 7
    library addict says:

    The Sony 505 & 700 play mp3 and AAC files, so you can listen to audio books on them as well.

  8. 8
    Stephanie says:

    I’m very good at Sudo-ing my Root Tree, and if a Windows (or Mac) item told you to do that, there’s a problem . . . But yeah, the whole DRM thing for everything drives me crazy as well.

  9. 9
    Clothdragon says:

    Today’s Unshelved Comic was on the same topic:

  10. 10
    Suzanne says:

    I’m looking forward to the day that Apple brings out its version of a reader……that may be the day I convert.

  11. 11
    RKB says:

    I’ve said this in another review, but I have a Mac and a Sony 505 that works perfectly well.  I refuse to buy DRM books because DRM is evil, thus I can transfer plenty of books from my Mac to my Sony 505 just fine.  The Sony 505 looks like a hard drive to my Mac, so I just copy over all my DRM-free books to it.

  12. 12
    Tanya says:

    Alas, one of my joyous surprises about my kindle is the left handed page turning option. I am left handed and it is the knees of the bees to have that ability.

    My sister-in-law also did the test drive of the sony 505.
    She thought all the set up and hoop jumping was a giant pain in the ass.

  13. 13

    Is it possible to read Kindle formatted books on the Sony? I’m still trying to decide which e-reader to buy and I keep going back and forth. As a mac user, I don’t like to deal with root trees either :P

  14. 14
    Estara says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    The MobileRead forums are a good resource for in-depth questions of that nature, although Dear Author has also had a lot of good articles about these things (just more difficult to search).

    The Ereader Matrix ought to answer your question (and maybe some you hadn’t thought of?). Everyone seems to agree that calibre is the best software for it all:

    calibre is meant to be a complete e-library solution and thus includes library management, format conversion, news feeds to ebook conversion, as well as e-book reader sync features and an integrated e-book viewer.

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