in It's a digital world, On the road | 1 comment »

Sony e-reader, perfect book for nu-nomads

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When on the road and living out of one or two bags, minimizing what you take can be one of the biggest challenges.

We managed to get our stuff into three bags, although this was only achieved after rearranging our luggage at least twice…. One way is to throw stuff out, another is to find the best solution. No-one would think of bringing a portable CD player and CDs any more, whereas everyone would gladly take an iPod or mp3 player.

One way to limit your luggage is by tossing things out; another way is to think efficiently and look for the best possible solutions. After all, no one in their right mind will think of packing a portable cd-player and a selection of compact discs. Instead of that, it’s a no-brainer to reach for your iPod or mp3-player. And while it may not come to mind immediately, there is a similar solution when it comes to the books you want to read while traveling.

For books, an e-reader would seem to be a similar type of solution. I admit that taking the e-reader was Catherine’s idea; “We’ll save tons by taking this one device”. I wasn’t convinced; I like reading books – real books. But I had to admit that my ‘paper’ versions added a lot of weight and volume to the luggage, especially when you consider you’re only allowed to take one suitcase along.

So when our friends at Sony offered us one to test, Catherine jumped with joy, while I was secretly happy that I’d have the chance to test such a device. Now I’m totally convinced and I don’t miss the paper at all. “Convinced” as in ‘Catherine didn’t get the chance to read on the e-reader yet as it’s in my hands all the time’. Some forty-two books came along, and I have already devoured two of them.

I think of it as the iPod for books. (I know Apple is featuring the iPad for this, but I’m not convinced the iPad is really the best device for reading.) Sony offered us the Touch Reader. In fact we had to choose between the Pocket version and the Touch, and I chose the Touch because, being used to an iPhone, I was convinced I’d try to touch the screen all the time.

Now I know better; navigation through the buttons is really easy, and I don’t miss the touch aspect at all. Sony warned us that the screen of the Touch is rather ‘glossy’ compared to the Pocket version. However, I don’t have any real problems with it; it performs really well, even in the sun.

This is something I really doubt the future iPad will be able to offer. I admit that I’m totally in love with the yet-to-come device, but don’t yet believe it has an easily readable screen. I think it will be perfect for ‘glossies’ rather than books.

There are some nice extras on this luxury version; in particular mp3, which is nice. I only wish I could get rid of that background noise.

The device is tiny (yet only “medium” compared to the travel version Sony also offers) which is perfect for me. It fits in the messenger bag which I always take along, but it still has the feeling of a small pocket book. Any bigger and it wouldn’t be practical, any smaller and would feel too small, in my opinion.
It’s also light-weight; you don’t feel as though you’re carrying anything, which makes it superb!

Other pluses? Well, the battery lasts forever, you can add memory by using SD cards, and the device feels nice and sturdy.

On the down side, the program Sony offers isn’t the real deal; you have to drag and drop manually. A system like iTunes with a ’sync’ feature would totally rock, and work so much better.

Also, the Sony e-readers don’t have the free 3G which Amazon offers with its Kindle, nor does it have the in-shop. This means you need to buy books via your computer and then add them to your device. Their store is only accessible from the US and Canada, while the Bol.com version for Dutch books is a whole lot more expensive. (You can work around this through gift cards.)

But if you’re US/Canada based, the Bookstore is easy and very affordable. They have books in English at $5-10, and a massive collection. (The Dutch Bol.com is not that cheap, unfortunately…) Sony also uses the open format, which means you can easily add your own books and PDFs.

The Touch reader doesn’t come cheap (although €299 isn’t really expensive either), yet the Pocket version s very affordable (even cheaper than the Kindle at €199).

In the States, Sony have released the Reader Daily Edition i which allows you to download your books wirelessly. It’s like the Touch, but with a 7-inch screen and built-in 3G. Just like the Kindle, it allows you to download books and subscriptions (from newspapers) on the road, for free. This version only works in the US, but will probably extend to Europe and the UK in the future.

For us, the Reader has been one of the best add-ons for our trip, making reading on the road fun, and our luggage more portable. :)

Interested? Buy the Sony e-reader here

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One Response to “Sony e-reader, perfect book for nu-nomads”

  1. YvesHanoulle says:

    I have moved 4 boxes full of books. (probably more then 160 books) to Bordeaux.
    An e-reader would be great for me.
    Except the main reason I brought all my books, is to share them with the teams I’m coaching.
    I’m will buy one in the next year or two, but the publishers have to solve the sharing problem.
    I have no problem not being able to read my copy as long as someone else is reading it. That is fine for me. And if they do it smart, I can actually see to who I have borrowed my books (I now use Librarything.com to track this) If they would offer me a way to retrack the version; (why not I’m the owner) that is even better. All of these are big advantages for a person reading and sharing lots of books.

    Apart form that, not having to take a suitcase of books with me on my holidays but still being able to read anything I like would be great….

    y

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