Tag Archives: reader

New Sony Readers

I started writing my previous blog post on the price of Sony Readers last week, but only published it this morning.  Andy Kemp on Twitter told me that today Sony have announced their new range of ebook readers and linked to the story on Engadget.

Sony’s tweaked its entire Reader line up — the Pocket, Touch, and Daily editions — by adding improved optical touchscreens, speeding up page turns with E Ink Pearl displays and slimming down the brushed aluminum hardware. Beyond that, it’s also updated its Daily Edition with WiFi — there’s still no connectivity options for the other two.

Engdget have reviewed all three new models with the cheapest reader now $179 which here in the UK would translate to roughly £136 so the cheap models in Waterstones are still pretty good value for money as is the new Kindle from Amazon at £109.

Listening to TWiT on the way into work this morning a lot of discussion by the panel on the pricing of the Kindle and an expectation that the price would drop again. Remember when the Kindle first came out it was $399 and now is just $139. In a year or two it might be $40 and after that free when you buy four or five books from Amazon!

It is an interesting time for ebook readers.

Books that teachers can rewrite digitally

The New York Times reports on the introduction by Macmillan of DynamicBooks.

Macmillan, one of the five largest publishers of trade books and textbooks, is introducing software called DynamicBooks, which will allow college instructors to edit digital editions of textbooks and customize them for their individual classes.

Professors will be able to reorganize or delete chapters; upload course syllabuses, notes, videos, pictures and graphs; and perhaps most notably, rewrite or delete individual paragraphs, equations or illustrations.

I have in a previous blog post, just before the release of Apple’s iPad discussed Sports Illustrated’s concept of a digital magazine. Current e-Books are either very much plain text with simple diagrams (designed to be read on e-Book Readers) or can only be accessed through a browser (such as Ebrary).

Since seeing the iPad, and having talked about e-Books in the past, I can see future e-Books being more than text, with animated diagrams, video clips. DynamicBooks allows practitioners even more control in these new e-Books.

Interesting to note that:

The modifiable e-book editions will be much cheaper than traditional print textbooks.

This may mean that there will be a first choice for many practitioners and learners.

Sony eBook Reader software for the Mac

Only yesterday I mentioned that Sony were releasing new eBook Readers, today another piece of news from Sony.

I do have the older PRS-505 model and though I have two hundred odd (old) books on there (which came with the device) I haven’t really made best use of the Reader, partly as the software was Windows only and I generally on a day to day basis use a Mac.

So I was pleased to hear today that Sony have released eBook Reader software for the Mac. It was relatively easy to download, install and use.

Might start using the Reader more now…

Download the software from Sony.

Sony eBook Reader – First Impressions

Though I would have preferred a Kindle, in the end (as the Kindle is not available in the UK) we ordered some Sony eBook readers for assesment and evaluation at the college to see if they would be of any use for our learners. We got the Sony PRS 505 eBook Reader model.

Sony eBook Reader - First Impressions

So what are my first impressions then?

I did like the size and weight and the fact that it came with a leather case. It felt right and looked good.

Then I was initially disappointed that there was no native Mac support. Sony eBook Library is not officially supported on Mac OS X or Linux based systems, although when the device is connected it grants access to its internal flash memory as though it were a USB Mass Storage device allowing the user to transfer files directly. There are some third party applications and I have found (but not yet tried) Docudesk PRS Browser for the Mac.

So once I had access to a Windows PC, I installed the software, though I had to charge the device first. The device is charged by USB, though it has a 5V charging socket, it does not come with a charger (but the PSP one fits and works fine, not sure if I should recommend that).

After configuring I installed the “free” hundred classic books which come with the device and at this point not worry about buying any eBooks. I have been recommended to use WHSmith over Waterstones as WHSmith is “cheaper”.

The process of reading a book is quite simple and the screen is easy to read. I haven’t had a chance to read a whole book, but initial impressions was that the screen was not going to be too hard on the eyes. The controls are relatively simple, but there is no touchscreen (and as I am use to PDAs and the iPod touch) it was difficult not to touch or swipe the screen.

The Sony Reader can also show pictures (admittedly in greyscale) and play audio files.

So why would you want to use an eBook reader?

Well though you can use eBooks on a regular computer or laptop, the battery life on eBook readers is a lot longer and therefore will probably last the week unlike a laptop which would probably only last the morning.

It should also be possible (with SD Card and Memory Stick slots) to “give” students all their learning materials, assignments, etc as eBooks so there would be no need to download stuff from the institutional VLE.

Why would you use this over a laptop?

Personally I wouldn’t. I would more likely use it in conjunction with a laptop, using the Reader to read source material and the laptop to write it. I also think this would stop or deter the learner from potentially plagiarising a source by copying and pasting.

Overall my first impressions are very positive and I think it is a great device. Whether I will use it and use it extensively has yet to be seen.

Sony eBook Reader

We have been looking at e-Books for a while now, but of course we currently don’t have anything except computers (and mobile devices) to read them with.

Here in the UK we are unable to get Amazon’s Kindle though that may change on the future.

I have previously mentioned Sony’s e-Book Reader before, Mobile Tech Review have a review of the new PRS-700 model.

I am in the process of ordering some for work, so will let you know how I get on when it arrives.