Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Techy Tuesday: I (heart) my Sony Reader!

Ok - Tuesday snuck up on me this week and caught me unprepared.   I decided that I am going to share a little techy love about my Sony Reader.

Years ago, when the first e-ink readers were starting to gain some exposure in the press, my husband often commented that that was exactly what I needed.  I scoffed at the idea.  Rejected it outright.  I loved my books.   I loved holding them and spending time with them.   Turning pages and flipping back to favourite excerpts.

And then 2008 hit.   We were getting married in Mexico that spring and I was looking forward to time spent reading on the beach. and by the pool.  and on the balcony in our room.  Well, you get the idea.   We had to bring everything we needed for the wedding and I somehow also packed 8 books.   Eight books for a single week.  Ok, one of them was a travel guide.  Another might have been a Spanish phrasebook...but it was 8 books nonetheless.  

We arrived at the airport with our two very heavy suitcases.  We expected the wedding gear would result in overage charges on the weight.  It did.  $80 worth.

At the end of our week in Mexico (and, yes, I read my little heart out), we repacked our bags.  Sure, we had a few souvenirs, but we had largely divvied out the rest of our original haul to our wedding guests as gifts and wedding favours.   The suitcases were still heavy, but we were sure they were lighter than we'd started.

  The big weigh in at the airport netted us a $100 overage charge!

It wasn't very long after we returned to Canada that I was bitten by the reader bug.   I'd originally wanted a Kindle, but they weren't readily available in Canada yet.  I also wasn't sure I trusted myself with the wi-fi downloading of books wherever I might be.  Sony had just released their Reader (the PRS-505, their second generation of Readers) to Canada.   I still wasn't sold on a computer to read from, but I knew that my travelling future depended on making my reading somewhat lighter weight.  I headed out one Thursday evening to a Sony Style store to see if I could test drive one and see what I thought.  

My first glance at an e-ink screen was amazing.  Up until that point, I didn't believe it would be like reading on paper.   I didn't think it was possible.   I remember rocking the device back and forth to see if there was any glare (there wasn't) and then the sales clerk nudged me outside.  He said "You must see it in the sunlight."  As soon as I stepped outside that door, I knew this was the device for me.  It was as easy to read outside as it was inside.   The device was comfortable in my hand and it felt like I was reading on paper.   I was willing to give it a try.   I figured that if I didn't like it, they were still new enough to Canada that I should have no problem selling it.  

Of course, they weren't in stock so I had to special order it.  They said it would take 2 weeks to get in,but it only took a week and a couple of days.  I was so excited when I picked it up.   A new toy...and one I could read on.  It was very exciting.

Since that day, my Reader has rarely left my side.   I carry it in my purse all the time (when I was preggo, it was sometimes the only thing that got me through waiting for all of the appointments).   I still tend to buy my non-fiction and reference books in paper, but all of my fiction has been migrated to the Reader.   I love that I can carry 200+ books on it (the hard drives were much smaller a few years back) and if I finish a book when I am out and about, I love that I have the next one waiting right there for me.   An unexpected benefit I found was that I no longer need to be self conscious about which books I'm reading.  No one can judge me on the train by the cover of the book in my hands.   It has allowed me to explore many new genres that I may not have read previously.

The biggest thing I love, though, is that I can buy a new book the day it is released in hardcover, for around the cost of a paperback (no more waiting a year to get the next book in a series - I really hate reading hardcover fiction).   There are a few books I haven't been able to get (are you listening, Douglas Coupland?) but overall, I have been able to find sources for pretty much anything I want to read.      I've also been able to clear up shelf space in my extensive personal library because I can store my fiction digitally, now.

The only downside we found to my owning the Reader was that I would read books that my hubby would want to read.  And I wouldn't be able to let him read them because I didn't want to give up my Reader for the week or so it might take him to finish it.   How did we solve it, you ask?  Easy, last year, I broke down and bought him the Sony Reader Pocket Edition.  Now, I can load his up right away.  Problem solved!

I really can't wait to take my Reader on my 2 week vacation to Cancun in a couple of months.  I expect our suitcases will be MUCH lighter this time.

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