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331 of 332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loads of content, just not at Waterstones
I have been using the Reader for a while now and I must say there is a lot more content available than appears at first sight. Waterstones has a small selection of over-priced books, WH Smith also have compatible books and their site is better and has more choice. Penguin is also worth a look. Sony have an online bookstore which is very cheap except they will not sell to...
Published on 12 Nov. 2008 by Cheshire Chaz

versus
507 of 512 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars check for content first!
I was an early adopter of the Reader, got it on day one.
Let me give you my background as it might put my views into perspective.
I read a lot and am always in and out of bookshops, I have a pile of about a hundred books piled up waiting to be read, and yet I keep adding to them. When I go on holiday, I take about a book per day, so for a 10 day holiday, that's...
Published on 31 Oct. 2008 by Nick Brett


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331 of 332 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loads of content, just not at Waterstones, 12 Nov. 2008
This review is from: Sony Reader eBook Space for Up to 160 eBook (Personal Computers)
I have been using the Reader for a while now and I must say there is a lot more content available than appears at first sight. Waterstones has a small selection of over-priced books, WH Smith also have compatible books and their site is better and has more choice. Penguin is also worth a look. Sony have an online bookstore which is very cheap except they will not sell to UK residents - unlike the rest of the US sellers who are quite happy to take your money. Look at Fictionwise, BooksOnBoard and EBookMall as the top three but there are many more. Shop around as prices vary quite a bit.

I think Sony have done their homework well as far as usability goes. You only appreciate some of the features after you have been using it a while. Here are a few:
- Page turn button is duplicated on the right and left so you can hold it in either hand.
- Bookmark feature lets you skip quickly between the books you are currently reading. Handy when you have more than a hundred books on the device. The bookmark list has its own separate button so jumping books is very quick.
- History feature lets you skip ahead in a book and then use the 'back' button to get back to where you started. It works like your browser back button, undo/redo the last navigation step. There is even a history list so you can jump back without lots of button presses.
- Keys down the right edge makes selecting menu items fast. Jump to a specific page number or holding down a button skips to a percentage of the book. The top keys take you somewhere near the begining, the bottom near the end.
- The supplied 'leather' cover is magnetic which holds the Reader well while you are reading and closed when not.
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68 of 68 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Reader - shame about the linkt to Waterstones, 29 Dec. 2008
By 
Mrs. W. Monk (West Sussex, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have had the Reader for a couple of months now. Most importantly I took it with me on holiday as, like many other buyers, I wanted to be able to travel light but still have a (virtual) mountain of books to get through. The software for managing the reader isn't as straightforward as iTunes is for your iPod, but it's still reasonably intuitive. You can use it to store books that aren't loaded on to your reader and to create your own folders, so for me, the 160 books that you can fit on the Reader's standard memory are ample for a week's break.
The Reader itself is a dream. It is just as easy on the eye as paper and I found that even under the strong Caribbean sun, with half the page under the shadow of my hat, I was still able to read all the text with ease. A huge plus was that the lack of pages meant that I didn't lose my place if a breeze gusted across me. I was also able to lie leaning on my elbows and turn the page without having to shift half my body to 'pull an arm out', which in turn meant that I could have my cocktail on the lounger in front of me, straw fixed in my mouth, just gently pressing a button at the end of each page. Seriously, this was bliss. Although the drinks did run down a bit quickly.
There are pros and cons to the physical differences between the Reader and a paper book. Someone commented on the inability to flick back to another page or just browse through the pages which is fair comment. You can bookmark pages, but its not as quick as it can be to flick to a marked page in a book. On the other hand, I didn't find that the pages turned too slowly and I am a fast reader. I think I just got into a rhythm of turning the page as I read the last lines. Also, you don't get that annoying situation where you are trying to turn the page of a paper book and you just can't separate out one page. Especially if you are trying to do it with one hand. Sometimes I've dropped the whole book and lost my place completely. This is not an issue with the Reader - just click a button and over you go. The buttons are in 'natural' places (mind you, I say that as a right hander, left handers may beg to differ) and are comfortable to use whether you are holding the book up have it lying in front of you. In short, I absolutely love my Reader and I am happy that it does just what I wanted in giving me a comfortable book-reading experience whilst saving weight and bulk.
Waterstones I am not so impressed with. Their site is unnecessarily awkward to navigate and the books are not grouped in any kind of helpful order - just massively long lists. Also, as a Waterstones card holder I have become increasingly irritated by the fact that they exclude ebooks from their promotional offers. I mailed last week to find out why and their response was: "I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with the price difference between ebooks and other formats online.
As this is an exclusive product prices may vary, I would like to inform you that in the future there will be reductions and promotions as the item
becomes more popular."
Personally, I'd have hoped that someone who worked for a publisher would have a sufficient grasp of grammar to construct their sentences coherently, but I'm more concerned that the use of the word "exclusive" is their way of saying "We have a deal with Sony. We can charge what we like". Fortunately, there are a number of other sites, although you do have to watch the format. I have also bought books directly from publishers. New books coming out are reasonably easy to obtain, as are classics. The problem is with the back-catalogues of current authors, which you would want if you come across an author you like who has been writing for years. I'd also like to be able to load travel guides and I would love to find a proper full length French-English dictionary. Maybe they are out there somwewhere! I think that if Sony want to the Reader to succeed they will have to persuade Waterstones to charge lower prices. Rightly or wrongly, people will see the digital medium as cheap to produce comapred to hard back or paperback and will see the high prices as profiteering. Ideally, you would hope to find eBooks cheaper so that someone buying a reasonable number of eBooks will feel that they have saved back the money it cost to buy the Reader in the first place.
Bottom line is, I like the Reader enough to buy a second one for my husband and I will use other websites as much as I can 'til Waterstones buck their ideas up.
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507 of 512 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars check for content first!, 31 Oct. 2008
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sony Reader eBook Space for Up to 160 eBook (Personal Computers)
I was an early adopter of the Reader, got it on day one.
Let me give you my background as it might put my views into perspective.
I read a lot and am always in and out of bookshops, I have a pile of about a hundred books piled up waiting to be read, and yet I keep adding to them. When I go on holiday, I take about a book per day, so for a 10 day holiday, that's 10 books which is a bit heavy on the luggage.
So the Reader appealed because I could take my collection with me and read anywhere.
So, the Reader... It looks good and is easy to load up. Had slight problems loading the Adobe Digital Editions until I realised I had to turn my firewall off each time I wanted it to connect to the Net. The typeface is nice and clear with no light reflection and although page turning is a little slow, you soon get used to it. It is a nice bit of kit, although I would rather have the US Kindle with it's download capability, but that is another story.
Anyway, by now I have the thing up and running and am keen to start loading it up so a quick jump onto the Waterstones and WH Smiths sites to see what I could buy and......not a lot.
1. e-books are not much cheaper then the books you can buy in the shops
2. deals you see in the shops are not reflected in the e-book version (Waterstones might have the latest Bernard Cornwall at half price in the shop, but not as an e-book!)
3. Lack of three for the price of two deals means hard copy books are still cheaper!!
4. Navigation on line to find books available as e-books in the right format

Sadly the availability of new release books has not caught up with the technology, I have seen improvement over the past few weeks but it is not there yet.

The kit is great, and a good job by Sony. If you are thinking of getting one,please accept this advice -
1. Check if the last three books you bought are available as e-books
2. See if the next three books you want are available as e-books
3. Do a price check
If the above works for you then maybe it is worth the expense. In all honesty I wish I had waited for a few months
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product - pity about the books, 29 Nov. 2008
The Reader is a superb piece of kit, one which solves holiday baggage allowance restrictions at a stroke! The crying shame is that, in the UK at least, Sony have thrown in their lot with Waterstones, who clearly treat ebooks as something entirely different from paper books: result, an impenetrable website and rip-off pricing. Example: Philip Hansher's "The Northern Clemency" is currently £8.99 in hardback, £11.39 in paperback and £14.39 as an ebook!

2 questions: why can't UK readers have access to Sony's own US-based Bookstore?; and when will Amazon UK start selling ebooks?
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140 of 142 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Light weight library, 2 Nov. 2008
By 
H. Hinds (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've been reading e-books for a while on my laptop mainly because we had run out of space of our bookcases. Like the previous reviewer I read a lot especially when on holiday and have the same issue with weight in my luggage. My husband bought me an e-book reader not long after it was released and I use it everyday, I can just slip it im my bag and I've got all my latest books with me. I agree with the previous reviewer that the big chains have yet to catch up with the demand for e-books but I've found a couple of American sites that usually have what I want. The main one I use is Books on Board. The only small down side is the time it takes to 'turn' a page, but still much easier to use than a laptop!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even with its faults it is still a great gadget, 12 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Sony Reader eBook Space for Up to 160 eBook (Personal Computers)
I bought this as I travel a huge amount and was reading a huge book that couldn't fit in my bag. The reader seemed like a good idea due to its size and reported battery life so I went out and bought one.

I have had the reader now for 8 months and still use it every day. The only things I use every day are my mobile, my computer and my reader. It has become part of life. The screen is phenomenol. E-ink is excellent. It is not backlit and you can see it under the most glaring light. It is the closest I have ever seen to paper and ink. The screen is nearly white and the writing pure black. The readers are not colour so covers of the books etc will always be in black and white. The text has 3 levels of zoom, small medium and large so no matter how bad your eyesight you will always be able to read it.

The reader has a daunting number of buttons but is in fact incredibly easy to use. There are 2 sets of page turn buttons, under your thumb near the spine and on the right had side. places where I normally hold a book so very easy to use. You can bookmark pages to jump back into them if you read more than one book at a time, a navigation button and buttons on the right to quickly select pages or options.

The battery life is not as long as Sony say (as you would expect) but is still excellent. I probably charge the reader once a month and use it a lot. I would really recommend buying the optional mains charger though. Charging from the USB is slow and my USB goes off when the PC is off so I need to leave it on. On holiday this just isn't practical either as I don't take the computer so I would recommend the mains unit.

The supplied brown cover for it I actually quite like. It has little magnets in so stays shut (although they are pretty weak). It feels totally synthetic but somehow book like. I would certainly not recommend the Sony Leather Cover. It is very very fragile and mine lasted less than a week. If you want a leather cover go for the Tuff Luv one (also on Amazon) which is better designed and lasts longer. It also has a clip to hold it shut. As a backup I bought the reader screen protector which is pretty good and if applied correctly you can't tell it is there.

The processor in the unit is slow so pushing a button always carries a slight lag before the action happens. when you first get the reader you end up turning 10 pages instead of 1 as you think it is not responding but after a couple of days you just get used to it. I don't even notice it now.

I buy the books off Waterstone's. They are starting to get a better selection now although they are still ludicrously expensive, normally a tiny amount less than the paper version. The software is annoying and not as easy as it should be to use. You need Adobe Digital Editions to get the license and then the Sony software to get the book off the PC onto the reader. Finding the books on the PC is often a pain. To avoid the hassle I buy around 10 books at a go.

To summarise I would say that even with the dodgy software and slow button response this thing is just a joy. I thought I would never get used to holding a gadget instead of a real book. But the reader begins to feel the same. The scuffs on the cover from the holiday become part of its history. It really is a lovely gadget.

Accessories: I would buy the mains charger (it only comes with a USB cable) and the Tuff Luv leather case that opens like a book, not the flip one.

Do not buy the Sony Leather Cover as the clips that hold it together are so fragile.

And go buy the reader! It is a delight!
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars MAKE SURE YOU CAN USE THE SOFTWARE ON YOUR COMPUTER!!!, 18 Jun. 2009
By 
Deep Reader - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Sony Reader eBook Space for Up to 160 eBook (Personal Computers)
I bought this Sony Reader last week, uploaded a 'classic' book from their disc, and read it without difficulty. Only then did I attempt to purchase a book from the Waterstones site. Adobe DIGITAL EDITIONS is necessary to accept the book through the computer, eventually to the reader. As soon as the DE panel comes up I get another panel that says 'Cannot find Digital Editions folder'. This means I cannot authorise the system and that is a dead end. I have been through all this with Waterstones technical staff - no joy. I have been onto the Adobe site discussion forums to find that many other people have had this problem. None of their solutions have worked for me. I have created folders as suggested on the forums - no joy. I have downloaded DE from the Sony disc, later uninstalled it. I have downloaded from the Waterstones sute, later uninstalled it. I have downloaded the latest from the Adobe site more than once - again no joy. Adobe, of course, cannot be contacted. It looks like I have thrown away two hundred plus quid and the cost of a book because the necessary software doesn't work and no one can say why, or help. How this can go on for so long, obviously for many people, is a mystery BE SURE ADOBE DIGITAL EDITIONS WORKS ON YOUR SYSTEM BEFORE YOU PURCHASE THE SONY READER. Otherwise don't bother. You are throwing your money away.
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165 of 168 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great device, but for one thing, 19 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Sony Reader eBook Space for Up to 160 eBook (Personal Computers)
I pre-ordered this device as it seemed really good and I was not disappointed when it eventually arrived. I've only charged it once so far and it's not needed it again yet. It's everything I wanted in an electronic reader. I have found one drawback though and this hasn't really got anything to do with the device. Although it comes with the 100 classic titles I've yet to be able to purchase and download titles from Waterstones who are Sony UK's recommended partners. After numerous unanswered emails to Waterstones customer service desk I've had to start looking elsewhere for available ebooks. Hopefully I can find another source soon otherwise this will have been one of the most expensive books I've ever bought.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed, 14 Dec. 2009
This review is from: Sony Reader eBook Space for Up to 160 eBook (Personal Computers)
I bought this reader as soon as it was available in the UK, at first I loved it I am a big reader and always carry at least two books where ever I go as I have back problems the reader was great for carrying many books without much efford. At first there was a problem with not many books been available and only from Waterstones but over the months other places have come of line. So what is my problem I hear you ask, well I opened my reader up about 14months after buying it to find a small clear square about 2inches had appeared in the top right hand corner, and you could not read any words under this square. I contacted Sony and was told it would cost £176 to get it repaired I though as I had paid £199 for the reader this seemed a little steep more so as the new pocket reader was been sold for £150, also this held double the amount of books. Sony at first told me they would give me a good will payment which would help towards the cost of the repair, and then they refused to do this. I decided I would buy a new reader but on purchase found that you cannot transfer any books due to copywrite laws, the software is registered for one reader only and is not transferable. Therefore all new books which have been downloaded can not be used on the new readers, (a problem for anyone who likes to keep update with new technology) or who like me their reader has broke. Sony have not been helpful at all and maybe the reason they charge so much for repairs is because they know you dont have much choice the books are either wasted or read only on your computer.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reading revolution, 11 Feb. 2009
This review is from: Sony Reader eBook Space for Up to 160 eBook (Personal Computers)
I bought the Sony Reader from the Waterstones website, and it arrived on its release date.

As someone who reads on the toilet, in the bath, and even walking down the street (and no I haven't walked into any lampposts) I saw this as an opportunity to carry 100s if not 1000s of books around with me.
The reader itself is absolutely superb. The print is clear, and within seconds you forget you're using an electronic device and try to the turn the page as normal. The reader feels great in your hand; it's light, but still feels like a substantial piece of kit.

The menu system is a tad cumbersome, but you're not accessing it that often anyway if you're reading a book all the way through. It accepts BBeB books and Adobe PDF, as well as web page (HTML) format books.

The one criticism I would have is the availability and price of books to download, particularly from the recommended Waterstones site. It's difficult on the site to find the full range of available downloads, and when you find something you like the price of the books is often no less than a hard-copy book from the store, which is ludicrous.

Fear not, there are alternative sites, many of them legal...

I currently have over 400 books on my reader, fitting comfortably on my 2GB memory card - it probably has room for another 1500 - 2000 books!

Of course the Sony reader won't replace my (huge) library of actual books; nor shall I stop buying new 'real' books - but as an addition to it it is absolutely wonderful.

There's an upgrade now available in America - the Sony 700 - which is touchscreen and with an integral light - I'll certainly be looking at that too when it comes out, but may wait for the third or fourth generation version - in full colour I hope!
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