Getting What You Want: An Ebook Reader Review

I love books, so to me when I hear about these new ebook readers I decided I wanted one.  At first I thought about justifying to myself, saying it would be great for trips, but I really don’t travel that much.   So in the end, I just accepted that my inner geek and book loving self just wanted the damn thing.  Enough of a reason for a want item.

So then I started to save for one and decided I would buy it after Christmas.  This strategy was two fold, one it would buy me time to research and buy exactly what I wanted and the second was to allow me some time to save up some cash for it and use some Christmas cash for it.  It also had a bit of a third benefit as competition in the field heating up leading to Christmas which helped drop the prices.

So in the end I bought an Sony Touch Edition just after Christmas and the new toy arrived on Jan 6th, so after a few days of use I’ll provide my initial thoughts of the ebook reader.

  1. Formats matter.  I primary went with a Sony because I wanted access to a larger number of file formats including: PDF, Word, RFT, and epub.  That last one, epub, was a big one since it allows me to download books from Google Books or other sites that have some free downloads.  It was also important because my public library has ebooks in that format as well.  The Kindle doesn’t do epub, so you are stuck buying your books at Amazon.
  2. Touch Screen is good and bad.  Buying the touch screen version of Sony’s reader offered my the ability to make hand written notes on my ebooks and save them.  So I can take a quiz on a book right on the page just like a regular book.  The downside of the touch screen is you end up with a bit of glare on the reading surface.  So you have to watch the angle you are reading at, this isn’t a problem with a non-touch screen version where the page looks more like a page.
  3. No eye strain.  I read for about two or three hours on Sunday and I have no eye strain at all.  The text looks like a book on a grey sheet of paper.  So the great thing about an ebook reader is the ability to read electronic copies of things for long periods.  I like this fact SO much I’m now trying to get half of my weekly School Board packages in electronic format instead of the two inch double sided paper copy I normally get (so hopefully I would be down to a mere one inch pile in the future).
  4. Compact.  I’ve already expanded the default memory of 512MB with a 4G SD card.  Why? Because it is very cool to be able to have hundreds of books on one device.  The default memory will store about 300 to 350 ebooks, so with my expansion I can now handle about 2700+.  So far I’ve only put on about 20 or so, but I’m still testing out the features like the fact I can also play mp3 files on this thing which will eat up some memory.  So I can listen to music and read when I take the bus all on a single device that weighs less than a hard cover book.

So overall I’m fairly damn happy with my purchase so far and I can see really using this thing a lot in the future.  Yet I had plans for one of these a while ago, since I’m the kind of guy that reads four books at once having all in the same place without having to carry them all will be helpful.

Yet at $350 plus tax for the device, it isn’t cheap but ebooks are cheaper than the new hard cover editions.  For example, Dan Brown’s latest goes for retail $37, my wife ordered it on sale at $22 and the ebook version is $12 at Chapters.  So if you buy a fair number of new release books you might save money in the long run.  In my case I don’t care, I bought it mainly for point four above.  Any questions?

8 thoughts on “Getting What You Want: An Ebook Reader Review”

  1. I have been considering either the Sony or the Kindle for sometime. My husband offered to buy the Sony for Christmas for me in 2008. In the end, I decided against it because there was such a lack of Canadian titles and Canadian authours. Has this changed? Do you find there is a good catalogue of Canadian books available?

  2. The problem with small size screens (6″) is that it’s hard to read newspapers and technical, illustrated books on them. I almost purchase the KindleDX, but I help back because of the lack of support for epub format. Maybe the new generation of eReaders will offer both a large screen size and formats support.

  3. Congrats on your new e-reader. True, it’s hard to read illustrated books on the smaller screen, but for most part it works fine.

    On CES this year, there were quite a lot of new e-readers being introduced. So luc, you might get your wish this year. ^_^

  4. I’d love an ebook reader! It’s on my “future wants” list at the moment, but I haven’t decided what one. Since it’ll be a couple years before I can actually get one, I’m sure there will be more brands with more features available (and hopefully, features that are available to Canadians!).

    Right now, I’m enamoured with the Barnes & noble Nook eReader. It looks reeeeally nice, and it’s supposed to be available for those of us in Canada too. I’ll have to check if it accepts epub format, though.

    I think both authors and consumers are getting ripped off with ebook prices, though. If a regular paperback costs $10 (which obviously includes physical production and shipping costs), and the ebook version also costs $10, something is wrong here, and I know the extra money is not going to the authors.

  5. I’m glad you mentioned the eye-strain because that was my biggest concern about getting one. I think it would be great for reading my school module notes on. I print them out to read on the train, so it’s such a waste of paper. Would be nice if I could get my text books on it as well. I’ll have to look into it some more!

  6. I’m all for new tech toys and have been watching e-readers as much as iphone/i-touch. My only thing with the e-readers are that on a yearly basis, I probably would only buy 3-5 books at the most with the rest of my reading material coming from the library.

    For me, the continuous cost of buying books is a negative as this isn’t one of my regular expenses anyways. Also, I can’t really think of a situation that I would need all my books with me, so I’m kind of sitting on the sidelines for now.

  7. My dad got a Kindle for Christmas… now I want one. These kind of gadgets are my weakness in life – in fact, my love of electronics may be the biggest roadblock in my “Free at 45” dreams. 🙂

  8. Dana,

    I did a quick skim of Canadian titles at and about half of the books were available in ebook form. You would likely find it a bit harder to find some free ones but look at this site ( for some.


    You will see large leaps in ebook readers in the next two years. So if you want something specific I would just wait a bit. The market is really heating up.


    Actually some of extra money might be going to the author. It depends on their contract states a certain percent or not. Also ebooks is considered a separate use from the print version so often it can have a different rate. In real terms the ebook is about $1 cost and the rest is profit.


    I agree that some people won’t find an ebook reader all that useful. It will get more interesting when you can get all you newspapers and magazines on them in the future.

    Jon Snow,

    I understand, really! But I keep my tech lust under control and only buy a few truly geeky toys and then wait for the rest to get cheaper. Perhaps if it is a big issue for you, you could set up monthly amount to buy new tech and then only buy something when your fund can afford it. That way you still get some toys, but you don’t buy everything.


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