I’ve had my Sony Reader for a couple of weeks now, but I haven’t had the chance to use it as much as I’d like; I’ve been busy with various things, ranging from editing to being sick to procrastination, and life gets in the way. (Today, I found myself working as a background extra for a Dutch TV show. I don’t know either, dudes.)
Still, I wanted to share a few of my initial impressions – specifically the ones that’ll be useful to the writers reading this blog.
Which is just about all of you. Right.
As expected, the Reader is just lovely for, well, reading. The text resize function works great, the screen is a perfect size, the page refresh rarte is much shorter and less obnoxious than I’d expected, and the device is very comfortable to hold and use regardless of how you choose to turn the pages (either slide a finger across or press a key).
The one downside is the contrast. Since I have the touch screen version, the background is a little darker than most e-readers – or so I hear, as I’ve never used any others – and this is very noticable. Though it works fine in natural light, indoors, you’ll need awfully bright light to read comfortably. The (yellow-tinted) light in my living room is dubious; the bathroom light is perfect.
Er, not that I took it with me when I went to brush my teeth or anything.
I have to say, though, the software that came with the Reader is terrible. It crashed several times and now freezes up constantly when syncing – not to mention that you can’t edit the author/title tags for some inexplicable reason. A search for Mac software compatible with my version of the Reader is still underway.
A lot of us writerly types might want to use it to edit, which I was sincerely looking forward to. To be honest, I’m somewhat let down on this front. It offers several options to edit a document: you can highlight text, you can jot down notes on the page in handwriting, or you can dog-ear a page. Revising the text directly doesn’t seem to be an option, as far as I can tell.
The handwriting function is the most versatile. As you enter edit mode, you can use your fingers or the pen (use the pen!) to strike through text or jot down notes, which can later be accessed in both the document itself and the notes function, which allows you to easily browse through your own comments.
As with most touch screens, writing with the pen takes some time to get used to, and it forces you to write much larger than the actual text. That said, it’d still be doable to use for editing if not for one major downside – the way it transfers your notes to the computer is absolutely ridiculous.
While it does save the page with both the original text and your notes as a separate image file, it does so at a ridiculously tiny resolution, making the text completely illegible. It does save the notes at a regular size in a separate Illustrator file – but without the original text, giving you a lot of orphaned strike-throughs and out-of-context corrections.
My head hurts just thinking about it.
Yes, you can still use the Reader as you might use hardcopy edits/notes – that is, reference the Reader directly while incorporating the changes into your Word file – but having them on the same screen would have made this function so much easier to use.
So, it’s on-screen or hardcopy edits for me – which reminds me that I really ought to get back to editing Wielders. I’m desperate to finish this draft before the month is out, and I expect y’all to hold me to that.