At some point in the last 12 months, a Mises.org reader wrote to say thanks again for the hundreds of books on the site, whose value has vastly increased thanks to the Sony Reader, which easily imports PDFs and allows you to carry around a big library in a thin, 6×9 package.
Sounds great! Sadly, however, I’m not impressed with the Sony Reader that I received for Christmas. The processor is way too slow to permit the books to be used to reference. The memory for quick access seems super small. You can’t quickly move from book to book or within books. Even page turning is slow. You can’t search the books. And while I guess this goes without saying but it only stuck me once I started to use mine, you can’t copy and paste out of the text into anything. All you can really do is stare at the text, mostly in a slow paging sequence, one book at a time.
I can see how this might be valuable if this is the way we mostly read–the way people navigate the latest best-selling novel–but I have my doubts that this is the way most of us use books. We like to read to have instant access to the whole book, so we can turn from this page to that, go back and refresh or memories or skip ahead. This is especially true of non-fiction and reference books, which are precisely the kind of books I would tend to want in digital format. If all you want to read is a novel, get the novel!
I can’t say that the screen is very clear either. And if the text appears too small on one page, you can magnify but only one page at a time. When you click to the next page, the text is small again and you have to increase it again. After awhile all these limitations add up to a gizmo that isn’t all that helpful, and, in fact, seems like it is about 10 years behind the times.
I really wanted to like the Sony Reader and I really wanted to hear that Mises.org pdfs would be even more valuable thanks to this toy, but it just doesn’t seem to be there yet. Maybe in a few years…