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Friday, September 21, 2007

Back to the Bookeen Cybook Gen3 ebook reader

Okay,

Enough with the cutsie pictures of birds and flowers.

I've now had the Cybook Gen3 for just one week. And I'm beginning to like it. Notice I said 'beginning'. I've owned a Sony PRS-500 for over a month now and for the first few days the Cybook was here, I didn't really care for it.

Don't get me wrong, the new Visplex eInk display is, to my eye, much sharper and noticeably more contrasty than the older eInk display found on the PRS-500. But Sony's device seemed somehow... more polished... more finished.

And it finally 'clicked' in my mind what the problem was with the Cybook. It's too danged LIGHT! That's right, my PRS-500 is heavier than the Cybook and even more so when I put the PRS-500 into it's softcover case. And, subconsciously, I felt the Cybook was 'flimsier' than the PRS-500 as a result.

So what happened to change my mind? I dropped the Cybook. I was attempting to pull it out of the cargo pocket in my trousers when I bumped my arm and let go. It promptly fell three feet to the hard, linoleum floor in the kitchen. The Cybook was on at the time - I'm tending to just leave it on during the day - and my first thought was "Ohmygod! I broke it!". Then I flipped it over so I could see the screen and there was my ebook, right at the page I left it. Still, I couldn't help wondering if maybe it had frozen there upon impact. Crossing my fingers, I paged forward. It changed to the next page! I called up the contextual menu and returned to the Library, and it did as I commanded! Finally, taking a deep, deep breath, I turned it off and then, after waiting a minute, turned it back on...

Hooray! It came right back up! This happened two days ago and I've been using it ever since.

Now I wouldn't recommend anyone go around dropping a $300+ ebook reader, but I'm now completely satisfied with the hardware.

As for the software, I like what I can do, but I must point out that I can't really do as much as I want to because I don't have the most recent firmware updates. Those come this next week. Considering what will be added by then, I don't believe it would be fair to Bookeen for me to make serious criticisms of what is, essentially, 'beta' software.

I have mastered BookDesigner to the point where I can make a pretty good conversion of text, html and rtf ebooks into the Mobipocket format. And I've found that the Mobipocket format versions of Baen's Webscriptions ebooks work great on the Cybook. I haven't yet purchased an ebook in Mobipocket format from either Mobipocket or Fictionwise. I'm about to do so. I'll let you know more later.

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