In addition to bringing back an Asus EEE for #3 kid, I managed to sneak in a cute little gadget for myself–a Sony PRS 505 ebook reader. I have been looking at these devices for some time, basically ever since I became a published ebook author. That is when I became aware of the enormous amount of e-media out there on the Internet. But reading on a computer screen has never appealed to me very much. A notebook computer is heavy, hot (if you actually put it on your lap,) the battery life sucks, and it won’t fit in your purse. Well, not my purse anyway.

The Sony solves all these problems very neatly. It is comfortable to hold, has a battery life of about five or six books, an amazingly sharp e-ink display and best of all it DOES fit in my purse! No more sitting around in the doctor’s office reading People magazine…

My new toy.

It is just so damned cool to have a device that can store hundreds of books. and give them all to you with the touch of a couple of buttons.

As an added bonus, I have found an enormous amount of free content for my ebook reader–mostly books that are no longer subject to copyright law. They can be found at Manybooks, a fully searchable and browseable website with thousands and thousands of free books in all genres. I love pulp sci fi and westerns and they have hundreds of those titles! Of course, there are a lot of great new authors (ahem…) being epublished each week, so I am also spending money on some of my reading materials from sources like Fictionwise. The average ebook costs about 1/3 the price of a paperback, and saves the environment too!

My only criticism of this amazing new toy is the software interface. It is just… pathetic. I mean, you put all this money into R&D for this great very high tech gadget, and then you spend what looks like $50 on the software for it. It doesn’t make any sense. I hope Sony is reading this, ha ha.

I looked at several different devices before settling on the Sony. The Kindle was not an option for me because Amazon doesn’t support the Whispernet feature outside the USA. The Iliad was too expensive. A couple of the others just weren’t where I could get to them to give them a try. I bought the Sony with the understanding I could return it if I didn’t think it was worth the money. But really, once I got past the shoddy software, it was love.

And yes, I have copies of my own books on there, just in case you wanted to know.

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