02 November 2009

Roadtesting the Sony ereader

As many of you know, I took the Sony ereader to Frankfurt this year for the Book Fair. It was an interesting experiment, particularly as it was the longest trip to date and I must admit I was a little anxious as I love to read on longer flights and train rides. My luggage to previous international Book Fairs has included at least 3 books and I must admit, I did take a paperback as insurance!

The Sony ereader was fully charged when I left Sydney airport and there were 45 ebooks on the device including the new one from Audrey Niffenegger, Her Fearful Symmetry. I purposely didn't take the charger on board and regretted this half way when the battery started dying in Singapore! As I've flagged previously on this blog, when the back light is used on the Sony, the battery dies quickly. Knowing this flaw, I use it sparingly but needed to because the light in the business lounge at Singapore airport was not good. I continued reading while I waited for my connecting flight and realised the battery was depleting right in front of my eyes! I wasn't happy about it and ended up putting the reader away.

It might interest you to know that most of the marketing material previously stated the battery lasted around 7000 page turns. If that's the case, I should be getting through 4-5 ebooks with no problem. This is not happening and I must admit, it cheeses me off somewhat.

Apart from the battery, the other problem was not being able to use an electronic device for take off and landing. Of course, on an international flight that can mean the last 30 minutes is without reading material. I was grateful for the paperback I threw into my handbag at the last minute, even if it meant my reading was somewhat interrupted.

Oh and I may have flagged this previously when discussing pros and cons of ereaders, but I enjoy soaking in a tub at the end of a long day and getting stuck into a good book while I bathe. Not having a bath at home, I always look forward to one when I travel. I managed to enjoy the experience only once during the whole Book Fair - on my last night. Of course, it's not wise to take the ereader in the bath (!) and again glad to have the paperback on hand.

But back to the story: The reader charged without difficulty once in Frankfurt, and again when I travelled to Regensburg for some personal time. The time off was particularly interesting as I had to field multiple questions about the ereader, all from German locals. Whether it was someone politely interrupting me on the train "Was IST das?!" to people in cafes or restaurants wanting to know more about it, I was fielding questions left, right and centre. Most of the time I handed over the device and let people use the touchscreen to navigate. It was met with a lot of approval, a lot of nods, a lot of sighs, and A LOT of interest overall.

The demographic was interesting - all enquiries were from men! Several were older, one I would hazard a guess would have been retired, and only a couple were from late teens to university students. I've been talking ebooks for years professionally (mainly for libraries) and having to do show and tell at a more personal level has been a lot of fun too.

On the way home, the ereader was fully charged yet again and I did NOT use the backlight at any stage of the journey. The trip home was longer as I had a 4 hour layover in Singapore. By the time we were preparing to land in Sydney, I had one battery cell left on the ereader. I had read two new books, re-read/scanned through another four, and answered about a dozen questions on the ereader from the general (German) public.

1 comment:

  1. I'm about to go travelling and I'm really debating whether or not to take my Sony Reader. I think I'll probably leave it. Some of the best books I've ever read have been the ones I've picked up while travelling.