Sunday, May 27, 2007

New Sony Reader for Ebooks

A post from the Handheld Librarian blog described the Sony Reader, a small ebook reader which weighs 6 oz (without the cover). This is about the size and weight of a 300 page paperback. Sony states that the reader provides great resolution even in large print. This reader can be used for RTFs, PDFs, and their proprietary book format. Sony currently sells 13,000 titles for this reader.

One of the most common complaints that I hear from older adults is that they need large print books. However, only a few of the better selling books are published in a large print edition. This severely limits the available books for the visually impaired and frustrates many people. Another problem for many older adults is that the large print editions are so large and heavy, that they can not hold them because of their arthritis. As a result, they are forced to use audiobooks instead. Hopefully, this new technology will encourage publishers to make ebook versions of all their titles. This would be a great help step forward in making books accessible. The reader is expensive, $350, but hopefully, over time it will become more affordable. Over the long term, perhaps public libraries may be able to get grants to fund buying ebook readers, and loan them out to the visually impaired (like the Talking Books program).

The Kevin Kelly Cool Tools blog provides a nice review of this reader.

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