2012/01/25

Sony PRS-T1 Reader Up And Running

My new Sony e-book reader came last Thursday.  It took me a few tries to get it working, but by Sunday night I was able to successfully borrow and download a library e-book from OverDrive, and transfer it from my PC to the Sony Reader.

I have been telling inquirers at the library that they must install Adobe Digital Editions, (ADE), on their computers to download and transfer e-books in the ePub and PDF formats from OverDrive.  The walk-through for Sony Readers in OverDrive's "MyHelp" presentation doesn't give any indication that it is any different for the Sony PRS-T1.

Install ADE, says MyHelp, get an Adobe ID for your computer, plug in your Sony Reader, and ADE will ask you to authorize the device.  Your reader will then appear as a "bookshelf" in ADE to which you can drag books from ADE's library.

I've had ADE on my PC for a while, and I had already added a lot of PDF books to it that I had gotten from Project Gutenberg, Google Books and elsewhere.  It is not bad for reading them on my PC.

On Thursday night I unpacked the Sony Reader and plugged it into my PC to charge the battery.  This took a couple of hours.  I looked at the menus on it, set the clock and language, tried some different fonts and sizes on the sample e-books that came on it.

Friday night I sat down to get it working in earnest..  I opened ADE and plugged in the reader, setting it to "data transfer mode".  Nothing happened.  ADE did not ask to authorize it with my Adobe ID.  It did not appear in the ADE "bookshelf" list.

The reader's Quick Start Guide said that I could access Sony's Reader Store  by installing Reader for PC, (RFP) using the installer on the device.  I wasn't interested in shopping at the Reader Store, and the reviewer at the-ebook-reader.com had been unimpressed with Reader for PC, saying that he preferred using Calibre to manage his e-books.  I had thought I wouldn't need it.  But now I thought it might help me somehow.

I opened Windows Explorer, found the installer on the Sony Reader and launched it.  It installed RFP on my computer, updated it, and then updated the firmware on the reader.  I was prompted to create an account with the Sony Reader Store.  I started ADE again.  Nothing happened.  I tried opening an ePub book from Project Gutenberg, and noticed that it opened with RFP, rather than Adobe Digital Editions, (the reviewer was right, the display with RFP was inferior).  I changed the file association for ePubs back to ADE and tried opening the book again.  It opened in ADE, but there was still no prompt to authorize my reader with my Adobe ID.  I had to work Saturday, so I gave up and went to bed.

Saturday night I tried again.  This time, when I plugged the reader in, RFP opened and asked to authorize it, as ADE had been supposed to do.  I successfully authorized the reader with RFP.  Maybe now ADE would detect my reader, but no, it still would not.

I opened Windows Explorer and dragged a PDF book, Abandonment to Divine Providence, from a My Documents folder to the reader.  It transferred fine.  I opened it on the reader.  As I had suspected, the print was too small on the reader's 6-inch screen.  I changed the font size, and the reader handled it well, but I found that when you change the font size for a PDF, the reader has to reformat it every time you turn the page, which takes a couple of seconds, and is a nuisance.  Another PDF book, Lord Dunsany's Tales of War, looked fine.  It had been printed with large type, generous line spacing, and wide margins.

On Sunday, at work, I did some searches for Sony Reader and Adobe Digital Editions.  I found a couple of posts on the Adobe forums which confirmed that the PRS-T1 is not recognized by ADE, even though Adobe lists it as a compatible device.  Then I found a post by a Mac owner with the same problem who claimed to have gotten ADE to authorize her reader by transferring an e-book from the ADE folder with RFP.

Finally, I found an OverDrive FAQ on another library's web site which stated plainly that Sony Reader owners needed to use Sony's Reader for PC to download and transfer library e-books.  Well, well.  Was this in the OverDrive FAQ in our OverDrive page?  Yes!  In the Digital Help FAQ for Adobe EPUB e-books, it said:
Can I transfer Adobe eBooks to a Sony® Reader?
Adobe eBooks can be transferred to most Sony Readers. In order to transfer Adobe eBooks to a Sony Reader, you need to have the Sony Reader™ Library software installed. Some Sony Readers require a firmware update in order to support Adobe eBooks.
 If OverDrive's MyHelp had mentioned this, it would have saved me a couple of days of confusion.  But the "dance" was over.  Sunday night I checked out, downloaded and transferred a library e-book to my reader using Reader for PC easily, with no workarounds.  A nice feature with the Sony Reader is that in your list of e-books, library books have a little clock symbol with the number of days left until the due date.

I was off on Monday.  On Tuesday I brought my Sony Reader to work and tested the wireless and browser.  It connected with no trouble, I navigated to Project Gutenberg, and downloaded a book directly to the reader.

We had a number of inquiries about e-books today, for the Kindle and for an iPhone.  I felt so much more confident, now that I have configured my own e-reader.

2 comments:

Dwayne said...

Congratulations, Brett! I also use a Sony PRS-T1 Reader and find it to be very capable. It has excellent screen clarity. The built-in on device support for public libraries via Overdrive, ADE, ePub and Google Books is quite impressive. As the prices for e-reading devices fall, barriers of access to knowledge and education are being seriously diminished with the help of public libraries and dedicated librarians, such as yourself. It is quite an experience to borrow books electronically! Incredible changes! Enjoy & Thanks for your sharing!

Brett said...

Dwayne, thanks for your comment. I am very satisfied with the Sony PRS-T1. I have a lot of e-books that I had downloaded to my PC, and never read them. Now I can sit in my reading chair and enjoy them on the Sony Reader!