Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Wireless Sony Reader

The wireless Sony Reader (PRS-T1) works much differently with our service than other Adobe-dependent (read: non-Kindle, non-app) readers. Whereas other Adobe-dependent readers require you to install Adobe Digital Editions to your computer, register the computer with your Adobe ID, and connect the reader to the computer to transfer the library eBook, the wireless Sony Reader allows you to browse, checkout, and download library eBooks directly from the device itself.

This is a great concept, one that works very, very well on smart phones, the iPad, and various other tablet devices. However, it's not the smoothest operation on this e-Ink reader. Let's talk about how it works.

My first mistake in trying to use the wireless reader was to install software on my Mac and get the computer to recognize the device. It didn't work. I uninstalled and reinstalled the software without any shred of luck. Ok, then I moved to a PC. Still no real luck.

I encountered my second problem while trying to register the device with an existing Sony Reader account. I can't remember all of the problems I had, but it was enough to make me quit. (Getting the device registered was further complicated by a weak wireless connection and having the device time out over and over again.)

So, finally I found some helpful instructions and managed to get the device authorized and ready to use in a few minutes! Here are the steps I took:

  1. I got a new Adobe ID (using a fresh, new email account). 
  2. I used that SAME email account and password to set up a new Sony Reader account on my device. 
  3. Note: I do not have a credit card associated with either account. Using the same email account and password seems to simplify the process considerably! Adobe actually manages the DRM for both the books purchased from Sony and the Adobe EPUB eBooks in our digital library collection. 
  4. To set up a new Sony Reader account: Turn on the device >> Tap the small grayed out wireless symbol at the upper-right corner of the screen and connect to a network >> Tap on the "Reader Store" button >> Create a new account >> use the same email address and password used to set up the Adobe ID >> continue following the onscreen instructions carefully until your reader is ready to use.
  5. Get back to the Home screen. 
  6. Go to page two of the Home screen. 
  7. Tap on the "Public Library" button. 
  8. Search for our NHDB site by typing in your zip code. 
  9. Tap on the name of your library. 
  10. This only brings you to out NHDB website. You still have to load and log into the site. If your library is at the end of the alphabet, expect to tap through quite a few screens. Be sure to save your account information if you are the only person who uses this reader! 
  11. Once logged in, tap the "Browse" button to find Adobe EPUB titles. 
  12. Be sure to select "Available Now" and press the "Submit" button to view only the titles that are currently available for checkout. 
  13. Find a title >> Add to cart >> Proceed to checkout >> Confirm your checkout >> Download. A small arrow will show up in the upper-left corner of the screen telling you that the title has been downloaded. This should only take a 10 seconds or so, depending on your wireless network. 
  14. Press the "Home" button at the bottom of the device to view your book and start reading. 
As an eBook reader, the device is very light and has a decent screen quality, and it's certainly a step up from the older Sony Reader that made me turn the pages from a small button at the middle of the device! And, it is, in theory, much easier to not have to connect the device to a dedicated computer to retrieve a library book (any Kindle or iPad owner will agree!), but browsing the site on a slow to load e-Ink screen page isn't the greatest experience. 

I think the device would excel at being an eBook reader for people to check out from the library to load library eBooks of their choosing. The device does not need to be connected to a "mama" computer and no username/password is required to get a library book, only a library card number.