First thoughts on the Cybook Gen3

I bought a second-hand Cybook Gen3 ebook reader from my writing partner last month, and I’ve been using it long enough now to have some initial thoughts about it. This isn’t a proper review, as I haven’t been exploring all its features. What I *have* been doing with it is simply reading some of the books she’d loaded on it, mostly on the bus to and from work.

And the obvious question is — do I regret spending one hundred pounds on this thing? After all, I could buy quite a few paperbacks for that money. To which the answer is “no”, and for a specific reason I’ll get to at the end of this post. And it’s not one of the obvious reasons, like saving shelf space or being able to carry a hundred books with me at all times, although I can see the advantages there.

Would I buy one at full market price? (Currently 269 pounds if shipped to the UK.) Probably not, but mostly because the wee beastie is physically fragile, and I fully expect that I’ll manage to break it within a year or two given my current usage of it. I can see why other people would pay that for it, and why I might in other circumstances.

read more about the pros and cons


I read the Torchwood tie-in novel “Torchwood”: Trace Memory on Sunday morning. Enjoyed it. Full review to follow, though probably not until after a) RSI’s a bit better, b) I’ve read it again.

Still working through Accelerando on the Cybook. One interesting thing — I tend to get sick if I try to read on the bus, but I’m much more tolerant of the bus motion when I’m reading the Cybook. I’ve only once had to stop reading it. That alone will make it worth the money I paid for it, as long as it doesn’t prove to be incompatible with the RSI.

August book log

I still hurt, and I’m probably going to do some price comparison for Dragon tomorrow, but I can at least type enough to do the monthly book log now.

The August book log is very bitty. Not because I haven’t been reading, because I was reading nearly every day for the last couple of weeks. But I was reading nearly every day because I have a new toy in the form of a Cybook ebook reader, and I’ve been hopping around on different books to get a feel for how it works with different formats. The only thing I’ve read all the way through on it so far is its own instruction manual. :-)

I’ve since settled down on re-reading Charlie Stross’s Accelerando, but I’ve not finished that yet. Prior to that I was trying short stories from one of the Sherlock Holmes collections and from Cory Doctorow’s Overclocked.

At some point I read the latest Laundry piece from Charlie Stross, Down on the Farm. This is available as a free download on the shiny new Tor Books website, which I have otherwise singularly failed to look at on account of Evil Day Job draining me of energy.

Also assorted short pieces online in various venues, including the first part of Antonia Tiger’s short serial (which I enjoyed and must go and read the rest when I’m feeling awake enough to do so, or work out how to put it onto the Cybook so I can read it on the bus when my RSI goes away again).

One dead tree item, a yaoi manga, Masara Minase — Lies and Kisses is reviewed here:

And I’ve been working my way through Sherlock Holmes in dead tree format as my bit of reading just before going to sleep.

Very bitty indeed, but probably rather more reading than I’ve done in a while. Pity something (possibly the Cybook) set off my RSI earlier this week and the electronic stuff is off the menu for now.

Do I want a Cybook Gen 3?

I’m seriously thinking about buying an ebook reader, a concept which is probably causing various people to fall off their chairs they are laughing so hard. Because I don’t do ebooks. Not only do I not do ebooks, there is an entire fanfic zine series which exists in large part because I don’t like reading anything more than a couple of screens’ worth on a screen, and felt that if I was going to format a good piece of fanfic and print it out, I might as well make it available to others who felt the same way.

Now, it has caused a certain amount of amusement and bemusement over the last couple of years that I, an epublished author with some modicum of success in ebooks, do not read ebooks myself. The trouble is that a particular combination of medical issues means that I find ebooks significantly harder to read than dead tree books. One of those problems is the RSI, which makes pushing a button to turn a page rather more painful than turning a physical paper page. That’s before we factor in more page turns for the same word count on any screen that’s small and light enough to routinely carry around with me.

Add in how little reading I’ve been doing the last few years, and dropping the price of half a dozen hardbacks (at a bare minimum) on a fragile piece of electronics I will undoubtedly sit on or drop in the bath seems unappealing even if I didn’t have physical discomfort problems with ebooks.

And yet… I like the *concept* of ebooks. I have a couple of Project Gutenberg pieces loaded on my geriatric Palm IIIxe, for “stuck at the bus stop” occasions, and would have more if I could obtain the circular tuit necessary to remember how to use Plucker and load up some more. So I’ve been thinking on and off about getting something, most likely a Palm TX as that will give me the PDA functions I do make some use of, plus give me a major screen and memory upgrade over my IIIxe, plus add wifi capability. These are probably worth the money for me, especially as it’s a genuine tax-deductible business purchase.

Only now a friend has offered me her Cybook Gen 3 for a hundred quid, because it Does Not Play Well with her Mac and she wants to switch to a Sony. I have time to think about this, because she won’t want to get rid of it until September, when the new Sony unit ships.

I’m tempted, at that price. I’m *very* tempted. I’ll definitely want to play with it for a bit to see if it suits me (I’m concerned about the epaper reverse-polarity flash on page-turn, for starters), but the widget seems to offer a reasonable compromise between big enough screen to be usable and size/weight issues. As far as I know it can also play MP3s, which would be useful. And it has the long battery life that the TX doesn’t have (a major reason why I don’t already have a TX).

Anyone want to give reasons why I should/shouldn’t go for this?

[Note: this was originally posted on my LiveJournal, and I forgot to mirror it here until a day or two later, by which time I had been convinced that I *do* want to buy the Cybook. Still open to further comments, though. :-)]