Cybook 3 e-reader

Well, my e-reader arrived!  Naturally I would have preferred an iPAD, but I can’t justify spending that much on any kind of electronic device.  I was going to buy a Sony e-reader, but when I puttered about Amazon looking for one, I came across a special offer for the Cybook 3 Gen, which cost less than the Sony and came with a protective case thrown in.  All Amazon’s reviews were positive (unlike the reviews for the Sony), so I decided to go for the Cybook.

I was really looking forward to getting it.  Possibly too much, because my first reaction on opening the package was disappointment.

Problem 1: It was clearly a second-hand device (thus explaining why it was so cheap) and had been sent to me with the wrong power cable.  Utterly wrong – it was the power cable for a mobile phone and would never have fitted.

Fortunately we had an appropriate power cable on hand which just required its plastic coating being cut down a little to enable it to get fully seated in the socket.  So, one problem down and we could actually charge it and switch it on.

Once it was charged, I eagerly switched it on and was disappointed again.

Problem 2: The screen was full of ghosting.  A moment’s Googling proved that the “flashing refresh” option ought to have been on, but it wasn’t.  We set the flashing refresh on, and that solved the screen problem.

By this time I was feeling fairly despondent about the whole thing and thinking of sending it back.

Next I tried to transfer some of my books from the computer to the Cybook, and we had disappointment again.

Problem 3: the connection between the device and the computer was so unstable that it flickered in and out faster than a snake’s tongue.

Oh God, we thought, that’s it!  it’s going back! But further Googling suggested that the problem might be that we’d used the USB port at the front of the computer, rather than one of the higher speed connections at the back.  So… I re-plugged it in in the back of the computer, and yes, that solved that problem.

Problem 4: Then I transferred my ebook library over to the Cybook.  It claims to support .pdf, .prc (mobipocket/Kindle), .txt, .html and epub files.  Most of my library were .pdf files, so I was disappointed once again to discover that in order to get the pages of the .pdf files into the screen, the font size used on the pdfs was so small it was almost unreadable.  And if you used the zoom function to make it larger, the text spilled out over the edges of the screen and you had to scroll right and left at the end of each sentence to read it.

This was deeply disappointing because almost all my books were pdfs, and I really couldn’t see myself clicking backwards and forwards every single line.

However, I noticed that the .prc files all displayed beautifully – right in the centre of the screen, just filling it but not spilling over, and in a nice, large easily readable font.

So I googled “how to convert .pdf files to .prc”, came upon a forum where someone was advising someone else that you could just drag and drop .pdf files into the free mobipocket reader software, and it would convert them into .prc files.  I already had mobipocket reader on my computer, so I fired it up and spent the better part of four hours converting all my .pdf files to .prc.

And the result was that I now have a library of over 160 books on my Cybook, and all of them display correctly, are beautifully laid out and easy to read.

I also downloaded the Cybook software update and installed that, which gave me the ability to change the font size of my books while keeping the page size the same.  This may have solved my pdf problem on its own, but I’d already done all the conversions by that point.  Whether or no, it’s a great feature, and I’m glad to have it.

The device itself has a nice big screen, very sharp e-ink display, and easy intuitive controls with the single big button on the front.  In its case it feels like holding a paperback book, but with the bonus that I can also listen to music on it!

Now that I’ve leapt the hurdles to get it to behave the way it ought to, I’m really happy with it.  I take it everywhere and relish having an entire library in my inside pocket.  I’m pretty certain I’m going to repurchase some of my books in ebook and then give away the print copies in order to free up some space on my shelves.  I’ve also gone mad and ordered myself a skin from Decal Girl because I don’t like having the CyBook logo confronting me every time I try to read.

Moral of the story?  Good things come to those who Google?  If at first you don’t succeed, find out why not and fix it?  LOL!  I’m not sure.  But I’m certainly not sending it back now.  Soon it will be clothed with the visage of Mount Doom, and just try taking it away from me then!


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