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Bookeen gets a Good Job for the New Cybook eReader

I was an early skeptic about electronic books (eBooks). Who wants to read a computer in the bathtub I used to say. Now, I have an answer for myself and it is all because of the Bookeen and thier new eBook Reader.

When it came in I put it aside to look at later. But I made a couple of crucial mistakes. Mistake 1: I had to at least open the box and plug it in. What's the harm in plugging it in; it takes hours to charge.

Mistake 2: I picked it up -- you know, just to move it. I knew it was light but I struck with how light 6.3 oz.

really is! Mistake 3: Since it was in my hand, it seem logical to turn it on -- just to see if it really works. I am happy to report that it works. The system came up quickly and all of the sudden I was in the Library -- thirty six preloaded files. The view was wonderful: clean, crisp and easy to read. Made me remember why eInk is such a big deal even if it isn't backlit. And that was it.

. . I started playing. First, the big button on the front. It acts as a combine directional navigation and "Enter" key.

Pretty miminalistic but effective. I found six small buttons on the sides (4 on the left and 2 on the right) with tiny unreadable (to these old eyes) symbols on them. I am still curious about what they actually do.

The half page quick start guide made a point of telling me that all would be clear if I read the User's guide. Despite my basic notion that anything that requires a manual is badly designed, I was actually willing to give it a whirl. So I scrolled around the Library looking for it. Found music files, book files and picture files including one entitled "How eInk Works". No user guide! I went back through the titles 3 times, just in case I missed it. Took a quick detour to email Bookeen asking about the User Guide.

Got a very quick response (impressive) telling me that they would be sending it out to me today in eBook form. Back to the eBook. Figured I would just start pushing the buttons and find out what happens. So this is what I found out: one button takes you to the Library; one button allows you to navigate in a book (start, find page, change layout, change font and add bookmarks); one seems to control music.

The other three? Who knows? Guess I will have to wait for the user guide. The device does not have a touch screen or stylus and I found that I actually miss them. I am in such a habit of poking and sliding around a screen that it felt strange not to be able to. Very disconcerting to me (a creature of habit).

I dipped into all the files on the device. . .

pretty cool stuff. The thing that impressed me the most is that the page change is fast and smooth. No waiting, no ghosting and no jumpiness. I had to buy at least one book.

At this point you don't really think I would be able to wait until the weekend to download a book, do you? Of course not! The entire process (including looking for books) took less than five minutes. It was the absolute easiest time I have ever had putting an eBook on a new device! Bottom line, I feel like I'm in a Staples ad: That was easy! All my pushing buttons in an effort to figure things out was actually worthwhile when I went to download a book. On your Mark: One of the things I discovered, sort of by accident, was the Mobipocket PID for the device. In case you are wondering here is what you do to find it: open any Mobipocket demo book; push the 2nd button on the left; scroll down the table to the Advanced tab; then scroll down to the About tab. Voilà (had to get at least one French word in here)! Get Ready: Connected the USB cord to my laptop, plugged the other end into the device and switched the Cybook on.

Before long I was notified that I had new hardware ' Cybook Gen 3. Just to check, I pulled up the file manager and it there it was ' drive G on my machine. So far so good! Go: Clicked on my handy eBooks About Everything icon, browsed the new releases put two Books -- Never Enough by Joe McGinniss and Telling Secrets by Frederick Buechner-- in my shopping cart and checked out. In a matter of seconds the ebooks landed on my bookshelf and I was ready to add them to the Cybook. I opened the Mobipocket reader on my laptop and the program found and registered the Cybook within seconds. After that, it was a simple matter of importing the files into the reader and finally, storing them on the device.

It took a bit to get used to using the big button on the right to change pages." My habit is to turn the page on the left side or by using a button in the middle of the device. But getting used to this new method didn't take as long as I would have thought. I experimented with font size, type family, page layout and lookup mode.

I also figured out that once in a book, the center of the big button would take me to the eBook menu so I didn't have to fumble around with those little buttons on the side. All in all this has been a good experience and I am a happy customer. Sure there are a few changes and/or improvements I would like to see, but they are relatively minor and do not impact my overall satisfaction. Thumbs up! Good job, Bookeen! Copyright (c) 2007 Gigi Reynard.

Gigi Reynard is CEO of eBooks About with fifty-seven eBook outlets including eBooks About Everything. She turned bookseller after a 25-year career in computer software development and electronic publishing. She also like to add that she has over 50 years as a avid reader. Gigi lives in Southern California with her writer husband, Henri, their cat, computers, electronic gadgets and thousands of (paper) books.


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