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The darker side

Conversely, the PC software for the Sony Reader absolutely sucks. It looks remarkably like someone was hired to clone iTunes, and did so without ever understanding the ways in which iTunes is good and bad.

You can’t drag content directly onto the Reader; you have to copy it into the Library, then copy it from there to the Reader. The interface is custom and non-standard — the menus don’t look like Windows menus, and the dialog boxes aren’t Windows dialog boxes. The Preferences dialog box has one option: “Check for updates automatically”. If you sort a list of books by author, it’s sorted by first name rather than last name. The Status window doesn’t tell you the titles of the books which are being converted/added. You can’t create new collections (playlists) directly on the Reader; you have to create them in the Library and move them over.

The Store is its own category of awful. The front page doesn’t give you a link to new releases. When you do get to the New Releases page, there are no dates next to the titles. There’s no RSS feed for new books, either. You can’t use the mouse wheel to scroll through lists of titles. The Browse Categories page has a list of categories and subcategories; in most cases, there are no actual books in the main categories. You have to go to the subcategories to see books… but you can’t click through to the subcategories from the Browse Categories page. You have to click to the category page, then to the subcategory page. There’s no way to indicate your interest in a book you’d like to see in the store.

I could go on. But it’s a pretty grotesque interface. Fortunately I still love the Reader a lot.

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