A Linux user's Cybook experience

EDIT Sun April 29 2012: It seems I failed at typing the article properly and the end was missing... Just fixed it.

A few days ago I received my new Cybook Odyssey, so I thought I'd share my impressions.

First of all, I've always been a bit worried about these devices, given the precedents set by other vendors: DRM, lock-in, remote access to your device,...

Reviews like Mairin's were making me anxious, and it took me a very long time to decide on buying an ebook reader.

What convinced me to go for the Cybook Odyssey was the following (in no particular order):

  • e-Ink: I wanted something with a long battery (the specs say 25000 pages turned) and which would be comfortable to read.
  • the device is full UMS: plug it into your computer's USB port, and it appears as an external hard-drive. No stupid application I'm forced to use, I can just drag and drop ebooks with my file browser.
  • somewhat related to the previous point, I don't have to buy ebooks from a certain shop. I can just download ebooks from the Gutenberg Project or I can also buy them in any shop I want, from my computer, or directly from the Odyssey
  • unless I choose to lock myself in, there's no stupid DRM involved. The ebooks I legally obtained are stored on the ebook reader and I don't have to input my credit card number or call the hotline before I can read them.
  • when I asked the support whether I would have any trouble connecting it to my laptop running Linux, they actually knew what I was talking about (this has been very rare in my experience with helpdesks), and their answer was that the only thing I would lose was support for buying books with DRM since that requires some ~~cra~~software from Adobe. I mean, I was so disappointed. :-P
  • updates are transparent: just connect the Odyssey to a Wifi network and if an update is available, you'll be automatically asked whether you want to upgrade. Again, no need to use iTunes or something like that. I know, you don't need iTunes anymore to update your iOS device, but it took time. The point is that Bookeen chose to do things right, right from the start.
  • as a bonus, it comes loaded with a bit more than 100 classical (public domain) books in French, English, German, Italian and Spanish, so you can start reading right away
  • They advertise their screens as having a « High Speed Ink System » that they developed themselves. They answered my request for a demo with this Youtube video, if you want to judge by yourselves.

    I can only compare with the Kindle I had in hands for about 15 minutes, 2 years ago, but the Odyssey does feel snappy enough, and the screen doesn't completely blink to black when changing pages, so reading on it is quite comfortable.

All in all, I'm really satisfied. I wholeheartedly recommend this ebook reader to anyone.

Now to read some more!