Yay! It’s about flipping’ time! Sony finally came to their senses and released a version of the eReader software for Mac OS X.
The installation is fairly onerous as it makes you restart your Macintosh. When’s the last time you had an installer do that that wasn’t part of the operating system?
Once you restart your Mac and start the eBook Library application (version 3.0) looks just like its Windows counterpart even down to the non-standard (on either platform) scroll-bars and generic listbox. On the left side of the application you have a typical listbox with your library, a link to the eBook Store and a search field.
At the bottom of the listbox is bevel button that allows you to create a new collection. The developers left a few things out that would have been handy like being able to right click in the listbox and a menu command to do the same things.
One of the things that I really dislike about the eBook Libarary software (on either platform) is that it makes absolutely no attempt at managing the book files. Whether you import a file or a folder full of books it keeps track of its currently location. So if you move your books or delete by accident the eBook software won’t know it until you try to access them.
Perhaps worse is the cryptic message when you delete things from the eBook Library listbox.
Huh? Doesn’t that look like your files are going to get deleted? Don’t worry, they’re not.
Drag and drop is a sorely needed addition to this application. There are only two ways to import books into the library: Use the Import File or Import Folder menu command from the File menu. How long has drag and drop been around now?
One of the things that I like about iTunes is its ability to manage the files for me. If I import a bunch of files it puts them into a single location. I’m sure some people hate that feature but I have over 13,000 music files. I like that it manages them and puts them in the proper spot. I don’t have nearly that many eBooks titles but even managing a hundred soon gets tiring.
Why is it tiring? Well, besides having to come up with my own location there’s no way to add/edit meta information about the books. I’d love to have a Read/Unread field so I can easily track which books I’ve read and not read. How about a rating field so that I can easily track which books I’ve liked? After a couple of hundred books I don’t remember which book titles I do or do not like other than some vague recollections about which author it is. Of course I can create my own collections to do this but it’s not very intuitive.
One thing that IS nice about the eBook Library software for Mac OS X is that you can now read your sony DRM books on your Mac without having to resort to running Windows in Parallels or VMWare or even rebooting using Bootcamp. As far as I know, there is no way of doing this with the Kindle (although I know there is synchronizing between the Kindle and iPhone app).
All-in-all, the Mac OS X version is very simple application that lets Mac users work with their Sony eReader. It is a poor port from its Windows brethren but I will give Sony for coming up with a Mac version. However, all the things I don’t like about the Windows version they did to the Mac version too. Sorry, Sony but I think you can do a better job and I’m hoping that the next version is better for both Mac AND Windows users.