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The Sony Reader Adventure: Leonard Maltin’s 2010 Movie Guide

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I’ve been using Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guides for years. Updated yearly, the Guide contains a synopsis, mini review (with essential “star” rating) and cast list for most films out on video, playing on cable or network television, or otherwise available for our viewing pleasure. I’ve always enjoyed Maltin’s capsule reviews, but the Guide has grown over the years from a manageable 600-page volume when I bought my first copy to more than 1600 pages in 2010. It’s an immense book, indeed.

It’s a book we normally keep near the television, and although we are a very Internet-wired household, with IMDB (the Internet Movie Database) and Rotten Tomatoes permanently bookmarked on the Internet browser, the Guide is a handy reference to keep nearby. Maltin gets to the heart of the movie and its attributes in a couple of paragraphs, and with a comprehensive index of stars and directors at the back of the book, the Guide is helpful in steering the reader toward more films by the same actors and directors.

Because it weighs in at hefty 1664 pages, I thought the Maltin Movie Guide would be a good candidate to download to my Sony Reader (Pocket Edition). The Reader itself weighs considerably less than the printed book and would likely be more manageable by far that the fat print volume with its tissue thin pages. I was wrong.

The Pocket Edition Sony Reader is a great choice for many books. It’s highly portable; it’s small enough to fit in my purse (or even a large coat pocket) with dimensions approximating a very skinny paperback. It’s great for porting along a whole library of vacation reading material, and I love bringing mine to lunch because the Sony Reader provides a far pleasanter experience than trying to turn pages while eating salad (or worse, soup) and attempting to keep the book open to the page I’m trying to read.

But the Pocket Edition is essentially an entry-level reading device, meaning it’s very basic. This is fine for most things, especially with its attractive entry-level price. It is less useful for a book like the Movie Guide, which requires flipping around rather reading linearly.

Using the Pocket Edition for the Maltin Movie Guide is a real problem. There is no way easy way to jump around within the text to find (for example) a specific movie, and finding anything in the Guide is a frustrating endeavor: arduous and time consuming. This activity would be much faster using a more upscale device with a search function.

In addition, I don't know if it's because of the book's large size, but the Reader seems especially slow to respond when turning pages (especially when I bumped up the font size to something more readable than the tiny standard size of the book's original font).The slight delay in turning pages with other books not intrusive (after all, turning pages in a print books isn't instantaneous either), but in a book of this length (or file size) the Reader Pocket Edition seems to really bog down.

Perhaps this is one book better off in its original print incarnation, despite the length and heft of the volume. Some things are better, after all, left untouched by technology.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • Phil Cebu

    Just got my Sony Digital Reader yesterday. I’m impressed. It really looks quite better when you actually have it in your hands. Can’t wait to get book pages inside.