All the keys are labelled with admirable clarity, rather than with cryptic symbols. In typical Korean style, the Story comes with a fair amount of extra functionality including a voice recorder, memo facility and diary. Of course, all these features can also be found on any half decent mobile phone, so we wouldn't hold them up as reasons to buy a Story in the first place.
The clearly labelled keyboard avoids icon confusion
iRiver supplies the Story with an impressive 2GB of built-in storage, but the SD card slot is good for another 32GB. Applying Register Hardware's patented e-book reader storage formula, we find that the Reader will hold 1037 copies of War and Peace or 2554 of Moby Dick in ePub format, after the system has swallowed its 300-odd megabyte morsel.
Being iRiver the storage system has its idiosyncrasies, so if you load your SD card with music files and then try to access the card from the Home screen menu, they vanish. What you have to do is hit the Menu key, select Music and then SD Card, then your music reappears. The same is true for image files, which have to be accessed from the Comic menu key.
Data on the storage card and in the on-board memory are kept separate, rather than presented as a whole but, thankfully, the main menu also contains a Folder view, which gives you an unfiltered picture of what exactly is where.
Aside from MP3 files, unlike Sony’s Reader Touch, the Story’s music player can also handle Ogg and WMA files. It presents your music library in a sensible artist/album folder layout too, and puts album tracks in the correct running order rather than alphabetically. While short on offering fully-fledged ID3 tag support, it does at least make the Story a genuinely usable device capable of handling a large music library.
No case to answer: an optional extra, alas
Music files can be loaded onto the Story using an MTP media player. It sounds pretty good, helped by the eight different available EQ settings. Given the MTP support, it’s a slight shame iRiver didn't fit the Story will a playlist facility. Even the 0.6W mono speaker round the back does a pretty decent job of audio playback and never makes listening to music too painful even at higher volumes.
Few points of clarification. You can indeed place multiple bookmarks in multiple books and access them all from the main menu. When you open a book file you have previously accessed the Story opens it at the last open page. The QWERTY keyboard is for entering text into the Memo and Diary applications. Memos can be exported as .txt files if you need to move them off the device.
Memos can be opened or created directly from a book page via the pop-up main menu but they are not 'stuck' to the page as they are with the Sony Reader Touch.
Makes you cry an iRiver?
Ever since my Sony PRS-600 touch died, I've been thinking about a new reader. I found the touch functionality of the Sony Reader not worth the extra cost and many annoying quirks about the menu system and desktop software . But this looks much better. Don't need wireless, but want a good 6 inch screen. Could be my Xmas present this year
You might have been thinking of the Wikipedia reader...
which is probably closer still to the HitchHiker's guide.
However, OpenMoko's device is missing WAN or cell connectivity for realtime updates across the network; It's an offline reader and single purpose, otherwise I would have bought one.
Riddled with bugs
Doesn't work with large books (mine all come O'Reilly Safari). The headings are garbled, then after a couple of page turns the reader hangs and then reboots. Garbage. Mine's going straight back to Amazon. I suggest everyone avoids until they get the software working.