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Troubleshooting The Sharper Image Literati eReader


Last month I wrote a review for the Literati eReader from The Sharper Image.  Since then, I have received a flood of search engine traffic from users trying to troubleshoot the Literati.  Because I know many of the units have several bugs in the system, and because I’ve been able to work around a few things with my unit (or just learn to live with the quirks), I thought I would take a minute to offer user support to those having problems with their Sharper Image Literati eReaders.

One necessary disclosure:

Beyond being sent a Literati to review (for which I received NO financial compensation), I am NOT in any way affiliated with The Sharper Image.  This is NOT official support for the Literati, just user experiences of my own that may help you.

Some of the issues that have lead people to my site:

SD CARDS:  Some Literati units will not read SD cards at all.  I do not know how to fix this.  But some users also cannot figure how to insert SD cards into the unit in the first place.  There is a slot at the top of the Literati for the SD card, and in order to get an SD card into place in my unit, I need to use the tip of a pencil to forcefully shove the card into the slot until the spring loads and the card sticks.  This often takes me two or three tries to get it right.  And I always have to use the same method to remove the SD card.  Yes, this seems rather ridiculous, but it’s the only way it works for me.

USB:  Some Literati units will not recognize USB at all.  I do not know how to fix this, and frankly, I don’t even care anymore.  My original unit did not recognize the USB or my Windows 7 system.  But since it did read my SD card, I used an inexpensive SD card reader to transfer books from my computer to the card, and from the card to my Literati – essentially making the USB unnecessary.  The Sharper Image did send me a replacement unit which does recognize the USB and Windows 7, but I still stick with my SD card/reader method.

DETECTING NETWORK:  I have had repeated problems with my Literati not recognizing my wireless network.  This is the most consistent and most baffling problem with these units, since the wireless is such a big selling point.  The only advice I have is to reset the unit by pushing a paperclip into the tiny hole in the back of the unit. This will typically clear the unit’s system and allow it to recognize your network again.  But don’t be surprised if the next time you turn it on, it fails to recognize the network again.  As with the USB problem, I simply do not use the wireless feature anymore.  I buy my books on my computer and transfer everything via SD card.

RESET:  There are two options to reset the Literati:  factory reset from the Settings options, or a quick reset that does not erase your data.  I recommend you use the quick reset.  There is a tiny hole in the back of the unit, use a paperclip to push the button inside.  That will clear the unit’s cache without deleting hard data.

UPLOADING BOOKS:  If you happen to get a unit that detects wireless and works seamlessly with Kobo, you can easily upload books by setting up an account with Kobo and purchasing/uploading books on the fly.  This feature works well with the replacement unit sent to me by Sharper Image.  BUT, if your Literati does not detect wireless or the USB, your only option – as I’ve said – is to load books onto an SD card from your computer.  Sometimes my Literati has problems uploading from the SD card.  If I turn off the unit, load the card, and turn the unit back on, it will usually begin processing the new content.  Sometimes it takes a couple of tries.  If you do not see your loaded books, make sure (a) they are in the correct file format (my Literati reads only Kobo books or unprotected EPUB ebooks…this is very annoying) or (b) that you are looking in the “New” section of your Literati library.  I will briefly say that I had Kindle for PC books downloaded and various protected and non-EPUB  library books that originally would not work with my Literati, but because of many hours spent on Google, I have learned it is possible read them with my Literati.  I won’t say more, just that it’s possible if you have some time, some familiarity with programming, and LOTS of patience.

OTHER ISSUES:  Problems with keypad – I don’t use mine, so I’m not sure how to help with this.  Games for the Literati – the Literati is a VERY basic system, no bells and whistles, no games, nada.  Updates to system – if your wireless works with the Literati, make sure you follow directions when it prompts you to install updates; The Shaper Image (in my experience) is trying to fix a lot of the bugs in the Literati and will roll out these updates as they can.

If you have any other questions, feel free to leave them here or email me directly (see contact information in the right sidebar).  Again, I’m just a consumer like yourself, so I have no direct contact or information from The Sharper Image, but I’d like to help with your Literati if I can.  Yes, the ereader has it’s problems, but I use mine frequently and do ultimately enjoy it.

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  • Veronica Crookall

    So after a few very unsatisfying conversations and getting the runaround from two levels of “customer support” @ MerchSource (who make the Literati) during which I was told that up until a few weeks ago, defective readers were replaced but they were no longer doing that, I asked to speak to the next level of management. I was promised a call back from their customer service department in 2-3 business days, but that was over a week ago. I’ve since discovered that if you look the company up on the Better Business Bureau website, there are many, many complaints about similar things… but that once BBB gets involved, they seem to have gotten resolved relatively quickly. I have, of course, contacted them and filled out the complaint form and have high hopes they’ll get me sorted. After all, it’s hardly fair to deny me the same service others got because my reader died ever so slightly later than others, is it?

  • Tdeeandsammy

    Bought my literati 10 months ago and now according to Best Buy(bought it there) they tell me its a dead battery never to recharge again. And they won’t replace it the company has to,even though there is a year warrenty came with it Best Buy will not honor it. And since Sharper Image is no help what’s a person to do?

  • Glori1983

    Its very sad that we are all suffering from some sort of issue with this ereader. I too recieved it as a gift during Christmas, It was well until recently when it started to freeze or go black on me, fortunately I learned how to deal with those problems. I now am dealing with the fact that literati will not connect to the kobo store so that I can purchase and view books. It states that the store can not be found, it has either been removed, renamed or temporaily unavailable. Since it has been a few days like this I am now worried, does anyone have a clue on what to do? Love to read and a little fustrated.

  • Rcleavitt

    I recently bought a Literati and my research indicates that only certain brands of SD cards will work.
    Perhaps you could compile a list of the brands used by other users that are known to work. I hate to have to buy several different brands, hoping to find one that works!

  • mm09

    I have had mine for about 5 months, maybe used it 30 times, and it won’t charge or turn on. Best Buy will not even stock them anymore because they are horrible, so I cannot get it exchanged there. The help number I called was very UNHELPFUL and they said they “don’t exchange e readers”. Total joke and piece of crap. DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT!!!

  • Jonathanta29

    Hey um I bought a Literati ebook reader for $49 at Ross.Now we think it’s a piece of junk because we can’t turn it on.I’ve charged it for like 10 hours ALREADY!Somebody please help me!!!!

    • Larry

      Please see my reply to Pamhermantown above.  It may help, but no guarantee.

  • Mofkelly

    mine was also a x-mas  gift and is doing all of the same things mentioned on this blog,  kiss it good-bye  and stop buying sharp products  thats my solution

  • Carolyn Flores

    I bought my daughter a Literati e-reader for her Birthday. I can’t get it to leave the boot up screen. I can’t even access the menu or display options, I’ve tried reseting it, letting the battery die and recharging it. This all started when It told me to update my software, then, when it restarted, it froze on the the boot up screen and everytime I turn it on the screen skips like it’s trying to boot, but can’t. Can anyone help me, PLEASE? Her b-day is tomorrow and this is tragic!!  

  • Sharri

    I bought a Literati and it worked great for a few months, now I can’t get it to turn on, charge… it is really annoying, especially since I have several books that I purchased and I never read them…  I tried to reset it and it did nothing! I also tried the web address on the box for “customer support” and it doesn’t exist… ANY SUGGESTIONS???

    • Larry

      Please see my reply to Pamhermantown above.  Hope it helps your situation.

  • Cereal Killer

    *sob* i reset my literati and all i got was a fuzzy screen. no more literati opening screen and all. help!

  • Roger

    I haven’t much to offer for help other than to provide a source for the cable to connect the reader to your computer and a tip regarding using a memory card. has the cable (USB-A to Mini B) with the ferrite choke, identical to the one provided with the eReader, for 99 cents. The cable with my reader was bad and Geeks solved my problem! I also spotted a couple of USB-A to Mini-B cables, BUT without the ferrite choke, at the local Dollar Tree store. I didn’t buy one so can’t attest to their value ($1.00) but if there’s a Dollar Store handy and you have the cable problem that I experienced it might be worth a shot to check them out. Just be sure to get the correct cable with the Mini-B connector_________ they are hard to find!
    Per Literati, that eReader is supposed to support up to an 8GB SD memory card.
    Unless I’m mistaken, a card above 2GB is no longer an SD card- it becomes an SDHC card, the HD meaning High Capacity. My reader won’t work with a SDHC card. If you are experiencing a similar problem limit your card to 2GB and you may be able to load books via the memory card, loaded through a memory card reader attached to your computer.
    I bought my Literati as a refurb for $40 and with a new cable and a 2GB card, I’m up and running______ limited by about a 2 hour battery life. I assumed they had replaced the battery during refurb but apparently the old “assumed” has bitten again!

    Good luck!

  • Rcleavitt

    After reading some of the previous posts I remembered that I had had a problem with the on/off switch on my refurbed literati reader.
    That switch sits almost flush with the top of the case and rides level with the case
    (like a doughnut floating in a coffee mug.
    Mine was tilted in the hole and my guess, based on the scratch marks, was that the previous owner had used a stylus, or similar tool, on the switch and had managed to tilt it so it stuck under the edge of the hole in the case where it’s mounted. I used a straightened paper clip to wriggle the button and move the high side of the button over to center it in the hole.
    Not sure if anyone has experienced the same problem but it’s something to keep in mind.
    Once I got the button re-centered in the hole the reader charged and a well placed push with an index finger turned it on/off!

    Again, Good luck……….

  • Rowellburt

    my ereader will power up but that’s it. No help from mfg. That sucks.


    THANK YOU!  The advice about copying books onto an sd card and putting the card into the Literati is rather helpful.  THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!

  • Alec

    my liiterati wont charge help please!

  • Kg

    mine wont even TURN ON! i don’t know what to do with it. I am So close to sell it to gazelle if they would take it.

  • Rob

    Our Literati died about mid-December before we went to Texas for the holidays. I finally got through to the Literati toll free number {(800)-481-7983} and the young lady I talked to said that they no longer make the Literati so they can’t provide any warranty support. She told me to take it back to the store where I bought it to see if I can get a refund. I’m checking with Gomadic to see if their battery pack will act as a substitute for the dead battery in my eReader. If I get any more info, I’ll add another post.

  • amy

    I got my dad the Literati over a year ago, and now it won’t turn on or off with the power button. I think he’s been pushing it too hard. He brought it to me because it wouldn’t turn on, and I pushed the reset button on the back to turn it on. It synced fine and works fine, but I can’t turn it off with the power button. Any ideas?

    • Roger

      The On/Off button can easily slide off to the side of the hole in the case when depressed. Make sure the button has risen to the top of its travel and is centered in the hole. If it’s already up above the case and moves freely but still won’t turn off when depressed I can’t help.
      Out of ideas completely…. sorry!

  • Rachel Stroud

    I have a problem with my Literati eReader that I have not found any answers for: after I have it plugged into my computer and am finished using it I will shut it down. Normal procedure but then I can’t get it to turn back on. Then I have to hit the reset button on the back and then I have to reset all my info on it. I always disconnect it properly from the computer so I can’t figure out why it does it. It works fine as long as I do not plug into a computer. I can’t seem to find The Sharper Image Website to look for answers. Do you have any advice.

  • Samora1276

    i just brought a used literati e reader an everytime i try to connect it to my computer it ask me for a pass word how can i reset to my own password or by pass it so that i can connect an download books

  • Balfonso

    Just another frustrated one… I bought it in a second hand store. Can’t load books, no matter how hard I try… using all methods described above. Can’t use wireless connection… Can’t delete books… And can’t reset the account info of the previous owner… Just can’t can’t can’t…

  • jeremy pizano

    A friend recently gave me a Literati eReader and im barely understanding how to use it. the only thing is i want to rent e books from my library, but i would need to be signed into my account. is there any way i can sign out of his account without deleting the current books on the eReader

  • Jacob

    everything on my screen is literally upside-down AND backwards. what do i dooooooooo?!?!?!

  • guest

    Could it be the cord?  My literati won’t turn on or reset.  I’m wondering if maybe the power cord is problem?  What do you think?  I’ve had my literati a while and I don’t know if they would give me a refund or a replacement.

  • G0dessjes

    My literati turns on has a fuzzy screen then turns off how can i fix this problem please help

  • Anna Kavaliova

    Hi I have my literati for about a year already but recently I started to have problems with it. Usually I download files directly on disc as it was a hard drive(because that way I can get books in my language for free). But also I got some book from kobo. For some reason literati got stock on one of my purchased book and now I cannot upload new data whenever i do all books still same. I try to re install system couple times factory reset and quick reset, but it didn’t do nothing. Help people is there any other options? 

  • Spencerchampion

    I have a literati ereader and I cannot charge it and it won’t come on. What should step one be after the reset button doe’s not work at all?

  • Fbatronis

    Got a literati for Christmas 2010, after about 6 months it would not turn on.
    Called and was sent box to return unit. In about six weeks got a unit back.
    This unit appeared to be refurbished, but it worked.    Two months ago I had trouble getting it to turn on.  Now I have tried everything recommened to turn and nothing works. Called 1-800 481 7983 and was told to call back later.  Got a number 1 800 481 7983 from Kobo and got an answer right away.  They no longer make readers, have none in stock to replace mine,and they do not have a place to repair units.

  • Kybic449

    Hi! I eventually had to reset my literati to get it to connect to wifi–now it connects with no problem, however when I try to get it to do anything while connected such as “sync” or go to the store, I can click on it but the literati will do nothing. I have tried to reset it–didn’t help–Any ideas? Thanks!

  • Sweetred00

    was reading a book. turned it off and the next day lost that book and all but two that had book marks.  It also did not download a book I paid for two day
    before the lost books problem.  I really do not know what the problem is.  Also will not download up date.  My son gave me this literati and I though it
    was great now what

  • cindy

    I have used my literati afew times an now it won’t power on any suggestions

    • Cuffy10

      I thought the Literati issue died months ago. I had nothing but trouble with mine, as everyone else seemed too. I followed much of the advice posted above and finally got it running but it won’t hold a charge over night. The last I heard they were closing them out at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $25 a pop. Not really a high value item!
      If you follow up on the posted phone numbers I think you’ll find they no longer work. The web site disappeared!
      People were promised a free replacement. I don’t think anyone ever got one??
      I gave up on mine and won’t waste any more time with it.

  • Terri-Lynn Kasper Brazie

    I have a lined screen that flashes on and off and it won’t do anything else, even with using the reset on the back, please help!

  • Stephanee Reynolds

    my sharper image will not turn on propperly, all i get are wavy black & white lines. was working fine then nothing. if you have any sugestions that wouldb great

  • vee

    I increased my font size to 125% and found that the lines are off the page. How can I get everything in front of me without having to scroll left & right when I’m reading? Thanks, Vee

  • Victoria Mays

    I have a problem with trying to open one of my books it worked in the past but for some reason it says the contents you are trying to view is locked. It says press the shop button and select update library. There is no shop button. I pressed synch and update but it still won’t open. Do you have any solutions?

  • Lance

    is there a way to increase the speed, or memory in this unit. i have one, and its soooo slow, opening up a book, and just turning a page.

  • Adam Edwards

    I take good care of my devices and one day, the literati just wont turn on. Sucks that I was in the middle of a book! I have tried charging, the paperclip reset, different variations of pressing the power button and got nothing. I have come to terms that the unit is deceased but wanted to ask for help in a last effort before its burial to the trash. Any input to bring it back to life? Is it good for parts to any other literati owners?

  • Robin

    Is anyone else having trouble loading Kobo on windows 8, if so how did you fix it.

  • DeAnn Messinger

    my unit will not allow books to be deleted, and It will not show preloaded books in my desktop library or my digital editions library… and suggestions?

  • mcdonald

    My froze on the light screen. Nothing but a bright white screen…..HELP!!!

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