Sony Reader launched in Australia

Sony Reader launched in Australia

Sony Reader PRS-350 (Pink)I’ve been waiting for aaaages for Sony to launch their ebook reader in Australia, and today they finally announced it.

The Reader—it boggles my mind how Sony could possibly have trademarked such a common word—features the E-Ink Pearl display, which I believe is the same type of screen that the newest Kindles have.

Book Bee has all the details, the most important being that the Reader will integrate with REDgroup’s online bookshops, which includes Borders Australia. The device will be sold at Borders (online and bricks and mortar shops), Angus and Robertson, Myer, Sony Style stores and Sony centres.

Update: CNET reports that Readers will start from $229.

Personally, it’s been very difficult to keep myself from buying the latest Kindle. It’s just so cheap and there’s the convenience of shopping for books straight from the device. But the Sony has it’s selling points for me—I’ve given up on the BeBook because of the price—so here’s my very rough, quite unscientific comparison of the two devices (green is good; red is not).

Amazon Kindle

  • Cheap (without 3G it’s US$139 + shipping)
  • Wireless capability
  • Synchronises with multiple devices (iPad, Android phone)
  • Closed ecosystem — it’s hackable, but that decreases convenience
  • Proprietary format
  • Stupid micro fees — meaning I’ll probably use wireless only when I’m desperate

Sony Reader

  • Touchscreen — I can’t stress enough how important this is for me
  • Supports Adobe Digital Editions — required if and when my library starts an ebook lending program
  • Comes in girlie colours (pink for the 5″ model; red for the 6″ model)
  • Based on US prices, I expect the 6″ model will be about twice as much as the cheapest Kindle
  • No wireless capability at all
  • No synchronisation

Yes, the Reader comes in pink. That almost tips the balance for me.

Do you own the Kindle, the Reader or both? What are the pros and cons? (And I’m most interested in the negative aspects so I can determine if I can live with them!)

Thanks to Jacq and Book Bee for the heads up on the Sony launch. The image above shows the pink PRS-350 Reader from Sony Australia.

14 comments

  1. Everything I read about these babies makes me want one even more! I am not making a decision until I have test driven it, but I have a feeling I will possibly own one of these (PRS-650!) by the end of the year… plus, they also come in red *snickers*

  2. Kaetrin says:

    I’m excited!!  I have a Sony PRS-700 and while I love it, I hear that the reading clarity/screen definition is much better on the newer models with their E Ink Pearl thingy.  I don’t think I’d manage without a touchscreen and now all the Sonys will have one.  Yay!  And, they will (finally, finally) have support in Australia.  I bought mine off eBay about 18 months ago and I think I ended up paying close to $600AUD for it, so if I can pick one up from Borders for $250 or thereabouts that will still be a huge bargain for me.  I don’t really NEED a new one but I WANT WANT WANT!!  (Plus if the screen clarity is really better, that will be a big win for me.  The touchscreen on the 700 reduces the contrast between the gray background and the black writing which can make it the words hard to see sometimes.  I wondered if it would ever happen but I’m so happy that Sony are finally noticing the down under crowd!  *happy dance*

  3. Mel says:

    I’m torn.  Kindle price so cheap but Amazon overseas books pricing so annoying! I know you can buy other stuff and convert but added hassle.
    I think I may end up with the Sony until Amazon sees sense…does anyone know if Amazon UK has Kindle books yet…might be more Aussie friendly?

  4. A friend has gifted me their old Sony PRS 505.  If I had the money I’d probably go with the no frills kindle.  I’m using it to read the free classics available via Gutenberg so the availability of new books is not a major draw card.  I like the ability to annotate which both the Kindle and these Sony Readers have but would be worried about the Sony not being able to sync with a pc based ap (is this what you mean by no sync?)

  5. Kat says:

    FYI, I just posted an update on the Reader launch.

    Wandergurl – The iPad is bigger and heavier, so it’s less portable. The screen is like reading on a computer, which is what I want to avoid where I can help it. (Reading on the HTC Desire is just for impulse reads or when I’m stuck in traffic or having lunch without a book. Anyway, the resolution on my phone seems better than on the iPad.) Plus, the iPad is at least 5x the price of an ebook reader, so I have to be a lot more careful with it.

  6. Kat says:

    I’m going to see if I can play with one next week. I’m bringing a friend with a Kindle so they can make some comparisons. If the Kindle goes below AU$100 I’d buy it just to review on the blog and then give it to someone in my family as a gift.

  7. Kat says:

    Thanks, Sean. Yeah, I’m not a fan of pricing ebooks the same as hardbacks (although I understand why publishers might do it). I’d rather they delayed the ebook release and priced them the same as mass markets, to be honest.

  8. For e pricing them the same is stating that you are buying the same product, when in a lot of cases with e-books you are only acquiring a licence.
    One of the advantages of Kindle to is the archiving or backing up of books that you have bought – not sure if other companies do this.

  9. Nicola says:

    I finally bought a Kindle earlier this year after looking at reviews on the internet of many of the ereaders. The Kindle had better reviews than the Sony which was much more expensive. I have the Kindle with whispernet which means that I can download books anywhere without having to log on to the internet and the download costs nothing. Prior to purchasing the kindle, I checked the availability of books . I have the ereader function on my ipod touch; this is very limiting as many books are geographically restricted. Amazon also have some restrictions but not nearly as many as Ipod ereader (Barnes and Noble???) Also the Amazon books are very cheap, even with the international charges added on. The screen is not a touch screen but is easy to read. My boss also has a kindle and so I was able to look at it before I made my decision.
    The only frustrating thing about the kindle is the inability to get Adobe digital editions and so any of those are downloaded to my computer.
    The great thing about kindle is you can get samples of books, usually 1 or 2 chapters, for free from Amazon, so you can see if you like the book prior to purchase. It has saved me lots because of this! I also like that I won’t lose my books as they are archived with Amazon.

  10. Nicola says:

    PS I also love that I can synch my books to my Ipod Touch so I don’t have to take the kindle with me; if you have the Ipad already, you can get the Kindle app (if you buy the kindle first, I think); then you will get everything in glorious colour on yor Ipad!

What do you think?