Sony and Borders join e-book forces

After our post on Amazon’s e-book Kindle device, a few readers alerted us to the following alternative from Sony (via Publisher’s Weekly):

“Borders has joined with Sony to launch a co-branded online store offering e-book titles for Sony’s Reader Digital Book device. The new Borders/Sony online eBook store will offer access to the 25,000 titles available for the device that are generally sold through the Sony eBook Store.”

The partnership between Borders and Sony makes the Sony Reader Digital Book as appealing, in my opinion, as the Kindle device. If we have any users of the Sony model, I would like to hear in the comments section about your experiences with the product and new e-book options through Borders.

14 Comments for “Sony and Borders join e-book forces”

  1. posted by Emily on

    You do realize that the appeal of the Kindle shouldn’t just be that it allows you to read ebooks but that you get a LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION to Sprint’s data service and have a functional web browser on the device, right?

  2. posted by Beth on

    I may be an odd duck, but I don’t see a reason to have a browser in my books. I own the Sony and have for a year. I love it. I also own a simple, basic cell phone and no PDA. The eReader is easy for me and my children to use and doesn’t contain a lot of functions that will just get in the way of my great book. As I stated on the previous posting, my biggest complaint is the eReader website itself. Hopefully, that will get better now that they have viable competition.

  3. posted by Niwah on

    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything about the Kindle’s browser service being lifetime free of charge. In fact I remember very clearly that it was touted around as a “beta” feature, and may be subject to change. I certainly wouldn’t carry such high hopes until Amazon makes that claim itself.

    Besides, the Kindle also suffers from many design flaws. Not just aesthetically, but functionally with the placement of its page turning buttons. I’ll be waiting for version 2 before I decide to jump onboard.

  4. posted by mr. Obsession on

    I only use my reader for, well, reading, so the Sony Readers (500 & 505) blow the Kindle out of the water in my house.

    With my 505 I get: double the battery life, ability to transfer files onto the device for free (vs. paying with the Kindle), RTF support (most of my books are in this format), a smaller size that fits in my jacket pocket, and a lower price tag.

    If I wanted to use my reader as some type of laptop-hybrid, the Kindle WOULD be sweet. But I don’t need internet access for this device (my iPhone has that covered), RSS support that costs $$$ (again, iPhone – for free), etc.

    Easy decision if you’re just a reader. The only thing I’d love is the daily delivery of newspapers. But that costs more money, too. And Hoovers up battery life. The Sonys are a one-time cost that only need a charge every couple of weeks.

  5. posted by Matt on

    I have had the Sony reader for about a year and I love it. I live in the Netherlands so it is not possible to use the Kindle as it is a US only product (Growing up in the US, I always thought Europe had more variety of tech like cell phones, but US has infinitely more variety of all technology that is totally closed to all other countries). I love being able to charge the Sony reader once a month and then have it for a couple flights a month to Singapore, Australia, and next month to Argentina. In fact I take it on 3-4 week trips and leave the charger at home. I loaded up a bunch of free books, paid books, plus PDF versions of books from Manning, SitePoint, and others. The only downside to the device is the Sony Store. It seems that they are incapable of designing a usable storefront, so I look forward to Borders taking on the problem and hopefully solving it.

  6. posted by Matt S on

    For their cost why not just get a tablet PC?

    Truly unclutter your life from paperbacks, laptop and ebooks… Buy one product that will do all three.

    There are many options out there, as an example. HP Pavilion 12.1″ Touch-screen Entertainment Laptop for around $1000 at circuit city.

  7. posted by mr. Obsession on

    Matt –

    Simple answer: Because of the eInk. The static image means zero eyestrain which allows for hours more of reading that simply wouldn’t be possible on a traditional laptop screen.

    Apples and oranges, frankly.

  8. posted by Kevin on

    I’d be tempted by the Sony, if it were more Mac-friendly. But as of now, the connect software is windows-only.

    Right now, I’m quite tempted by Bookeen’s Gen3 Cybook, which is also eInk.

  9. posted by mr. Obsession on


    I’m on a Mac and use a program called libprs500 to manage all of my material on the PRS-505. You DO need Windows to purchase books from Sony, but hopefully the new deal with B&N will negate this.

    My point is, don’t be scare off because you’re on OS X. I wasn’t and am glad I gave it a try!

  10. posted by RogueTess on

    The elegant form factor alone puts my 4-month old Sony Reader 505 atop the Kindle for me. Kindle’s clunky size outweighs the addmittedly awesome internet access (I have an Asus eee pc for that). I, too, am a Mac user who finds libprs500 really usable. I use VPN on my Mac mini to access the Sony site through Windows. Happy comparison shopping to all…..

  11. posted by Jack Baty on

    I’ve never used the Sony, but love my Kindle. I don’t care about web access, but using the Kindle Store right from the device is great. Instant gratification – no computer (Mac or PC) necessary. Amazon’s 90,000+ vs Sony/Borders 25,000 available books is significant.

    You can put books on the Kindle for free, but need to hook it to your computer. Otherwise it’s 10 cents to have Amazon convert and send it.

    E-ink is great either way. Much better than reading on a laptop.

  12. posted by Nick on

    Having owned a PRS-500 and now a 505, I have a few observations for anyone that might be considering a Sony Reader.

    I use my Sony Reader every day and I love it. It’s one of the best things an avid reader could own.

    First, the e-ink is very nice. Having read somewhere around 30,000+ pages, I can say that it is easy on the eyes, and the resolution is slightly higher than the Kindle. While this isn’t a huge deal, the letters look more refined and less “blocky” on the Sony Reader.

    Second, the Sony Reader (with a memory stick) works just like any USB drive when it’s plugged in. You can put any type of file on there. The reader will only display the supported file types, of course, but you actually don’t need any special software to get the ebooks onto the reader. Just drag and drop like any another drive.

    Third, the Reader supports a variety of file types. This includes txt, bbeb, pdf and a bunch of others. I might be mistaken, but I believe that Kindle requires use of a single file type, and you must convert everything to that file type by emailing it to a a special account.

    Fourth, I much prefer the size and look of the Reader. It’s smaller than the kindle, and looks much better. I’m not sure what the Kindle designer’s were thinking on that one.


    First, don’t even bother with pdf files on the Reader. Even zoomed in, the Reader does not do well with pdfs. However, there are programs out there that will convert pdf to txt, which looks fine, it’s simply an annoyance.

    Second, the Sony store is fairly poor. Hopefully, this is going to be fixed with Borders getting involved, but who knows. Right now, the selection is weak so I get most of my books from sites like Project Guttenberg, where they are free.

    Other factors:
    No wireless support on the Reader. This isn’t a factor for me, since I only use it for reading books. I don’t need to be able to browse Wikipedia on my ebook. However, I could see how this would be a factor for people who need that or use the reader for nonfiction uses.

    I recommend the Reader, but I will admit that I do not have extensive use of the Kindle, so your mileage may vary. I do plan on severely reducing the amount of actual books that I own because of the Reader I own. Why keep hard copies cluttering up the house when I can put them all on ebook format?

  13. posted by elrj on

    That’s funny: I thought I the title of this post would be “unitasker weekly”! Personally, I unless this item were $50, I can’t imagine wasting the money on it. Why cart around one more device? My laptop and/or smartphone can do the same thing and much much more. Maybe not with the same technology but someday I”m sure they will. To me, this gadget seems like clutter.

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