Archive for the ‘Sony’ Category

EBRs beyond Amazon: January 2016

January 23, 2016

EBRs beyond Amazon: January 2016

When the Amazon Kindle was first introduced in November of 2007, there were already more than ten devices dedicated to reading e-books in the US market…it’s just that none of them were doing much here. ūüôā Even Sony, which was a powerhouse in the consumer electronics market, had them…and that included with a non-backlit screen.

Amazon revolutionized the market with their $400 device…having an E Ink screen was important, but there were really two other things which moved it from a techie, niche device to a more mainstream one (at least among readers).

One was the ability to wirelessly download books. Having to cable your device to a computer to get a book was a considerable hurdle to many people.

The other one was…that it was Amazon. ūüôā Now, there was intense skepticism among tech writers that Amazon could successfully introduced hardware, but there wasn’t any skepticism among readers that Amazon could sell them books.

Before the Kindle, the e-book market was techies.

With the Kindle, the e-book market was readers.

Over time, I’ve written about a number of non-Amazon devices…and they aren’t all still around.

I leave the links on the website, even though some of them don’t go anywhere, partially to preserve the list historically. For those of you using screen readers, and even those without, I know it can be difficult to click on a broken link. I’ll go through and re-label those or do something with them to explain the situation.

Here are the links (again, some of these may not go anywhere):

So, in the USA, for non-backlit EBRs (which is part of how I define an EBR now), it’s largely the Kindle, the nook, and the Kobos.

Part of that may be that people have transitioned reading e-books to tablets…you can get a tablet cheaper than an EBR, and have color, text-to-speech, audiobooks, and animation (for enhanced e-books). The sight-reading experience for me is better on a non-backlit device (I usually read on two different ones a day), but because of text-to-speech, I’d say most of my reading is on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX. That’s not just because of using TTS…since that’s my device that does TTS and I usually use that for hours every weekday, it’s the device I carry with me. When I do sight-read at work, it’s on my Kindle Fire.

Okay, let’s take a look at what is available currently (not used or refurbished) from those three companies.


I read on a Paperwhite and a Voyage (two different rooms), and like them both.

The basic Kindle above doesn’t have a light.

The Voyage has a different way to change pages than the Paperwhite.

We may get a new model or more from Amazon this year…I’ve predicted they’ll do a “waterproof” one.


  • Kobo Touch 2.0 $89.99
  • Kobo Glo HD $129.99
  • Kobo Aura H20 $189.99

Kobos are seen as being quality devices, and I would consider them perhaps the strongest competitor (going into the future) for the Kindle.

Their Touch is $10 more than the basic Kindle (which also has touch), and the Glo is $10 more than the Paperwhite.

The H20, though, is $10 less than the Voyage…and it is “waterproof”.

Also, those prices are compared to the lowest Kindle prices…and some people don’t want to see ads on their devices in order to get them initially at a discount. If you don’t want the ads, the Kobos are cheaper.


  • NOOK (they have been¬†inconsistent on capitalization) GlowLight Plus $129.99

Frontlit, touchscreen, waterproof, and it does DRM ePUB (Digital Rights Management protected) which the Kindles don’t.

So, what would I recommend?

First, I wouldn’t go with the nook, unless you are already heavily invested in nook books. I just don’t think you can count on the company’s future, especially with regard to EBRs. The company name might be around for a long time, and the nook name may be on tablets, but I think it’s a risk. Also, right from the beginning, the customer service for the devices has been markedly superior (both in execution and policies) for the Kindle over the nook. If you already have nooks and want to stay with this, this is a good model with some nice features.

The Kobos are, from what I understand (I’ve never owned one), good devices and their owners like them. I think Kobo is a much more stable company than Barnes & Noble (looking at EBRs for the latter for sure). I don’t think this is a bad choice, but…

I’d go with the Kindles. Again, Amazon’s Customer Service is great on these, and they fit pretty nicely into the Amazon ecosystem, which you may be using for other things. I also like them as devices. ūüôā For most people, I would go with the Paperwhite. Having the light (it’s a frontlight, not a backlight) is really worth it over the least expensive model. The Voyage is a bit nicer, and there’s nothing wrong with going for that. Again, for most people, though, I think they’ll see the Paperwhite as a better value.

If I look at this again two years¬†from now, I’m not convinced we’ll have the nook (it should survive this holiday season, but might be eliminated in 2017), but I do think we’ll have the Kindles and the Kobos. I don’t see somebody else getting into the market right at this point, although that might happen if reflective screen technology gets a lot cheaper. We may also still see some sort of “dualume” screens, that have both reflective and backlit screens, or reflective screens may add color and/or animation as their technology improves.

What do you think? Did/do you own a non-Kindle EBR? How do you feel about it? Have I left off an EBR in the USA? Am I underestimating Barnes & Noble’s future involvement with EBRs? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Sony e-books go to Kobo

February 7, 2014

Sony e-books go to Kobo

While Amazon’s Kindle revolutionized the e-book market, it wasn’t the first EBR (E-Book Reader) in the USA.

There were more than ten available EBRs in 2007.

Sure, some of them were pretty specialized “geekware”, rather than having much of a commercial impact. One example would be the

ebookwise reader

which, I believe, is still available.

However, there was a big, brand name, high-profile consumer company in the game: Sony.

Yep, you can’t get much more mainstream than Sony for consumer gadgets (certainly, that was true in 2007), and they were here with EBRs.

Back in October, I wrote about Sony no longer supporting their EBRs in the USA. I mentioned that the Sony e-bookstore was still in business.

Well, now, according to this

Sony FAQ

they are also shutting down the Reader Store.

That is both good and bad news for Kindle owners.

It’s bad news because competition is good. Competition drives innovation, for one thing.

However, even when I did this comparison of Sony’s readers, the Kindle, and the nook (as it was capitalized back then) in 2009:

The prodigal Sony

it wasn’t exactly competitive. There was a “Sony tax”…just meaning that you would pay more for their devices and their content. That’s often been true for Sony, and it can make sense when it is higher quality…but that wasn’t the perceived case here.

I did a Buffy parody about the competition, which, re-reading it, has a lot of references that just aren’t going to play for most people any more. ūüėČ

Sony, the Kindle Slayer

Still, more players means a more interesting game.

The good news?

That’s what is happening to people who use the Sony Reader Store for their books.

I have said more than once in this blog that I think it is more likely that my  descendants  will have access to my e-books than to my p-books (paperbooks).

Some people pooh-pooh that, asking what would happen if Amazon went out of business (knock virtual wood).

Well, it’s my understanding that if a format was not commercially supported, it might be legal to strip the DRM (Digital Rights Management) and still have access to the books.

I have also suggested, and here is what is significant here, that someone else would likely buy Amazon’s e-book holdings if it did go down (which I think is unlikely for some time).

That’s what is happening here.

When the Sony Reader Store closes on March 20th, its customers will be able to transfer their books to Kobo, which is a major player (even before this development).

Customers don’t have to do that: they can download the books first, if they want…but I don’t think it makes sense to give up the cloud storage for most people.

Yes, there may be rare cases where you bought a book from Sony, and Kobo doesn’t have it (one of the risks of exclusives), and that could cause a problem here.

Generally, though, people will have access to their books. They’ll also have access to their store credits…but not to their annotations.

Here’s an important point from the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)…don’t sign up with Kobo yet, if you haven’t:

“How will the transfer to Kobo work? Do I need to do anything now?

No, there is no need to do anything now. Until the Reader Store is closed on March 20, 2014, you can continue to shop at the Reader Store and use your Reader device. In late March, you’ll receive an email from Reader Store with instructions on how to transfer to Kobo.

Why should I wait until late March to sign up with Kobo?

As part of the transfer process, we will send you a link to enable you to transfer your Reader Store library and any Reader Store account credits to a Kobo account. If you do not use this link, your library transfer will not work.”

This is also important:

“Can I use my Reader from Sony to buy eBooks directly from Kobo?

In late March, we will release an update to the Reader for PC/Mac¬ģ software that will enable you to directly connect to the Kobo Store for future purchases. You can use the software then to also transfer the titles via USB to any of your Reader models from Sony .

In late May 2014, Kobo will launch a version of its eBook Store that you will be able to access directly from your Wi-Fi Reader (PRS-T1, PRS-T2, and PRS-T3) from Sony .

The Reader PRS-900 and PRS-950 devices will no longer have direct access to an eBook store after Reader Store closes. However, any eBooks purchased from Kobo can still be loaded onto your device via USB transfer.”

Bottom line is that it isn’t going to be a disaster for most people…but it will be inconvenient, and difficult for some.

This should boost Kobo somewhat, which is also good for Kindle users. With the Nook travails, Kobo may be Amazon’s main non-tablet competitor in the next few years. Again, a strong competitor is good for us…

Even though Sony exiting e-books is not unexpected, I’ll admit to a bit of sadness. I’m glad that there is a reasonable transition plan in place, but I’m not sure why I feel some loss. I suppose that’s also been true for me when bookstores close, even when they were ones I didn’t use.

What do you think? Were/are you a Sony reader user? If so, how do you feel about the switch to Kobo? Will you go? What was your favorite part about the Sony? Why didn’t Sony stay in the market? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Special thanks my reader, Edward Foster, who mentioned this development in a comment. I always appreciate a heads-up like that, even if I’ve seen the story elsewhere or need to do more research before I write about it.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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