In Defence Of Sony Ereaders – An Endangered Species

It has become fashionable in Blogging circles to decry Sony ereaders as  irrelevant, backward looking and pointless gadgets.  This is a pity as in fact the Sony ereaders are perfectly good, even splendid devices, and in my far from humble opinion are actually better than a lot of their competitors on a number of fronts.


There is also a growing assumption that there is actually only one ereader out there, and that is the Kindle, which is to ignore the many perfectly good ereaders made all over the world by no end of manufacturers .

Anyhow, to my central thesis, which is that Sony have been making, and still are making remarkably good ereaders.   They are open to the charge of always being a bit behind the rest of the flock in technical development, but when they get there they do it very well.

So what is so wonderful about Sony ereaders?

Well, a small list might be the best approach to this:-

  • Extremely solid and well made
  • Very well thought out and set up navigation through your ebooks
  • Well designed library maintenance system (how you organise your ebooks in your ereader)
  • Uses the universally accepted standard of ePub, with no special “Only works with Sony” variations as is the case with the Nook
  • Nicely balances touch screen control with button control, so whichever you prefer is available

The above is only a short list of the good qualities of Sony ereaders, which I am sure any Sony user out there will be able to add to easily enough.   My point is that Sony ereaders are as good as any other, and in several ways, much better.

I am personally very fond of the fact that  they work with standard ePub, which makes buying ebooks for them so very easy as there are so many sites that sell or give away ePub ebooks all over the world – there are ebook sellers other than those “tied to device” ones such as Sony Reader Store, Barnes and Noble, Amazon

First ereader with front lit screen

Not particularly relevant I suppose, but it is worth noting that Sony were the first to have front lit screens on their ereaders, way back in 2007 or perhaps it was 2008 they had that… Never did understand why they dropped it though, stupid of them.


Even though they are no longer made from aluminium, I always have a feeling that I am holding a seriously solid device in my hands when I pick up one or other of my Sony ereaders, not something I feel when I pick up one of my Kindles or any other ereader.  It has always been a major part of all Sony ereaders that they are tough babies, and can take a remarkable amount of mistreatment before they give up the ghost.

As I mentioned above, as Sony use the standard version of ePub (an ebook format), if you own a Sony ereader you can buy ebooks from literally thousands of online ebook stores in the happy knowledge that they will work fine on your ereader – this is not unique to Sony ereaders, but it is unique to the top three ereader types (Sony, Nook and Kindle).  Therefore the frequently dismissive comments about the admittedly not amazing Sony online ebook store are pretty irrelevant since Sony owners are in no way restricted to using the Sony online book store to buy their ebooks… The world is our oyster in that regard.

Since Sony started to produce WiFi models, they have actually caught up with Amazon as well.. you can lie in bed at 3 am with a Kindle and buy an ebook to read from Amazon (a very well set up system), but you can do the same with a Sony ereader too..

So for me, the Sony ereader is still my favourite device for reading ebooks on, even though I am reasonably fond of my several Kindles, I find them inferior to my Sonys on many levels.

I have written about this before (See Post) but felt moved to add to that earlier post because of several extremely dismissive posts I have read in the last few days about Sony ereaders, which seemed unbalanced and inaccurate to me.

I am now having to decide which ereader I shall take with me next month when I go off to Malaysia, where for the next 12 months I shall be living – Sony?  Kindle?  Sony…. ? Or….?

Any thoughts on this?   Do share them with us if you feel strongly – pro or con – as it is of interest to hear what you guys think.

4 thoughts on “In Defence Of Sony Ereaders – An Endangered Species

  1. Richard Adin

    Good morning, Tony. Nice article and I agree that Sony Readers, at least the no-longer produced 505 and 950 with which I have experience are excellent devices. I can’t tell yiou how unhappy I was when I screwed up replacing the battery on the 505 and rendered it junk. My 950 is still going strong and is still a great device. Would I buy another Sony? Yes, if I wanted an eInk device. But I have to admit, my Nook tablet is my favorite device for reading (I don’t use any of the other tablet “features,” such as watching videos or accessing the Internet).

  2. Tony Post author

    Hi Rich, I am glad you liked what I wrote, always good to know that at least one person agrees with me.
    I have been feeling really bad about your Sony, as I feel to a degree responsible for its untimely demise. And know how fond of it you were too.

    But I am happy that in spite of that you are getting on so well with your Nook these days.

  3. Keri

    Gotta agree with you about the Sony.It’s far and away my best reader. I have a Nook/Kindle3 and a Kobo but I always use the T1.The other 3 are on permanent loan to others. Never use my Samsung G10 to read, it’s used more for work tho I do use it for wiring diagrams and plans or pdfs.
    I still use my MiGear reader in bed or when others are watching TV in the dark. Battery still good after 2 years. Either I was extremely lucky and got a fluke good ‘un or it’s bewitched.
    I never bothered upgrading to a Sony T2 as I couldn’t see the difference with the T1.

  4. Pat

    I am sticking to my Sony, still best value and I can add other ebooks from other sources, very easiily. Has good battery life, Note I do use my ipad for Ibooks as well. The only down side for Sony and many others is getting books to download, like I can buy an Itunes card and away I go, but Sony and the rest need paypal etc so not as easy, yeah I am in Oz


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