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Hello, cutie! New Sony e-reader scores on style

Yesterday Sony announced a new bargain e-reader: Just $199, it'll be among the cheapest e-book readers around when it hits stores later this month. But it doesn't look cheap -- in fact, it's really cute!

Called the Sony Reader Pocket Edition, it's got a 5-inch display and comes in three colors -- traditional silver, cool blue and, yes, super-cute pink. There's a click wheel, like an old-style iPhone, and control buttons up the right edge.

Did I mention that it comes in pink?

Perhaps the kind of case you're holding when looking at the screen of an e-reader shouldn't matter. After all, a true reader gets lost in the words, whether on a screen or a page. Who notices the boundaries of the page? Does the case holding the screen make that much difference?

But to me, the tactile experience of reading is relevant. So much so that I haven't invested in an e-reader yet -- I like the look and feel of classic paper books. And if the physical experience of holding and reading a book is relevant, the design of an e-reader makes a difference.

OK, style isn't everything. Unlike the Kindle, the Sony device needs to be physically connected to a computer to download, and people used to the Kindle's massive capacity may be dismayed by the Pocket Edition's 350-book limit. To address the later problem, Sony will offer an updated, higher-capacity touchscreen reader with slots for memory sticks or SD cards. But you'll still need that cable.

Yet there are a few upsides. Sony has dropped its e-book prices to $9.99-$11.99, and its devices can read 1 million free public domain books available through the Google Books Project.

Plus, I have to let you know: The new touch-screen comes in two colors -- black and red.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photos: Sony

Comments () | Archives (10)

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I have the original Sony reader in red and I love it. It's extremely attractive, and I love all the free books from Google and Gutenberg that I can read on it!

I'll go with silver...pink for my GF

downloading program to start ereader is tough, directions say one thing and the program does another. Need to call Sony and have them walk you thru this.

It looks stylish and slim

The lack of wireless connection isn't a big deal. Ebooks aren't like mp3s, which are consumed, so to speak, in 3-minute intervals before we move on to the next. It might take me a couple weeks or so to finish a book, making a few minutes of downloading the next book a very trivial matter. I'm at my computer all day anyway.

Plus, 350 books is a LOT of books! I mean, that's nearly a book a day for a year! It would take me a long time to read 350 books. And ebook files are tiny, so you don't need much on-board memory.

Simplicity is nice sometimes. It's easy to get distracted when your gadget has wireless capability. The beauty of the Sony Reader is that it's all about the book.

I'm a Sony Reader owner and while I don't have the instant downloading capabilities of my Kindle compadres, the Reader is a user-friendly device for people who don't need/want bells and whistles... just good books to read at the press of a button. Now they just need to figure out how to get the “new book” smell into digital format, and I’d be happy.


Does this read CBR. files and if so, are they shown in colour?

You should add more exclamation points to your copy to match your amateur style.

iPhones have never had a click wheel. Try being familiar with your subject matter.

I have the original (2) ereader PRS500. I love it. Yes its not your grandmothers book. We have been driven by technology so all you book collectors will still have the opportunity to have your books but you can't beat being able to take 350 plus books on the go with you. I take mine to Drs/dentist appointents, while traveling either by car or airplane and at work. Not only does it read various formats, pdf, txt, rtf, mp3, epub, bbb, etc the articale failed to mention that you can listen to music (mp3 or wma) through headphones or external speakers, while reading at the same time. Yes it does read mp3 audio books and it will displa foreign language books but the menu is still only available in English. I have a lot of tech pubs, manuals, reference for my job and most are in PDF. Guess what, I have them on my ereader for easy access when traveling. You can also convert large MS Word documents to rtf or txt format and transfer them too. Once you connect to the computer via USB it recognizes the reader as another drive and you only have to drag or cut and paste, files including pictures (display in B&W) to the readers library. This is a great item for anyone who likes to read, period.


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