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Kindle vs. Sony Reader: Comparisons

written by: Elton Gahr•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 4/23/2011

Trying to find a good eBook reader is hard, not because there are none, but because there are so many. Two of the best are the Kindle and the Sony Reader. This article puts the Kindle vs the Sony Reader in side by side comparisons to help make that decision a bit easier.

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    Which Is Better: Sony Reader or Kindle?

    amazon kindle 

    The competition over the best of the eBook readers has become huge business with Amazon now selling more eBooks for the Kindle than hardcover books. Amazon is not the only company which is banking on turning these sales into huge profits and the Sony eBook reader compares well with the Kindle in many ways. So how do these two devices match up? We'll take a look at a Kindle vs. Sony Reader comparision here.

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    Screens

    .kindle-v-pocket-ereader 

    Both Amazon and Sony have a number of different devices, but by taking the most basic, and popular of their devices into account it becomes easy to see how the two compare. These are the Amazon Kindle Wi-Fi only and the Sony Pocket Edition Reader.

    Both the Kindle and the Sony Pocket Edition use the Pearl E Ink technology which means that when looking at text on a page they are largely the same. The major difference is the Sony Reader's screen is an inch smaller than the Kindle, but has a touch screen interface. This gives a bit more versatility to the Sony Reader and makes the devices considerably smaller because not only does it have less screen space but doesn't need room for buttons either. This could be an advantage, or disadvantage depending on how you want to use your device, but the closer it is to paperback size the nicer which gives the advantage to the Sony Reader.

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    Price

    Again, comparing the two basic models gives a good baseline for the price structure of both eBook lines. In the case of the Kindle the Wi-Fi version of its devices costs 139 dollars. The Pocket Edition of the Sony Reader costs 179.99 which is closer to the price of the Kindle 4G device. This is enough money to buy a number of books.

    Which leads to the other comparison which is likely more important in the long term, the price of their eBooks. Since both of these devices use proprietary eBook formats and allow the publishers to pick their own prices, these tend to be generally uniform when comparing the same book, but Amazon has attempted to keep the price of eBooks down and even clashed with publishers to do it, so they are more likely the company to continue doing so in the future.

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    eBook Library

    sony reader 

    With a bit of effort nearly any eBook can be converted to be put on any other device, but neither the Kindle nor the Sony Reader make this easy and so getting books from their eBooks library is vital. The difference is that Sony has chosen an open format for its books making it far easier to use your eBooks how you want while Amazon forces you to convert books in order to read them on any other devices.

    In addition to this, Sony has partnered with many local libraries and if your local library has done this you can borrow electronic books from their website. This can give you access to huge numbers of free eBooks, though they will “expire” after some time, so don’t read too slowly.

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    Overview

    For many of the most basic features such as the look of the screen, the size of the hard drive and the refresh speeds of the pages the Kindle and the Sony Reader are nearly identical with both holding far more books than anyone needs at one time and because of this, neither is a bad choice. So it comes down to being a personal choice when looking at Kindle vs. Sony Reader comparisons. If price is paramount to you, the Kindle is probably the better choice, but for someone who wants to do more and doesn’t mind paying for it, the Sony Reader is likely the better option.

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    Sources:

    Amazon, http://www.Amazon.com

    Reader store, http://ebookstore.sony.com/reader/

    Bermuda Onion's Weblog, http://bermudaonion.net/2009/09/25/kindle-versus-sony-reader-pocket-edition/

    Images courtesy of:

    Amazon

    Sony Reader Store