Thursday, December 4, 2008

Should You Still Buy The Sony Reader 505?

I was asked by someone on Twitter yesterday if I still recommend the older model of Sony Reader, the 505.

Yes, I do.

If most of your reading will be of an entertainment, fiction nature and don't have a need for Notes and Search, the 505 is perfect.

These are the major features the Sony Reader 700 offers that the 505 doesn't:

- More speed: which really isn't an issue for simple reading
- Touchscreen: again, really not required for reading
- Notes: useful for non-fiction
- Search: useful for non-fiction and studying
- Highlighting: unnecessary for fiction reading
- Stylus: for notes and highlighting
- Sidelighting: which is useful for reading in bed

The last issue -- sidelighting -- can be gotten around with a cheapie booklight or going expensive by purchasing the Sony light wedge cover.

The 505 still has important advantages over the abominable Kindle:

- PDF text reflow: which is in fact iffy depending on individual PDF
- eBook borrowing from public libraries: free reading!
- ePub capability: no file format lock-in

For those who have a Mac, there's been some discussion in Comments (beginning here) about how to get around some issues for Mac owners. Alas, there's still no way to force eBook library borrowing. I'm still screaming at Sony for a Mac OS X version of the eLibrary software. I don't see how Sony can ignore the increasing market share of the Mac and the new competition from the iPhone.

I see the 700 as being two things:

1) A upgrade for 505 owners and a great start for new "power" readers
2) A step before the upcoming wireless model

Those who really want a Sony Reader yet pine for wireless can be best served with the 505. It's a great introduction to eBooks with less expense than the 700.

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