Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader

Everyone has heard of Amazon’s Kindle 2. It’s a slim and lightweight electronic book reader that boasts an improved display, longer battery life and more storage. It uses 3G wireless to download books anywhere and anytime. There are over 245,000 book titles from Amazon that are available for easy download.

Sony announced today the Sony Reader collaborating with Google to make 600,000 book titles available online. The Sony Reader is small and lightweight just like the Kindle 2. The biggest difference is storage. Sony’s Reader has 20MB compared to the Kindle’s 2GB.

Sony’s Reader requires a computer to download books which can later be synched to the Reader. Amazon’s Kindle 2 uses 3G technology to download books anywhere and anytime. Based on the obvious, Amazon’s Kindle 2 is the superior gadget.

If Sony can match the Kindle’s storage and 3G capability on their Reader, they can crush the Kindle 2. But at the moment, if I had to get an electronic reading device, I would lean towards buying the Amazon Kindle 2, albeit I only have access to half of the available books online.

If Amazon can match what Sony is offering or if Sony can match the Kindle 2 specifications, it would make buying an even tougher decision. Competition is good because it enables innovation as well as keep prices at a reasonable level.

The only question is, which electronic reader will you cuddle up to.

27 thoughts on “Amazon Kindle vs Sony Reader

  1. Don’t forget the format. I could be mistaken but you cannot load eBook from your collection that are in format different than Kindle. With Sony there are converters… Looks like Amazon is following in footsteps of the Apple, they control where and how you get your material (i.e. iTunes) instead of letting user decided where he wants to get files…

    1. Only the Sony (II) has a built in light. That was the key factor for me.For night reading, or just about anywhere, the light is a great feature. Plus the Sony’s touchscreen is great. I do not miss the “download anywhere” feature; the number of times I am actually doing a download is relatively small, and I can do it when I’m sitting at my computer. Also, Sony comes with a nice case.

  2. yeah, at first glance the kindle seems to be the better deal, but when you really get down to it, although the reader doesnt have all the cool things on it, its a much more open and efficient device.

    i download tons of books for free for the sony reader, and if i cant find it for free online, i buy it from the sony store. there are many books that i cant find that amazon does have, ill admit that, but its minor compared to the money i save not forking over money to amazon to add RSS feeds or buying books, or sending stuff to the kindle

    the sony reader IS an ebook reader
    the amazon kindle is just a portable DRM bookstore.

    1. I just received a sony Reader for my birthday. I am still not sure if I want to keep it. where can you download current books for free? I was looking at some of the prices and it’s almost as much as buying a paperback. Any help you could offer me would be greatly appreciated.
      Thanks.

    2. Hi:
      I purchased the Sony Reader for my husband and purchased the Kindle 2 for myself. There are some real estate related books I wanted that Amazon has. What is RSS feeds and what do you mean ebook reader vs DRM bookstore? I am not very technical so I’m not sure what you mean.
      Thank you,

  3. I received a kindle for use during recuperation and I really like it.

    Easy to get ebooks (from gutenberg) to my kindle account. I like the two week free trial period for the magazines and newspapers. I can access text sites on web but it’s slower than my iphone. Love the readability of print, size, portability, weight. Text to voice is a little stilted but perfectly understandable. I enjoyed switching between various books or newspapers as I recovered from surgery. Sent a pdf file (paying 10 cents) and it seems to read just fine. I’m using highlighter to take notes.
    You can turn off the wireless so I imagine you can safely use it on an airplane. Amazon has been offering free download books about once a week. They range from romances to sci-fi to action. I suppose it’s a good way to intro people to writers. I looked at a professional text I’d like to have and it’s about $20 less as an e book. Of course, you can’t loan it out but…. that isn’t my main purpose. I do not anticipate having to build any more book shelves!
    Since it was a gift I did not look at sony reader and am unfamiliar with it.

    p.s. probably won’t risk reading my kindle in the tub!!!!

  4. The huge library that Sony just announced is available for their Reader have all been published before 1923 & are public domain. Thanks, but no thanks. I got a Kindle 3 weeks ago, after looking at both the Sony & Kindle for months. I love the Kindle 2–I can get any of those old books that Sony is touting for free on Amazon also. The wireless feature can’t be beat! Sony’s books are more expensive than Amazon’s, like $2 difference–plus does the Sony allow you to sample books for free? To me, it’s a no-brainer–Kindle 2 rules!

    1. kindle is for use with amazon only. with the sony, you can use everything together with a computer of course. and besides sony prs505 has much better definition and been an old man who loves to read it is the must important thing, my eyes are not as good as before.

  5. I cannot believe the capabilities of my Kindle. I keep about 10 books on the Kindle that I am constantly refering to and/or reading. For instance I have the Bible, cookbook, 3 novels, and some other reference materials on it at the present time. I sometimes look at the news and other information on the “web,” and find the selection of books available for download (many for free) to be mindboggling. I am a fan!

    1. It beats carrying 10 books with you to your next vacation. Now, if they can only put textbooks in Kindle 2 format, it will make life so easy for all students.

  6. My son bought a Kindle 2–and I then went out and bought the Sony PRS 505. The major issues:

    –DRM The Sony is open, the Kindle closed. I can read and PDF or Word document easily. The Kindle is a portable DRM bookstore device.

    –Design. The Kindle is clunky and inconvenient to use. The Sony design is just right: buttons in exactly the right places. This makes a huge difference when reading for extended periods of time.

    –Storage. The Sony dwarfs the Kindle.

    I do not find the Kindle wireless option important. With the Sony storage, I carry around hundreds of books. If I want to download a new one, the process via computer is simple and fast. As a book reader, the Sony 505 wins hands down. Much better than the Kindle (or the Sony 700). d

    1. i have the sony prs505. for me is a great device. sony has much better definition, now i can read any book with big letters for hours and is very comfortable. it is all about books. for music i have an ipod, for conputer games, videos, internet, etc. i have my laptop. for books i have my EBOOK READER, and for the first time in years i feel like a little boy with a new toy. i hope the new sony daily with 7 inches screen and touch has good definition? definatlly i will look for it. 2010 the year of the ebook reader?

  7. i am living now in central america, and amazon or sony stores are not available here. i would like to know if i could use my computer and ad the ebooks i have there into the sony reader?

    1. Luis,

      Sony’s website says it supports these formats on the Sony Reader:

      Media Formats Supported

      * DRM Text : BBeB Book (Marlin), ePub
      * Image : JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP
      * Unsecured Audio : MP3 and AAC7
      * Unsecured Text : BBeB, ePub, TXT, RTF, Adobe® PDF10, Microsoft® Word (Conversion to the Reader requires Word installed on your PC)

  8. I own a Sony PRS-505 and a Kindle. Both are very good machines. In the long run I think the Sony comes up on top because it is the most comfortable to use when reading. The wireless book purchase capability of the Kindle is convenient but just that. Most people have a computer and it takes no time to download a couple of books and transfer these to a Sony reader. In the end to me the most important criteria is how enjoyable it is to read with these machines.

    1. I want an e-reader for pdf articles only. As a grad student, I have hundreds of pdf files that are extremely inconvenient to print and carry, or drag my laptop everywhere. Will the Sony read pdfs as they would appear on my laptop?? I am worried that the Sony reader might try to print the whole article on one page. Please let me know the pdf capabilities of the Sony Reader.

      Thank you.

      JD Nelson

  9. I am looking at both the Kindle and the SONY Reader, and am trying to determine which is more user friendly and whether the books on Amazon can be downloaded for the SONY.
    Can someone please answer that for me?

    In addition, is it possible to download magazines and newspaper subscriptions onto the SONY as well?

  10. I just received my kindle international wireless yesterday, after a good deal of research but no physical examination of any of the readers. I decided to go with the kindle largely because of whispernet downloads, as I have become really spoiled by iPhone and have never been a fan of dealing with pc-device syncing anyway. Whispernet is virtually flawless. A title I bought in the kindle store thru iPhone was accessible on kindle seconds after opening the box. The project Gutenberg magic catalog is awesome, and allows for wireless downloads of a ton of free, public domain works directly to kindle, and many free, public domain works are available thru amazon as well.
    The e-ink screen on kindle is extraordinarily readable, and although I wish it were a touch screen (and catch myself trying sometimes) I wouldn’t sacrifice readability for touch.
    Magazine/newspaper free trials are pretty cool, and the selection is not bad.
    The browser and free Internet are nice touches, but it should be noted that they are very basic, and way slower than iPhone,etc. I have successfully completed a few google searches, downloaded a few files etc, and it is adequate for those purposes.
    The kindle for iPhone app is excellent, and allows you to easily surf and download from the kindle store thru the iPhones superior browser/input and send purchases or free downloads to the kindle thru whispernet. It also automatically syncs your last page read between iPhone and kindle regardless of the devices’ locations.
    All in all, I am very happy with the kindle. I do worry about amazon’s model, and their lack of support for some of the more common open standards, but honestly, there is no lack if content, free or otherwise for the kindle; there is an easy process for converting files to kindle (for a negligible cost) if need be; amazon has been moving towards openness in formats (PDF support on dx); and the arrival of nook to the party will force amazon to continue to evolve, as with the $20 price break on kindle intnl ( they credited me $20 bc I had just paid full price), the arrival of kindle for pc next month, and hopefully a major firmware upgrade in the near future.

    1. Wireless is a great feature no doubt. Synching with a PC is way too old for me. Amazon needs to pursue using open standards if they want to widen the gap between its competitors.

  11. We’re going to buy 4 of these for xmas presents – 2 for our kids who are teachers and 2 for the grandkids….trying to figure out which type to buy…kindle or Sony. Great comments by everyone but I still don’t know which to get…

    1. i have a sony prs505, it has no internet conectivity, but i can connect with my computer and transfer any document, books or what ever i get. besides, there are converters to transfer them on what ever formats you have, very quick and easy. with kindle you can only connect to amazon store? also, sony has better resolution, this is an important thing to me, as my eyes are not as they used to be…

  12. Listen to yourselves. You’re asking where to get books for free and you’re probably the same people that would say that all this technology is crap because the writers and publishers don’t get their money. I mean, God forbid you have to pay for a service, or something intangible. Pay for your shit. You’re the people making the world’s economy so crappy.

    1. The free books people are referring to are public domain books, there is nothing wrong with downloading a classic.

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  14. I know this is an old thread, but I stumbled onto it, so others might too. I think an important thing to consider if choosing between a Sony & a Kindle is whether or not you’re a library user. Many libraries in North America offer free subscriptions to services such as Overdrive, which has thousands of current & even bestseller books for borrowing… for free. These ebooks are in a DRM protected format, & will work on your Sony, but NOT on the kindle.
    This was the deciding factor for me. I still buy books by my favourite authors, but everything else, I’d just as soon borrow.

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