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Sony Reader New eBook Reader For UK

Gordon Kelly


Sony Reader New eBook Reader For UK

It's about time Sony's rather stunning (if ugly) eBook reader got a launch over here and at long last the company has obliged.

Aptly, Waterstones will be the formal point of launch with pre-orders beginning today before spreading to a wider release in time. As you might expect from Sony, specific dates and pricing are yet to be revealed. So that aside, what exactly are we getting?

In short the 'PRS-505', the company's second generation reader which was originally released in the US last October and covered by me in September. At its heart is a 6in eight-level grayscale E-Ink display with a 600 x 800 native resolution that's readable even in direct sunlight. It's thinner than its predecessor measuring just 8mm thick (verses 13mm) and weighs 260g. Internal memory has also been enlarged from 64MB to 256MB - enough for 160 typical e-books.

Memory Stick and (surprisingly) SD card expansion slots also mean the PRS-505 can hold potentially thousands more titles as well as be used to store and display Word, Jpeg, Txt, RTF, PDF and ePub file formats. Battery life is good a whopping 6,800 page turns.

As a nice touch Sony will be bundling a CD with the reader containing 100 compatible classic titles including The Jungle Book, Pride & Prejudice, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Great Expectations. A waterproof case for the PRS-505 will be made available too as an optional extra and is a wise investment for holidaymakers.

Are you ready to embrace the future and hop aboard or are you waiting for a universal standard and bargain basement pricing? Me, I'm an elitist highbrow reader who sniffs at anything remotely popular and refuses to convert until they can scent devices with the smell of old books - but I'm a freak like that...

Update: Support has just been added to the reader for the open EPUB format which is being heavily backed by publishing houses. Good news all round and most un-Sony.


Product Page

Lon Bailey

July 24, 2008, 12:30 pm

what are the compatible ebook formats for this - does it include mobipocket and/or microsoft reader? Or is it another "Sony proprietary format" special

Luan Bach

July 24, 2008, 2:00 pm

It's a Sony proprietary format lrf, or at least I don't know anyone else who uses it, but it also read txt, pdf and rtf files so it's not all bad. I use Book Designer to convert from other formats.

Matt G Baish

July 24, 2008, 2:58 pm

"...rather stunning (if ugly) e-book reader.." All I can say is that if this is ugly then the Kindle can only be described as hideous!

I imported one of these & can honestly say it is the best gadget I have bought in the 21st century. In a word; fantastic.

Yes the `paper` could be whiter and the `ink` blacker; yes it would be nice to have colour (for Manga, comics etc); yes it would be nicer with a slightly bigger screen; yes the page turns could be quicker (a second is just not quick enough for some people). All of these complaints I have heard on various blogs/site. Ultimately, however, it does exactly what any avid reader would want; i.e. display eBooks in a readable & convenient format.

Whilst I will probably stick to collecting `real` books for my top 2 or 3 favourite authors (I am a bit of a geek myself) - this is absolutely fantastic for the thousands of free eBooks you can get online (incidentally AFAIK this includes *ALL* the bundled books with the reader & so that part is not, IMHO, the greatest selling point).

For free eBooks see:



among many others (TOR books for example are currently giving away 24 titles).

Also I have found that Calibre is the best tool for both managing & converting your eBooks to sony's lrf format. Its free, frequently updated with fixes & new features and a million times better than the (typically & IMO) cr@ppy bit of Sony software bundled with the reader. See: http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/

Also, a warning for anyone wanting to view standard PDFs directly on this (or just about any) eReader: don't bother. Since standard PDFs scale to the screen size (i.e. do not allow re-pagination) they will, more often than not, become unreadable. You will be fine with PFFs specifically formatted for eReaders (from fictionwise for example) and will usually get decent results if you convert to lrf first (although you may lose some images if they are `locked` into the PDF).

Get one & enjoy!


July 24, 2008, 5:22 pm

It is shown as &#163199 now


July 24, 2008, 7:05 pm

Ah I've been following this for a while now, and have been wanting to get my hands on one. It'd bring me one step closer to being a minimalist, which is nice. Though I do love books, they have some setbacks.

One thing I do wonder is whether the Sony book store has all of the books in American English. When I'm buying eBooks, I'd like them to be in English English...

Matt G Baish

July 24, 2008, 7:05 pm

BREAKING NEWS: Goto www.mobileread.com for story re: latest firmware upgrade for PRS-505 (likely to be pre-installed in UK variant, PRS-505s(?)) which includes support for ePub, Digital Editions, and PDF Reflow. Hurrah!


July 25, 2008, 2:25 pm

&#163200 is still too rich for my blood. Waiting for them to hit the &#163100 barrier.

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