Update: This thread is now closed. At the end of 2009, Sony has made what appears to be a limited time trade-in or upgrade offer for PRS-500 owners. Either trade-in for cash when buying a new Pocket or Touch Edition Reader, or get a free firmware upgrade by sending your PRS-500 to Sony. The firmware upgrade adds ePub compatibility as well as some other features. For additional information, see the following...
* MobileRead announcement
* Sony site with new upgrade/trade-in offer
* MobileRead Wiki entry for PRS-500 (with upgrade info)
The Sony Reader team is announcing today a new upgrade offer
for PRS-500 owners. Turn in your existing PRS-500 Sony Reader and get a $100 credit on the purchase of a new PRS-505, which can support reflowable display of text-based PDFs and ePub with Adobe Digital Editions DRM. The offer and full details are available at the SonyStyle offer page. It's Sony's way of addressing the needs of the original PRS-500 owners who desire the ePub support of the 505, but can't get it through a firmware upgrade. And it's a tip of the hat to those early customers that contributed to the early success of the Sony Reader product.
The offer is good news on several fronts. This is going to be a convenient upgrade option for many PRS-500 owners who are longing for the ePub feature of the PRS-505. It appears to be more evidence that Sony is in the e-book race long term. And, in addition, the offer is generous in some of the specifics. For example, you get to keep the A/C adapter when you turn in your PRS-500. You can even do the trade-in "on the spot" at SonyStyle brick and mortar stores for the most convenient way to upgrade.
A few more details:
* Customers doing the upgrade will buy the 505 first and then send in their old 500 to get the credit. This means you may have to wait a bit to get the credit, but it also means that you won't ever be without a Reader.
* There is a shipping cost to send back your old unit. But when buying the new unit, SonyStyle.com often offers free shipping.
* This is a Sony-only promotion, which means you can buy online at SonyStyle.com or in person at a SonyStyle store, not third party retailers.
* If you bring the old unit into the store and do the trade right then and there, the credit will be applied at purchase. If you do the trade later or purchase online, the credit comes back when Sony receives the 500.
* This is a US-only promotion. (Not good for UK 505 purchases.)
* Extended warranties do not appear to be transferrable to the new device
* The offer is good until January 31, 2009
On the other hand, if all you care about is the absolute lowest-cost way to upgrade, you may want to consider unloading your existing PRS-500 at eBay. Sale prices for the devices appear to be around $150-$250 these days, which ought to beat $100 even after eBay fees.
And now, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story...
As we know, Sony is watching MobileRead just like many other industry insiders do. Well, it looks like the enthusiastic email campaign
of "Nate the Great" may have just been what turned the tide. The following note was addressed to the MobileRead community from the Sony Reader team and announces the upgrade offer:
We would like to thank you for your support of the Reader Digital Book by Sony® and digital reading in general. We’ve been monitoring the site and have been gratified to see the tremendous positive response to our recent firmware upgrade announcement. The ability to access EPUB books and reflow standard text-based PDF documents opens the device to a world of new content.
We’ve also seen the requests from PRS-500 users about making an upgrade available for that model. After lengthy discussion and investigation of different solutions, we determined that such an upgrade would not be technically feasible. Instead of leaving our early fans out in the cold, we’d like to thank them for being among the first to recognize the benefit of the Reader so we’re offering a special trade-up program.
When you trade-in your old PRS-500, we'll credit you $100 off a purchase of a new PRS-505. This program will run though January 2009 and you can find more details on the SonyStyle site: http://www.sonystyle.com/readertrade.
Please be assured that your PRS-500 will continue to work as before with the Sony eBook store and with your personal documents but if you would like to upgrade to a unit with EPUB compatibility, PDF reflow and other enhancements, we would like to make the transition as easy as possible.
Once again, we thank you for your continued support.
Keep on reading,
The Reader Team