I've had a Sony PRS-350 for almost two years (purchased Fall 2011) and I still get two weeks of battery or more (depending on how often I use it) before I have to charge it. The screen is also in great condition. It's exactly how it was when I was bought. Keep in mind that this was a demo model. So the battery was being used even before I purchased it.
I'm not sure why the salesperson told the OP what he did. The battery on an e-reader will deplete over time but that is the case with any gadget. My iPod Touch 3rd generation doesn't keep a charge as long as it did when I first bought it. I also had a smartphone where I had to replace the battery after a year! To be fair, the phone was pretty awful. So my point is that e-readers have a good life expectancy that is probably comparable to other electronics.
Last edited by faithbw; 02-25-2013 at 02:38 PM.