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Old 07-02-2009, 09:18 PM   #1
Max Introvert
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Hello. I’m a longtime lurker. The impetus of my decision may be something completely different from what you were expecting, but the overarching question is still “which one should I buy?” and so I find myself here.

To start things off, I have been a (very) proud owner of a PRS-500 since January 2007. I even went all-out and bought the Valentine’s special with the Dooney & Bourke leather cover. I have no regrets about the purchase and even credit it with rekindling my voracious appetite for reading. It has seen much use.

Time has marched on, and I am finally in a position to replace the venerable workhorse with something better. The most glaring deficiency by far of the 500 is its inability to work with Vista x64, which is on my main machine. I have managed to work around this issue, but it is still incredibly annoying.

After much consideration, it comes down to the PRS-700 and the Kindle 2. Both solve my Vista x64 problem. I am aware of the “shortcoming” of the 700 with regards to the touchscreen glare, but having never seen a 505, I do not believe that will be an issue here.

Further, from a technical standpoint, the 700 is far ahead of the Kindle in my opinion. The 700 can read many more formats, including PDF files, and with the zoom feature, that should not be the squint-fest it was on the 500. The front-lighting is an added bonus and would be extremely useful as I like to read to get to sleep -- hitting a switch is a lot easier than getting up and turning out the light!

Given all this, why is the Kindle 2 even in the running? I’ll give you one word: “Betamax”. It seems to me as though Sony is on the losing end of things here (yet again), as the Kindle media blitz has placed it front and center in the minds of the general populace. I’m afraid we have a developing “iPod/Zune” situation here (to update things), and I have a long, sordid history of picking a product because of its technological superiority, only to suffer heartbreak and ridicule (don’t ask) when it goes the way of the dodo. I’d like to avoid this happening again, if possible.

Forgive the incendiary phrasing; it is succinct. Is the Kindle an unstoppable juggernaut? I would appreciate your opinion.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:25 PM   #2
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It doesn't matter if the Kindle is a juggernaut or naut (ha ha!). There are so many new devices coming down the line that what is cool and groovy today is not going so hot tomorrow. All that matters is finding a device that works for you today. If that's the Sony 700 (which it seems to be), buy it and be happy.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:42 PM   #3
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I bought a Sony 505 (I couldn't pass up the recent deal that Borders had for $199) but if I hadn't, I would have bought the 700. Even though Sony has ticked people off numerous times ( and yes I was a die-hard Beta fan), I still feel they make a great product and it is more open then the Kindle. Amazon seems to be really ticking Kindle people off every week with some new news item about something can't or shouldn't do and reviews seem more mixed on the Kindle. I'm happy with the 505. Had I had to pay more for it, I would have bought the 700 but I rather quickly eliminated the Kindle on price and flexability. Enjoy which ever you choose though.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:02 PM   #4
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Yeah, I agree with daffy4u. It seems like the only reason you're considering the K2 is because you think it might become the defacto reader and the 700 will start playing 8 track tapes. This isn't anything I'd worry about. There are a lot of great readers out there, and none of them are poised to take over anything right now. If you like the 700 get it!

The only thing I'd reccomend is not to run out and buy it tonight. There are rumors (and really, they probably are just rumors) of a newer, better, Sony reader being announced next month. There are also some interesting readers getting released this fall. It sounds like your faithfull 500 is still going strong, so all I'm saying is you may want to keep it until the end of summer to see what pops up then.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:09 PM   #5
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I originally received a jetBook as a gift, didn't care for it, and so purchased a 505 instead. I loved the 505's look and feel, had no trouble with the downloading/moving book process, but did find many of the books that interest me (bestsellers, sometimes obscure books, etc.) were not available via Sony (and the likes). The ones they did have were more expensive than the Amazon Kindle prices. I ended up returning the 505 and buying a Kindle2. Although obtaining books wasn't so difficult with the Sony it truly is a breeze with the Kindle. The best feature is the ability to sample (free) full chapters of books before investing. When I hear of a book that might interest me I sample it and when I'm ready for my next read I decide, do a quick click and it's there...in less than 5 seconds.

Whichever you choose will work for you, I'm sure. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:20 PM   #6
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I have all three and I like my K2 the best. I find it more comfortable to hold and the page button easier to press. I tore a tendon in my thumb last year. Combine that with the fact that I like a fairly large font and I spend a lot of time turning the pages.

The 700 does have the touch screen "sweep" page turn feature, although I apparently lack the skill to make it work more than 10% of the time. I have hardly used the 700, so I don't think that I can give an adequate review of its benefits. I just know that, compared to my 505, the screen is pretty fuzzy. I do think the built in light is nice, although there are lots of folks here that have found a favorite clip on light that works for them. The 700 does also have the XL font size which agrees with my middle age eyesight.

I agree that you shouldn't rush the decision. It's too bad that you can't see the Kindle in person at a store, although you could purchase it from Amazon under the 30-day return policy.

I like my Sony Readers but I love my K2.
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Old 07-02-2009, 10:27 PM   #7
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I have all three and I like my K2 the best... It's too bad that you can't see the Kindle in person at a store, although you could purchase it from Amazon under the 30-day return policy. I like my Sony Readers but I love my K2.
Fry's Electronics used to have the Kindle (non-working) along with their other ereaders in a display. The last time I was there I did notice the Kindle was gone - maybe would be there at a Fry's near you? They do have the Sony 505 and 700 among several other devices to look at & play with.

Maybe someone near you has a Kindle 2 for you to view, in person?
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:26 PM   #8
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It sounds like the 700 is the better reader for you. Don't forget it also allows you to check out and read e-books from the library. I've been using that feature a lot lately.
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:27 AM   #9
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You can read library books on the Kindle, but it does take a little more work and a willingness to strip DRM if you want to read the Adobe format titles.

The 700 is an interesting device. It's gorgeous and has good format support. I love that they added search. I'm a bit miffed they still haven't added dictionary support. Ultimately, I couldn't get past the fuzzy screen. It's worth seeing it in person if you can. If not, make sure the store you buy it from has a good return policy. Some people have no problem with it. Others hate it.
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Introvert View Post
Is the Kindle an unstoppable juggernaut?
Yes. Sony started out with a single-store strategy but I don't think anyone except Amazon can do this successfully. Amazon has been successful, and I don't see them faltering in the near term. However, Sony broke out of the single store mentality and added Adobe PDF/ePub. This has been very successful in Europe, and in the US Amazon has effectively killed off its best weapon against alternatives to the Kindle (the MOBI format). If Amazon allowed MOBI on US-based EInk devices it would make money on every ebook sold, but instead they have conceded the ground to Adobe and eReader. So I see indifference (at best) to MOBI as a mistake for Amazon, and the adoption of Adobe by Sony as a masterful recovery from a loosing strategy.

So buying a Kindle is safe, but buying a Sony is also safe because Adobe ePub has staying power as the best alternative to the Kindle. I would not buy from the Sony Store, though, because it locks you into Sony Readers.
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Old 07-03-2009, 01:49 AM   #11
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Ahhh, but the betamax comparison is apt. There are some beta tapes that I purchased that I still haven't repurchased -- most especially I remember Roger Rabbit. Then there is the original Star Wars trilogy that I had in VHS, and I haven't acquired in DVD. At least my future Bluray play will read DVD's, or will I bypass Bluray and skip direct to digital movie downloads.

The problem, of course, is that many of us have been accustomed to paper books that we can buy, put on the shelves and still read 20 years later. I don't believe that any of the formats we have today will be popular in 20 years.

Take for example the Kindle. Its pretty easy to break the DRM on Kindle books today. This does not seem to me to be reasonable over the long term. I forecast (and hope) that the long term solution will be DRM-free. However, let's assume that DRM takes hold and doesn't let go. In this case, I would expect an approach that has better DRM than the current approach. Either way, I expect changes (either DRM-free or better DRM) over the next two to three years.

With this unsettled situation, it is difficult to commit to an investment of books you won't be able to access in the future. This picture is especially ugly for the impulse buyer; ie, the buyer who buys books when they see them and builds a stockpile of unread books. This impulse buy could lose dozens of books when their reader breaks and they buy a new (new format) reader.

The bottom line is that there exists a real barrier to building a library of ebooks unless you are comfortable with DRM-removal and format shifting.
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:08 PM   #12
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Thank you for your opinions. Renaldo hit the nail on the head, and perhaps I am being a bit over-worried about the situation. Indeed, with further reflection, it actually seems I would be taking a bigger risk with the K2; i.e.: if Amazon stopped support for the Kindle, I would be in a worse position than if Sony stopped support for the PRS.

At any rate, I did not know about the August rumors, and I still have not seen a 700 (let alone a K2) in person. There are several Fry's where I am, but my usual (Plano) does not have demo models on display. I suppose it's best to wait for now.

Again, thanks very much for the advice!
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:15 PM   #13
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Indeed, with further reflection, it actually seems I would be taking a bigger risk with the K2; i.e.: if Amazon stopped support for the Kindle, I would be in a worse position than if Sony stopped support for the PRS.
I don't think that is a likely scenario. Remember Amazon is a book seller, and the Kindle is a device that allows them to sell more books. There is no reason for them to stop supporting their own book selling device. Sony, on the other hand, can stop supporting and selling their readers much easier because they have other electronics to focus on.
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:19 PM   #14
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I still have not seen a 700 (let alone a K2) in person. There are several Fry's where I am, but my usual (Plano) does not have demo models on display. I suppose it's best to wait for now.

Target and Borders Books also have display models. I've heard rumors of Costco and Sam's Club too, but I don't shop at either store to know.
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Old 07-04-2009, 12:54 AM   #15
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I don't think that is a likely scenario. Remember Amazon is a book seller, and the Kindle is a device that allows them to sell more books. There is no reason for them to stop supporting their own book selling device. Sony, on the other hand, can stop supporting and selling their readers much easier because they have other electronics to focus on.
I have a Kindle and love it, so I have no axe to grind here. But remember that Amazon was in the ebook market once before, and it withdrew its products and inventory. I do believe they are in the market for the long term this day. However, I also would not be surprised to see further format changes from them.
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