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So, a while back I bought myself a pretty silver Sony reader.

and for my birthday, my always awesome friend Jo, gave me a Kindle (and a pretty blue cover).

So now that I’ve been using the Kindle for a bit, I thought I’d do a comparison post on the two.

Stuff that I like about my Sony:

  • The touch screen
  • The ability to organise stuff more easily via Calibre or the reader software
  • It’s prettier
  • It takes more formats
  • The books live on my computer and my backups as well as the device

Stuff that I don’t like about the Sony

  • Having to sideload stuff isn’t that much of a chore but it is one more step before I can read my brand new book (yes, yes, we all are horribly impatient here in the future)
  • Sometimes it’s a tad small (I have the smaller version) to hold
  • Not wild about where the page turn buttons are
  • Taking notes on the touch screen is kind of awkward (not that I take many notes)
  • Geographic restrictions on content (yes, I know, not the Sony’s fault and yes, I understand why they exist but it still frustrates the heck out of Mel-as-reader)

Stuff that I like about the Kindle

  • The keyboard (not that I’ve used it much but typing notes seems easier to me
  • The free 3G/wireless bizzo (haven’t actually browsed the web but automagically appearing books = good)
  • The oh-so-seductive one click and automagically a book appears on your kindle transfer of stuff

Stuff that I don’t like about the Kindle

  • Being tied to the Amazon store/format
  • The fact that once in its pretty blue cover, it’s actually a little heavy
  • To re-iterate – geographic restrictions on content (yes, I know, not the Kindle’s fault either but frustrating as hell anywhere)
  • I think the battery life is shorter…maybe it’s the 3G/wireless but I haven’t read a heap on it yet and have had to recharge it once (and have only had it two weeks)
  • The fact that the books are really stored somewhere in the mysterious bowels of Amazon and I can’t back them up etc and really, Amazon can automagically take them away from my device should they ever want to.

To sum up, neither is my perfect e-Reader.  That device would have wireless/3g free delivery, e-Ink touch screen plus a little keyboard and take all damned format and let me store my books where I wanted as well as having them stored in my accounts in the respective booksellers’ stores. (Don’t tell me an iPad lets me most of that…I do not want to read e-Books on a backlit screen as I spend too much time on computer screens as it is…I will however someday buy an iPad for videos, games and knitting pattern use : ), it is just never going to be a great book reading device for me and my over-computer exposed eyes).

Which one would I recommend?  Well, as an Aussie, if you can only have one, I’d probably still lean towards a Sony because it gives you more flexibility in formats and most stores that sell to Aussies other than Amazon seem to lean towards ePub as the format. I also like the touch screen a lot.

The Kindle is certainly very convenient in terms of purchasing stuff wirelessly and Amazon do seem to be working hard to make stuff available in more areas (unlike Sony who won’t sell anything Aussies in their own store –at least last time I tried–though as I said, there are many retailers who will.) And the Kindle is cheaper (will be interested to see what the Aussie Kindle retailers do now in the face of the price drops).  Although, I cannot for the life of me understand why Aussies can’t buy Kindle books from when Aussie rights usually go with UK. I’m sure there is some obscure legal reason tripping things up. Also I do not like having all my eggs in one basket so to speak format wise and retailer wise. Your mileage may vary on that front. If I lived in the US, I’d probably still have both (or a Kindle and a Nook or something) but I can see why it’s pretty hard for US-ians to go past a Kindle, particularly at the new prices and with the intro of the Kindle Touch (which Amazon aren’t selling to we poor downunder types).

If you don’t mind the backlit thing and have the moolah and don’t mind a heavier device, I’d say go an iPad which gives you many reading options plus does other stuff to boot. I can’t see the point of a Kindle Fire in Oz, even if they’d sell me one as Amazon don’t sell most of the other content they want to push to Fire users to Aussies. iPad definitely wins that one.

So there you go, possibly clear as mud. Mel’s verdict is two e-Readers best option right now, neither of them is exactly what I want and let us hope that the geographic restrictions schemozzles get sorted sooner rather than later. Until then, the majority of my book buying will still be in paper. Everyone is happy to sell me that at least!

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