Sony today announced the least expensive, if smallest-screen, e-book reader yet to hit the market. The company also revamped its unique touch-screen model and announced a price reduction, to $9.99, of the typical price for new releases and best sellers at its online E-Book Store.
The Sony Reader Pocket Edition, $199 and available "at the end of August," says Sony, closely resembles the current Sony 505 model (at right)—except its screen is an inch smaller than the 505’s, measuring 5 inches diagonally, and it costs $100 less. At 7.76 ounces, it also weighs an ounce or so less than the 505 and offers double the storage capacity, claiming to hold 350 books.
The Sony Reader Touch will costs $299, the same as the 700C model it replaces, and has the same late-August availability as the Touch. Like the 700C, it has a 6-inch screen and a capacity of 350 books.
The new model appears virtually identical to its predecessor, save for some slight changes to the controls. Sony says improvements over the 700C include a more responsive touch screen and the ability to write notes with a stylus--a feature that the Amazon Kindle e-book readers, including the Kindle 2, do not allow. You can also export notes from the Touch and print them out, a feature the Kindles do offer.
The new devices are the first Sony Readers to be Mac compatible.
The older models are discontinued, but the 505 remains in stock at Sony's online store and the 700C is available from some other retailers until stock is exhausted, Sony says.
The price cut for popular books brings Sony's e-book prices in line with those of the Kindle, and means that many such titles are available for less as e-books than as regular books.
Sony also recently announced an expansion, from 500,000 to 1 million titles, in the number of public-domain Google Book titles available for free using its Sony E-Reader software. While the free software facilitates loading these e-books, which include old editions of classic literary titles, onto the Sony Readers, it can also be used to download these titles to a PC, also for free. —Paul Reynolds