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Sony PRS-600 Touch Edition Reader Review

on September 7, 2009 8:16 am

sony-600-22Last month, news of two new Sony readers leaked when someone found repair manuals for new devices called the PRS-300 and the PRS-600.  Gadget sites were rife with speculation about these devices and when they’d be released.  Sony quickly confirmed that these new devices would be released at the end of August, and they even listed the Sony Pocket Edition (also known as the PRS-300, to use the old convention of using the model number as the name) and the Sony Touch Edition (PRS-600) for pre-order.  I’ve been a devoted Sony Reader user since the PRS-500, so I quickly placed a pre-order for the Touch in red.  On August 25, Sony officially announced the Touch and Pocket Edition readers, and SonyStyle started shipping the devices.  I received mine on August 27.

The Touch Edition is a melding of both the PRS-505 and the PRS-700 models.  Gone are most of the input buttons of the 505 model.  Like the 700 before it, the Touch (or 600, as some users are calling it) uses a touch-screen for input.  It retains a few buttons, but they are placed discreetly at the bottom of the display screen, similar to the old 700 model in appearance.  The 600 is the same length and width as the 505, but it is 0.1” thicker.  The front-lighting from the 700 is gone.  This allows the touch screen to lay flat against the E-ink display in the 600.

Hardware specifications

  • Size in inches : 6.9 x 4.8 x .4
  • Weight  : 10.1 oz
  • Screen Size: Vizplex 6 inch (diagonal) E-Ink display with 8-level gray scale and a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels
  • Memory Size : 512 MB.  User available capacity: Approximately 380 MB
  • Dual memory card expansion slots for Memory Stick PRO Duo and SD card up to  16 GB
  • Media formats supported : ePub (Adobe DRM protected), PDF (Adobe DRM protected), BBeB Book (PRS DRM protected), ePub, BBeB Book, PDF, TXT, RTF, Microsoft Word (conversion to the Reader requires Word installed on your PC), JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, MP3 (non-encrypted), AAC (non-encrypted)
  • Connectivity : USB for file transfer from PC
  • Power : charge  with USB cable (supplied) or optional A/C adapter
  • Battery: rechargeable lithium-ion battery

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What’s in the Box?

  • Reader
  • USB cable for charging and synching the device
  • Protective neoprene sleeve
  • Quick start guide

The first thing I noticed when I opened the box is what is NOT included.  This reader doesn’t come with a case, just the sleeve.  I’m sure this was a cost-saving decision, but I don’t think it was a good one. The neoprene case is very flimsy. The foam isn’t dense and resistant to compression like my neoprene laptop sleeve. It is very soft and spongy, and seems too insubstantial to provide much protection for the glass display screen. The sleeve is open at the top. There is no zipper or flap or even Velcro to close the case. The sleeve fits the naked reader snugly enough that I don’t think the reader would easily fall out, but I carry the reader in my purse, and this sleeve is not going to keep pens or keys from slipping in to scratch the reader.

The body of the 600 seems to be aluminum, like all the models before it. It does have a non-slip coating on the back. I suppose this is to make it easier to hold without a cover. Holding the naked reader isn’t comfortable for me. I much prefer the book-like feel of a cover, and I like that the cover provides a little protection if I should drop the reader. Unfortunately, none of the optional covers were available from Sony when I received my reader. Luckily Sony stuck with the cover attachment method from the previous generation of readers, so I tried it in the original vinyl cover from my 505. It fits in that cover, but the 600 is a tight fit. It was hard to slip it into the plastic nubs that hold the reader in the case, and I felt I was going to break the plastic spine before I managed to wedge the 600 in there.

No software CD is included in the package, but the reader itself contains installation files. Since I already had the latest version of the Sony library software on my computer running 64-bit Windows Vista Home Premium, I did not run these installation files. My software recognized the new reader immediately. I was surprised to see a firmware update was already available. It was to fix a problem with using memory cards, and the update installed without a problem. I authorized the reader and started charging the battery and loading up books.

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Sony PRS-600 (left) and PRS-505 (right)

I never owned the Sony PRS-700, which was their first touch-screen model. I saw the device on display in a local Borders, and I felt that the screen was much less clear than the screen on the 505 model. Adding a touch screen layer to the device made text on the screen appear much lighter and less sharp. The fact that the touch layer was floating above the e-ink screen – to allow for the LEDs that provided the built-in lighting – only compounded the issue. I was pleased to see that the 600, while not as sharp and clear as the 505 display, was much improved over the 700. The screen has a very readable display, and I didn’t really notice the small loss of clarity until I compared the 505 and the 600 side-by-side. Since I haven’t any experience with the 700, all my comparisons from this point on will be between the PRS-505 and the PRS-600.

When I started playing around with the 600, I worried about the amount of pressure needed to operate the touch screen. It required much more pressure than I was comfortable using. There is an included stylus, but I don’t want to use the stylus to turn pages. I read so much, I fear that the stylus would eventually cut a groove through the touch screen! I found that using the tip of my finger or the flat side of my fingernail works much better than using the pad of my finger. Once I got the hang of it, operating the touch screen worked easily.

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Reflection in PRS-600 screen. Picture is dark because I couldn't use a flash without showing only a big, white glare.

After I got used to the controls and started reading, I noticed how reflective the reader is. The PRS-505 I’ve used for almost two years isn’t reflective, and it was always easy to find a comfortable reading angle. I had also had the 505 in the Sony light wedge case since last December, so I was used to having a reading light that seemed to be part of the reader itself. I had a really difficult time with the PRS-600 being so reflective at first. This was almost a deal-breaker for me. The first night I used it, it was in a small case with a huge clip-on book light. The awkward feel of this arrangement and the reflections on the screen saw me starting the return-authorization process and packing up the reader for return when I got up the next morning. I finally decided to give the reader a second chance, and I’m glad that I did. I got a better-fitting case that’s sturdy enough to support the book light, so I was better able to concentrate on reading. The 600 retains all the functions that I’ve loved about the previous two Sony readers I’ve owned, and it has some new features, added storage, increased speed, and a beautifully sleek appearance. And it’s red – always a bonus for me! (Actually, the 600 is also available in silver and black, if red isn’t to your taste.)

What does the 600 retain from earlier generations? It’s still a compact size that fits easily in a purse, gear bag, or laptop bag. It’s light, so it’s easy to hold for hours while I read through those nights while I’m suffering from insomnia.

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Press the hardware button marked with the magnifying glass to easily change font sizes (this model has five font sizes, two more than the 505) so you can find a comfortable size for reading. As before, the 600 supports a variety of digital book formats, both DRM and DRM-free. In addition to the proprietary Sony format, you can use Adobe pdf files. Since many libraries offer digital books in Adobe pdf format, you can check-out and read books from your local library on your Sony reader. You can also read ePub books, which means you aren’t tied in to getting your books only from the Sony bookstore. You can read text files, rich-text-format files, and even Microsoft Word files if you have Word installed on your computer to allow the file to be converted as it is installed on your reader.

Battery life is still great. I’ve been reading for a full week now on the same charge. I’ve found a charge on my 505 would usually last about 2 weeks with reading 3-4 hours a night. (I have a lot of trouble sleeping!) Sony is still persisting in describing battery life as about 7500 page changes, and people are always concerned that they’ve read considerably less than 7500 pages before they need to recharge. The fine print says you can get 7500 page changes if you fully charge the battery, open a book and continually change pages as fast as you can without stopping. What they don’t spell out is that your battery continues to drain even while you aren’t reading. The power switch doesn’t actually power your device off – it puts it into a stand-by mode. The screen is blanked and the touch screen and all of the buttons other than the power toggle button are disabled, but the reader is still “on” and slowly draining the battery. You can turn the reader off, but that requires going into the settings and choosing to power down the reader. This saves the battery, but it does take extra time to restart the reader when you next want to read.

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Cover attachment, charging light, power slider, PRO Duo slot, SD card slot, stylus

The 600 retains the dual memory card expansion slots from the previous generations. You can increase the amount of storage for books by adding an SD card (up to 16 GB) and/or a Memory Stick PRO Duo card (up to 16 GB). It also retains the ability to display image files and to play audio files. These are two functions that I haven’t ever used. The 8-level gray scale screen isn’t the best method of showing off pictures of my family. I keep only one picture on my reader, and that’s a picture of me to which I added my phone numbers and name. If I lose my reader, an honest person can use that information to contact me and that picture to ensure that I’m the owner when I come to claim it.

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I have never used the built-in audio player in any of the Sony readers I’ve owned. I have an iPod, and I use that if I want to hear music. Unless the audio player has changed in this version, it’s not useful for audio books because it doesn’t retain the position where you left off in the book. I’d be happy if Sony just completely eliminated the audio player from its readers. Apparently others feel the same, because Sony did eliminate the audio player in its PRS-300 model.

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Page Back, Page Forward, Home, Font Sizing, and Options hardware buttons

There’s a new hardware button on the 600 that I never had on the PRS-500 or PRS-505. It’s the “options” button, and it offers different choices depending on what you are doing when you press the “options” button. These functions will be discussed in the appropriate sections below.

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From the “home” menu, you can still choose to see a listing of all installed books sorted by various criteria. Use the “options” hardware button to access these sort methods. You can sort by title, by author, or by the date. A new option here is you can choose to view your books either by list or by a thumbnail view of the cover. Another new option here is that you can search the complete book list for a title keyword or author name for a listing of only the books that fit your search criteria. You can also change the screen orientation between portrait and landscape; this changes the orientation of the reader in all its functions.

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A feature retained from previous versions of the readers is the ability to sort installed books by collections. These collections are like folders with no sub-folders allowed, similar to playlists on the iPod. They must be created on the reader by the Sony library software and the books must be sorted into the collections by the library software, as well. These are virtual collections – only one copy of the book needs to be on the reader, and the book can appear in as many of these collections as you like. Collections are displayed alphabetically on the reader. The only options for collections are search for a collection title keyword or change the screen orientation.

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Cover attachment, wrist strap attachment, reset button, A/C power, USB, headphone, volume rocker

The 600, like all Sony models before it, does not offer wireless connectivity. You still need a computer to purchase and store your ebooks. You’ll need to connect the reader to the computer via usb to copy over books. The Sony library software allows you to organize and maintain your library on your computer and on the reader. The library software also allows access to the Sony bookstore and manages books checked out from your local library. This software has always been available for Windows computers, and it is now available for Mac users.

What new features have been added? The 600 has a faster processor, so page turns are much faster than with my 505 reader. I also noticed that transferring books from the Sony library software is much faster. The 600 has about 380 MB of internal storage, up from the 192 MB in the 505 reader. I was able to load all the books I had on my 505 and I still had about 200 MB free in the 600. Because I can have so many books on my reader at all times, I don’t feel the need to buy a book wirelessly in seconds. I can wait until I get to my computer to buy a book, and I don’t have to worry that I’ll find someone wirelessly deleted anything from my reader!

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A dictionary has been added to the 600. Depending on your language and keyboard preference, you will have either the New Oxford American Dictionary (English language with US keyboard) or the Oxford Dictionary of English (English language with UK keyboard). These are the only dictionaries available at this time. During setup, if you choose a language other than English, you will not have a dictionary. To look up a word in the book you are reading, simply double tap on the word. The definition will be displayed in a box at the bottom of the screen. In this display, you have three further options. You can tap the highlighter option to highlight this word to make a “note” in your book.

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You can tap the magnifying glass icon to start a search for other instances of this word in the book. Finally, tap the icon of the open book with an A superimposed on it to open the dictionary. With the dictionary open, you can read an expanded definition of the word, if available. There is also a keyboard icon at the bottom of the dictionary page. Bringing the keyboard up allows you to type in other words for lookup in the dictionary. You can also use the hardware page-turn buttons to move around inside the dictionary. Tapping the X icon at the top of the screen closes the dictionary and returns you to your book.

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At any point while reading or while on any other function screen in the viewer, you can press the hardware button identified by the house icon to return to the main menu. This is a nice new feature not found on the 505 reader. In the 505, you had to continually press the menu button to make your way through a tree of menus to return to the main menu; you could also press and hold the menu button down for 3 or 4 seconds to return to the main menu. This single button press is an improvement because you don’t have to guess where you’ll end up in the menu tree when you press it.

This simplified home menu button is possible because of the addition of the “options” hardware button that I mentioned earlier. If you are at the home menu, “options” allows you to search for a particular author or a title keyword among all the books you have on your reader.

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While reading a book, “options” allows you to enter a page number to go to, to browse the history of the pages you’ve been on in this book, return to the table of contents, create or edit notes within the book, see the publisher’s information about the book, delete the book from the reader, or change the display orientation between portrait and landscape. The notes option here allows you to highlight text, make handwritten notes directly on the text of the book, erase a note you’ve previously made, see a list of all the notes in your book, or simply “dog-ear” that page.

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When you are at the home menu, you can select “All Notes” to see a listing of all the notes you have made in your installed books in internal memory and on any memory cards in the reader. You can set up the Sony library software to merge your book notes with the notes in the copy of that book on your computer when you use the synchronize method of maintaining your reader instead of the drag-and-drop method.

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You can use the reader as a memo pad or sketchpad. Select “Handwriting” from the home menu to create a drawing or a handwritten note using your finger or the supplied stylus, see a list of all your handwritten notes, and edit and delete these notes.

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Choose “Text Memo” from the home menu to use a virtual keyboard to type in a note, see a list of all your notes, and edit and delete these notes. These notes are separate from the notes made in your books.

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I’m sure there are other things the reader can do that I haven’t discovered yet.

I’m very glad I decided to give the PRS-600 another chance;  I won’t be returning it. The 600 retains the functions I loved from my 505 and has added a dictionary and note-taking features. Writing in the books themselves isn’t something I’ll use since I read for pleasure. I was never one to write in my books anyway, so I don’t think I’d do that even in a digital book. It will be nice to make a quick handwritten note to myself if I find myself without paper handy. When I factor in faster page turns, faster loading of books from the Sony library software, and a nice screen, I’m very happy I decided to upgrade to the Sony PRS-600.

Update: 

There have been several questions about making collections in the Sony Reader software.  The above picture is a screen capture showing the bottom of the left frame in the Sony Reader software.  I have no reader attached at the time.  The Plus-sign key used to create collections is shown circled in red.  If I press the plus-sign key with no reader attached, I will create a collection in the Sony Reader software.  If I have a reader connected, it would be listed between the eBook Store and Computer in the list above.  To create a collection in the reader itself, I would first select the reader in the list, then click the plus-sign.  I can create collections in the library even if I have a reader connected.  To do that, I would make sure that I had selected “Books” at the top of the left frame before clicking the plus-sign.  You then rename the collection to whatever you’d like, and drag and drop books into the collection.

 

Product Information

Price:$299.99
Manufacturer:Sony
Pros:
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Good screen clarity
  • Increased internal memory for books compared to previous Sony reader models
  • Can add up to 32 GB of additional memory using a SD card and a Memory Stick PRO Duo
  • Can make text or hand-drawn notes inside books
  • Can read a wide variety of ebook formats
  • Can make text or hand-written notes or make drawings
  • Has an on-board dictionary. Look up words by double-tapping on them
Cons:
  • Screen is very reflective
  • English-only dictionaries available now
  • No case provided

Comments

  1. 101
    Antti says:

    Thanks Janet for an excellent review.

    I am considering seriously to get the 600 although there are not many sellers yet available here in Finland. My friend is currently in the USA and I hope he could perhaps bring one for me. Given the current dollar-euro exchange rate the reader isn’t even terribly expensive. :)

    BUT: What I am mainly looking for is a device which would allow me to write my own long notes which could be saved on the PC i.e a device which would replace the old paper and pencil. I have the feeling that prs600 would not be ideal for that. Perhaps a digital pen would better suit my purposes…on the other hand, I would definitely like to read PDF’s and make notes to them and for that prs600 seems to be a very good option.

    So, although I know you don’t make notes, I was wondering what your conclusion about the note-function is. Is it possible to write (with stylus), say a shirt story on prs and then transfer it to the computer for safekeeping?

    Again, many thanks for all the info so far!

  2. 102
    dschultzd says:

    Janet, thank you for all the wonderful information! You have been very helpful. Do you know if there is a way to convert my microsoft reader books to be used on the sony reader 600? Most of my books are in that format to read on my pc and I would hate to not have them for my reader!

  3. 103
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Antti, I don’t think there is anyway that you could write short stories on the Sony 600. With the stand-alone notes, I don’t think they can be more than one page long. When I do handwritten notes, I usually have to write large – so I couldn’t get much to fit on a page. Tapping virtual keyboard keys with a stylus takes a while, too.

    @dshcultzd I believe you can find information about converting files on the Mobile Read forums I’ve mentioned before. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=50

  4. 104
    Sean says:

    @WebSanity The reason for the flashing is the EInk technology has to refresh and it causes that effect. You will get that effect no matter what ebook reader you use.

    As for the MacTablet. It’s still only a rumor but I can suspect that just like everything else Apple puts out, Steve Jobs will make it horribly overpriced and extremely proprietary. Just like the Kindle or the nook.

    I used to own a Kindle. I, like most people, fell for the fad before doing any research on it. I recieved the PRS-600 for my birthday back in November. I immediately took my kindle out to the range and used it for target practice. That’s all it was good for. The Sony Reader has all the other ebook readers beat on all fronts. Oprah be damned, the Sony Reader is MY NEW FAVORITE THING!

    And Janet, Thanks for the review, and info. Keep up the good work.

  5. 105
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Sean Thanks for the kind words. I understand not liking a gadget, but I think I would have sold that Kindle for money to buy ebooks for my Sony! :)

  6. 106
    Sean says:

    That is a good point Janet, but if I had sold it, then some other poor soul would be missing out on a superior product.

  7. 107
    Janet Cloninger says:

    That’s true, Sean. Every Kindle sold is one less potential Sony customer. I usually like to have unique stuff, but I do want everyone to have a Sony reader. That helps ensure they’ll keep selling ebooks and new devices to feed my habit!

  8. 108
    rowan says:

    I’d like to add to this 3/1/10 that despite these features so well described above -it is a NIGHTMARE to use from the Uk

  9. 109
    Mike says:

    Hi Janet

    Sony 600
    I think it takes 6 hours to charge it at first…I think it does.
    The manual know for sure.

    Anyway, I worked with the reader, Sony 600, for about a week before I gave it to my wife at Christmas. Also with an additional 2 year warranty from Best Buy…just to be on the safe side.

    I started by using the hand writing Notes taking feature.
    In my own sloppy hand writing as fast as I could as a test…it worked just great for me…I could hardly believe.

    I would write a page, fast as possible, like in a seminar environment, and save…start again and repeated the process until I had 10 pages.

    The page were dated and time stamped as well as titled when I chose to.
    It was great!
    It worked.

    I write poetry and draw cartoons as well…it worked just fine…I was truly surprised.
    I did line drawing and that work out well also.

    Then I used the Text feature, typing is not my strongest point but it went very well after a short time and I was thrilled…I have week meeting and can see where this could be God sent.

    The screen is not the best in the west but I can work with it….no problem.
    My wife mentioned the glare and it bugs her more than it does me.
    I work from a Lap Top and am use to shifting around a bit due to sunlight and shadows… so what the hay?

    These reader are the wave of the future just social networking is. IMHO

    There was a front page article in Sunday paper concerning Readers.
    They will be upgraded to color more features and I can see where they will rival Note Books as Lap Tops have Desk Tops…it’s coming.

    Bottom line…I really do like the utility of the Sony 600…and if my wife blinks……….:)
    Take care…
    l

  10. 110
    Janet Cloninger says:

    Hey Mike! I’m thrilled you like the Sony 600 so much. I get distracted trying to do handwriting on the screen. I keep waiting for it to catch up with me, and it makes it take forever for me to write. I’m glad you found it worked so well for your writing and drawing.

    You need to let your wife know how much you like her reader and keep talking about upcoming holidays. Valentine’s Day, your birthday, Easter, Father’s Day – something in there surely will present itself as a gift-giving occasion when she can get you one of your own! After all, a guy nice enough to give his wife one as a gift surely deserves one of his own, right!?!

    Or maybe if the glare bothers her a lot and she doesn’t need to use the notes feature, you could get her a cute little Sony 300 and take that pesky, glaring old 600 off her hands…

  11. 111
    Rafael says:

    Hi Janet,

    I live in Brazil and somebody got me a Sony 600 from the US. I wasn’t very happy about it, specially because of the software, but i never worked with other readers. Your review made me feel more confortable about it.

    I’d like to know if there’s a way to insert a table of contents in a book; or any tip on making it easier to find an specific chapter when there isn’t a table of contents.

    I’d be glad if you could help me on that. Thanks!

  12. 112
    Janet Cloninger says:

    Hi Rafael, I’m glad the review helped you with your reader.

    Being able to edit books and add tables of contents depends on the type of book. If you bought a book that has DRM protection, I don’t know how you can edit the book. If it’s a book without any protections on it, you can probably add a table of contents, but you’d have to link the chapters to be able to jump to the specific chapter.

    I don’t use any books except for the ones I buy from Sony, so I can’t tell you how to do this. I am sure that you can find exactly what you need if you go to the Mobile Read forums (http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=176 ) and ask your question there. That forum is full of very helpful, knowledgeable people.

    Sorry I couldn’t tell you how to do this, but I’m sure you find everything you need at Mobile Read.

    Janet

  13. 113
    Rafael says:

    I don’t know any brazilian store or who sells books to Brazil (Sony, for example, doesn’t). And if that exists, i’m pretty sure there aren’t books in portuguese. So most of what i get is public domain and doesn’t have a table of contents. If they are not protected, i’ll try your idea to link the chapters. And i’ll look for someone in the same situation on that forum to see if get something else. Thank you very much.

  14. 114
    Janet Cloninger says:

    I just wanted to leave a link to the Sony 600 troubleshooting guide the folks over at Mobile Read have compiled. It’s a good place to go if you are having problems. http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Sony_Reader_Troubleshooting_Guide

  15. 115
    Adam says:

    this is the model I’m looking at but I was wondering how it is for viewing pdf files for something bigger than a paperback novel (magazine for instance). Do you know?

  16. 116
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Adam There is more detail about using PDFs in the comments. If you have a PDF that’s all text, the page will be displayed completely – but it’s probably too small to read. You can use the text enlarge function to increase the size of the font, which will display only part of the page’s content. Turning pages will display more of the page, but you’ll have a funny page number artifact – all the pages will have same number until you’ve seen all the content on that page.

    If you have a PDF will graphics/pictures and text, the complete page will be shown. You can use the text enlarge function, but this will change the layout, and you may not be able to see the entire graphic. You can use the zoom and pan function – also available from the text enlarge function. Zoom/pan will keep the layout, and you’ll be able to read and see everything by moving around on the page using the pan functions on the touch screen.

  17. 117
    Catherine says:

    Can anyone tell me how to delete the photos that came installed on the Sony PRS-600? I have figured out how to download from Picasa, but I’m not crazy about having a picture of a baby, a family and a landscape I’m not familiar with on my Reader!

  18. 118
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Catherine To delete the photos, start the Sony software on your computer, and connect your reader via the USB cable. When you see your reader show up in the left frame of the Sony software, click the arrow to the left of the word “reader” to expand the display. Now click on the word “photos” (or pictures or whatever it is) in the list under your reader. The sample pictures should now be displayed in the big frame on the right side of the screen. Simply right-click on each photo and select the “delete” option from the drop-down list to remove the picture from your reader.

  19. 119
    biz says:

    I think that e reader technology is not developed yet. Readers are too expensive, have too few options and are difficult to buy unless you order it online. It ssems that it will take a few more years until this technologuy is mature for a massive consumerism.

  20. 120
    Willem says:

    Hi all
    Just tried to organise my new bought 600.
    Put in the 2GB SD card Sandisk: dropped some books and music, but was stopped by the call: internal memory full (391mb)
    Is there any one who can help me? How can i get access to the SD card?
    Tried to format it via the 600, but no success.
    It doesnt take the card.
    Thanks from The Netherlands
    Willem

  21. 121
    Harika says:

    I just bought the e-reader 600 and while I try to get it to work I face a very annoying error message that claims “calibration error detected. Please restart calibration precess ”
    I have no clue how to do it so.
    Could somebody help me with it?
    Thanks a lot

  22. 122
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Harika There is a thread about this problem at Mobile Read. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=59022&highlight=calibration

  23. 123
    Rebecca says:

    Hi Julie,

    I’m in the throes of ebook-reader shopping, and leaning heavily toward the Sony 600 (not in small part because of the DRM issue)… but it’s a tough call, knowing that I’ll be living with the device for at least a couple of years before my deep inner frugality can justify another purchase.

    Anyway, my question: I noticed that your Julie’s Favorite Gear list shows the Kindle 2 for ebook reader and am wondering, would Kindle still be your number one choice, or has the Sony 600 supplanted it?

    Love the detailed reviews you write, by the way, as it makes it much easier to judge whether my response to certain features would be similar – compared to a simple reiteration of tech specs with a whole lot of adjectives piled on, the way many reviews are written!

  24. 124
    Rebecca says:

    Ah, sorry, I had a Julie/Janet confusion there, my apologies! But I’m still keen to hear your assessment: Kindle or Sony? The Nook doesn’t really appeal for some reason: the thump-screen control at the bottom, maybe…

  25. 125
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Rebecc Julie still has her Kindle 2. I’ve had Sony readers for years. I had the PRS-500 back when it was first released, then I updated to the PRS-505, then to the PRS-600. I’ve passed on previous readers to my nieces, and all of them – including the oldest ones, are still being used today. I haven’t used a Kindle or a Nook, so I can’t do a comparison, but I can only say that I love Sony readers!

  26. 126
    Rebecca says:

    Janet, thanks for taking the time to reply. I’ve been reading more of your product reviews and I think we have similar “tech styles”; and that’s as good a recommendation as any – the PRS-600 it shall be! Thank you again.

  27. 127
    Janet Cloninger says:

    Rebecca, I personally don’t think you can go wrong with a Sony reader! If you decide you don’t want or need note-taking abilities, and don’t care about the touch screen or dictionary, you should give a look at the Sony PRS-300. It should be available at any site that sells the 600. It’s smaller, with a 5″ screen, and it’s cheaper. I think either would be great for reading.

  28. 128
    David says:

    Thanks for the great review, I’ve been out and bought one this morning as all my Uni course material is pdf and I like to write notes on them.

    I have one question though, is it possible to organise books into sub libraries?

    Cheers

    David

  29. 129
    David says:

    Sorry, I asked too soon. I’ve just skimmed your review and found out they are called ‘collections’ and I need to click that little plus sign, rtfm.

    Cheers

    David

  30. 130
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @David Yes, collections work as flat folders (no sub-folders allowed). You use the + while your reader is connected to the computer. Create the collection with the plus-sign, rename it to whatever you like, then drag and drop books into the categories.

    I can’t remember if I posted this in any of my replies, but you can get a pdf copy of the manual for the reader here http://esupport.sony.com/US/perl/model-documents.pl?mdl=PRS-600&region_id=1 . Since it’s pdf, you can keep it on the reader itself.

  31. 131
    jenny22 says:

    Hi Janet,
    Thanks much for your review. My situation is a little similar to yours. I had a 505, but I gave it away to my mum-in-law who loves it. Then i bought a 300, but on impulse also bought a 600. Now i’m a little put off by the reflectiveness of the 600 screen and was half wondering whether I should sell it! But reading your review convinces me to give it another try.
    I like having larger storage and touch screen – although I must say the 300 is really good value. It’s pretty zippy and screen clarity is like 505 – v clear.
    I find with 600 it really depends on the source of light. If there is a book light, its ok. If you’re reading outdoors, depending on where the source of light is and the angle, then the reflective screen can be pretty annoying. I hope I get used to it! Thanks again!

  32. 132
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Jenny22 Having a good source of light is key for reading on the 600. I found that I really love the M-Edge e-Luminator2 light for reading with the 600. You can read the review I did for the M-Edge case and e-Luminator2 here http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/12/02/m-edge-cases-and-light-for-sony-prs-600-touch-reader-review/

    If you decide to sell the 600 and keep the 300, you’ll find that M-Edge also makes a version of the case and e-Luminator2 for the 300.

  33. 133

    [...] you read my Sony PRS-600 review, you’ll know that I entered the dedicated ebook reader world with the Sony PRS-500.  [...]

  34. 134
    Richard says:

    Great review. Thank you. Having used your PRS600 for a while, can you transfer notes and clippings on to your PC ? (or MAC). I read a lot of articles culled from internet sites and rather than hand write out the quotes, I would like to highlight them, and transfer them to my PC. Kindle 2 does this wonderfully once you have the quotes highlighted. Highlighting them doesn’t look as easy as the PRS600.

  35. 135
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Richard – Thanks. If you click on “Previous Comments” below, you will see the rest of the comments for this review. If you read comments #18 and 75, you can learn more about transferring notes. I don’t ever use notes, but I understand only the first 100 or so characters of a highlighted section will be copied over.

  36. 136
    Sara says:

    Hi, I’m looking at buying a prs 600 but I’m a little worried about the amount of memory. I was wondering if you know if it’s possible to have a 16gb memory stick as well as having a 16gb sd card in use at the same time. It just says that the maximum for both is 16gb. Thanks, Sara.

  37. 137
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Sara I think you can have both at the same time, but I think you will probably find that everything slows way down with the memory cards. If you find that you don’t have room for everything in your reader’s memory, you might find it works better to have your extra books on several smaller memory cards that you can swap in and out as needed.

    I never use a memory card in my 600, but I did try one in my 505 reader when I first got it. I found that everything was slower, and I found that my battery drained faster. I don’t know if this will be the case for the 600, but it’s something to be aware of.

  38. 138
    Sue says:

    If you want customer service, DO NOT use a Sony Reader! One of the books I purchased is next to impossible to read: there are numerous missing spaces between words, and all of the apostrophes are missing. After making numerous contacts with customer support over the past two weeks, I have not been able to resolve the problem. To add insult to injury, not only will they not fix the book so it can be read, but they will also not refund my money for the book I can not read. What a waste of money! I am not going to buy any more books. Why bother: there’s no guarantee that they will be readable!

  39. 139
    dflare says:

    Rafael:

    I recently bought the sony 600 from the US, because of the international thing I don’t have a ebook store in my country (Ecuador). If you want to edit the table of contents of the book you can use a very nice program Calibre:
    http://calibre-ebook.com/
    It’s free and it can help you convert from pdf to epub and add a lot of other information, including the TOC. it works perfectly with the sony 600 and its a lot better that the included software from sony. it even lets you download rss feeds from other sites, or grab public domain books from google book, etc ( This reader is perfect for this ). I recently went to USA, and althought the Nook its kind of better for the price, for us international users, the sony one is more convinient.

    hope it helps.

  40. 140
    Brandon says:

    The Create/Edit Notes feature of this device is basically TOO SLOW to be practical.

    If you’re like me doing a lot of highlighting while reading (technical books), this device is not for you.

  41. 141
    Ryan says:

    The glare just seems like it would be too much of an issue.

    I tested the 600 out today in a store next to the 300. Truly the 600 has the best features, but as another commenter said, its just too slow for practical notemaking, plus the 300 is MUCH nicer than the 600 IMHO in terms of clarity.

    The text is VERY crisp on the 300, where-as the 600 understandably being a touch screen just seems like reading a book through a pane of glass.

  42. 142
    Emma says:

    Hi
    I am trying to make a collection on my new PRS600 and don’t understand how I do this. The instructions say to press the plus sign button – but where do I find this? Please can you help? Thanks.

  43. 143
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Emma, I added an update to the end of the review. There’s a picture that’s a screen capture from the Sony software that will show you where the plus-sign button is.

  44. 144
    dave in japan says:

    “mikes” english grammatical errors are typical of many native japanese speakers. LOL, perhaps a proud sony engineer making a covert defense of his work.
    the slow note taking isnt a problem for me.i dont intend to use it.just read books.
    anyhow thanks for the detailed review. the 600 was not released here in japan, i am going to pick it up on the auction sites.

  45. 145

    The Sony PRS looks nice. Still I think that e-readers are still overpriced, considering their technological complexity. I believe that when the Asus and the other companies get the momentum that the prices will go down, while the features will go up.

  46. 146
    Marie says:

    I have a 600 but when I tried to use memory cards they would not work on PRS600 I had to put them onto my computer. Are the cards special or should ordinary SD cards work. What am I doing wrong.

    Marie

  47. 147
    Rafiq says:

    Hi Janet – Great Review, I have been browsing website reviews since few days now and then shortlisted PRS600. I have some pdf books on my laptop which i transferred to Reader, but then i noticed that the author information & Book Name, the Reader displays is not the one which is the name of the pdf file on the laptop, rather it displays the information from the file properties. How can i change this information of Title and Author on pdf files? I tried going into pdf file properties, but that doesnt allow to change.
    Thanks
    Rafiq

  48. 148
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Rafiq Thanks, Rafiq! As I understand, pdf files are designed to make editing them very difficult. Apparently, they do have metadata that can be edited if you find the correct tools. You could Google to find a pdf editor to see if you can fix the file attributes.

  49. 149
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Marie Regular SD cards work with Sony readers. I don’t use SD cards with my readers, but you could try checking the MobileRead forums for information. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=100

  50. 150
    vasili says:

    Hi Janet,
    How very nice of you to compile this. I got a PRS-600 as a gift and I have not been able to use it. The manual is not user friendly at all. Would it have killed SONY to put some decent instructions in the user’s manual. I see many people have to find a solution on the internet. Kindle I have heard is more user-friendly and now there is ipad with apps that allow you to put office software on it. Since mine is a gift I want to keep it, but it is a nightmare to use it and the screen is too small. But I am going to give it another try.

    Thanks again.

  51. 151

    [...] is offering the Sony PRS-600 Touch Reader for $199.99 – a $100 savings off the normal price.  The wireless, larger-format Daily [...]

  52. 152
    gus says:

    Hi, do you know if there is a limit on the amount of notes that the prs-600 can handle? this is the main feature I’m looking for so its kind of a deal breaker for me.

    Thanks in advance,
    Gustavo

  53. 153
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Gus I can’t help with your question, but you could try asking at the MobileRead forum. The link can be found in my post #6 above in the comments on this page.

  54. 154
    E.A. says:

    I can’t believe someone has written such a great review of 600. I just returned my PRS back to best buy because the battery was draining out in a few nights although I wasn’t totally using it. They were happy to make me a happy customer and exchange it with a brand new one :D Now I now how to turn my brand new 600 off properly :D thanks to your review :)

    I hope sony ebook store gets richer real soon!! It is really annoying to see that the book I am looking for doesn’t exist in the sony store but on sale on B&N and Amazon….

    Anyways, thank for the great review :)

  55. 155
    success75 says:

    Piece of garbage,

    I had it since Aug 09 and barely used it with ++ glare (I am a post grad student and read a lot). Was in my laptop case and got defective monitor (lines) on it, which I think it was because of going through airport security scan (lots of info on the net with similar problem). I am sure I did not drop it or press it any harder that usual, and Sony refused to repair or replace it while still under warranty (said my fault). If that’s the case they should have told me it is vulnerale to being sneezed on! Will never buy a gain, and am going to cross over to ipad

  56. 156
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @E.A. I’m glad they swapped your reader for another. It sounds like you had a defective battery in the first one. I can read for hours every day over a 2-week period without needing to recharge my battery. I never completely power-down my reader – just leave it in stand-by. It does take a few discharge/recharge cycles to get your battery broken in, but I never had it discharge in just a few days. My family has owned 9 different Sony readers over the past 3.5 years, and none of them would discharge the battery that quickly. I hope this one works better for you.

  57. 157

    [...] and now the iPad.  I’ve reviewed a couple of their leather cases and their e-Luminator2 for the Sony PRS-600 Touch reader.  I love those cases, so I was very happy when Julie told me that M-Edge was giving The Gadgeteer [...]

  58. 158
    Charlie says:

    In the past 2 weeks I purchased a silver and a black 600. The silver I gave to my Mom (who never thought she would like such a device…only ‘real’ books for her…until the 600 arrived). After giving up the silver to my Mom I went and got a black one for myself. Unfortunately, my new black 600 suffers from moderate sun fade. When flipping pages under direct sunlight the rendered text is VERY faint, thin and washed out. Not totally gone but a ghost of normal. Even under inside lighting the black 600’s text is not as dark as the silver 600 but okay when you don’t have them side by side to compare.

    Anyone else have this problem? I don’t know whether to exchange with Sony (and hope I don’t get a refurb…or even worse performing 600) or just calm my OCD down and keep my current black 600. I’m not going to be doing much reading outside anyway; I burn up like a lobster and avoid the sun as much as possible.

  59. 159
    Juliette says:

    Hi Janet,
    I’m 13 years old and I would like to buy myself a PRS 600 but I’m worried about a few complaints I read. It looks like it happens often. Did you have any problems with yours or anyone you know?
    And thanks for the great detailled review!

  60. 160
    Juliette says:

    In overall what rating would you give it out of twenty?

  61. 161
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Juliette I’ve owned Sony readers since the PRS-500 was released. During that time, my 3-person family has owned 3 PRS-500 readers, 4 PRS-505 readers, and 2 PRS-600 readers. All of the readers have performed flawlessly, and all of them are still being used by us or by people we passed them on to. The only problem of any sort we’ve had with any of them was the reflectivity of the PRS-600, and that wasn’t a deal-breaker. I’d give the 600 at least a 9/10 – so an 18 on your scale of 20. (And by the way, that extra 505 reader wasn’t needed to replace a defective unit. My husband gave me a red 505 for as a gift and I passed along my silver one to an extended family member.)

  62. 162
    Charlie says:

    Janet, are you saying none of your Sony readers fade when page turning in direct sunlight?

    After reading other forums with loads of posts about sun fading eInk readers, I’m concerned the sun-fade issue is more widespread than Sony (and other brands…ie, Kindle) admits. Of course, it could the the ones with problems are the noisiest.

    I’ve decided to call Sony to exchange my black 600. Compared to the performance of my Mom’s silver 600, the black falls woefully short due to the overall fainter screen and sun fade issue. I figure I purchased both of the units as new and should not ‘make do’ with one that underperforms.

  63. 163
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Charlie No, I never said that my readers don’t fade in sunlight. I can’t say that I’ve ever sat in direct sunlight reading. I live in the southern US. Today is not so bad – it’s 91 degrees with only 64% humidity, so it only feels like 105 degrees! I tend to stay inside with the air conditioning when I read.

    You should definitely try to exchange a reader that you feel isn’t performing correctly.

  64. 164
    Charlie says:

    Janet;

    Thanks for your input, review and this forum.

    Your review is the most thorough one out there on the 600. The forum posts are also extemely informative.

    I will update in a few days after I contact Sony to exchange my 600.

  65. 165
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Charlie Thanks! I’m interested to see how it turns out for you.

  66. 166
    Mike J says:

    Really great review. It convinced me to buy PRS600 (red – really nice). I considered Kobo, but after I read your review, decided to give a chance to PRS600. Nice, easy to read (the “glare” really doesn’t bother me). I read it once or twice inside, with direct sunlight from the left (about 6PM) and it was marvelous. Even better than with the interior light.
    Thanks for this nice review and other tips. Oh, yes, mobilread is a fantastic site. Thanks for this one, too.

  67. 167
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Mike J Thanks for the kind words. And the red readers are the best ones!

  68. 168
    Peekingrabbit says:

    To the above commenter I had a PRS-505 and it used to fade if the page was turned in the sunlight. I used to hold it up to my body or shut the vinyl cover when reading in the sunlight. (quite annoying and I hope your new one doesn’t have the same problem)

    As to my post I just received a PRS-600. Yaaay. My PRS-505 broke so I got it repaired for the $29.95 parts warranty and who would have thought but instead of repairing it they sent me a seemingly new looking PRS-600. Quite a good deal through I do miss my 505.

  69. 169
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Peekingrabbit Thanks for addressing Charlie’s question about the sun-fading. And congrats on your new 600! I’m sure you’ll miss the 505, though. Those are fabulous little readers, aren’t they?

  70. 170
    Charlie says:

    Update on my 600 exchange. I decided to exchange where I purchased (Crutchfield) for another new one. The new one does fade a bit if page turns are done under direct sunlight but it is less noticeable than on the original one I had. I feel it is within quality control tolerance…I’m deeming the new one a ‘keeper.’ I easily used it on a sunny day during lunch on a park bench the other day…perfectly readable (and enjoyable). I had the opportunity to test them side by side for a day or two until I sent the original one back. On the new one the text is a bit darker under normal lighting than the original and, as a result, has more ‘pop’ and ‘crispness’ to it making it easier to read. I’m glad I exchanged it.

  71. 171
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Charlie I’m glad you got a Sony 600 that you like!

  72. 172
    anita says:

    Thanks God for this site..! I have tried and tried to make the dictionary work and have not been lucky.
    Why is that that I tap on the word and nothing pops out?
    thank you

  73. 173
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @anita Did you install a dictionary when you setup your reader? You can go into the options for the reader and see if you have one installed. Also, you have to give a quick double-tap to get the word selected, and I found I usually had the most success when I’d use the stylus to tap the word.

  74. 174
    Anita says:

    Thank you very much for the help.
    It still did not work so I took it back to Borders. They tried to make it work and they compared it to the one on display.
    They all agreed there was something wrong with mine and they exchanged it for me. I have just plugged the new one to be charged.
    Hope it works this time. Again, thank you very much for all the help.

  75. 175
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Anita I hope this one works better for you!

  76. 176
    doug says:

    Janet- Quick question, which may have been answered above. Are there any problems with buying B&N or Borders ebooks, and copying them to the Sony Touch?

  77. 177
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @doug I’ve never bought ebooks from B&N or Borders, but I have bought a couple from Fictionwise. I just copy the epub file into the correct directory, then I import it into the Sony library software with the import option found in the file menu. Once it’s in the library, you just transfer to the reader as normal.

  78. 178
    Rae Rae says:

    So I have been researching readers for a few weeks now. I found your review the most informative and helpful out of all the others I have read. Thank You so much for helping people who are sometimes a bit clueless when it comes to these products. I have actually “played” with a kindle and a nook but never had a chance to look at an e reader but with the help of your review I am sold.

  79. 179
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Rae Rae I’m glad you found the review helpful. I just know you’re going to love the world of ebooks!

  80. 180
    Rae Rae says:

    Ordered mine on Sunday. It should be here on the 27th. Yay!!!

  81. 181
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Rae Rae Yay! I hope you love it! What color did you order?

  82. 182
    John says:

    Hi Janet,
    Great review, very detailed, enough to make me lean towards the 600 for my first reader!
    I’m a little concerned about the way in which it renders PDFs, as a lot of my reading material is in scanned PDF format (which means I would have to zoom, scroll etc. to read it).
    The dictionary and hand-written notes functions make it seem more attractive than the 505, despite the increased glare!

  83. 183
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @John Thank you for the compliment. If you read a lot of pdf files, you’ll probably prefer the 600, but the 505 is a gorgeous device, too. I have both – in red.

  84. 184
    Alfredo says:

    Hi Janet,
    I’m considering buying the 600 reader. Will the Sony e book store sell their books to a resident of Puerto Rico ?

  85. 185
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Alfredo I don’t know for sure. The bookstore info says they sell only to the US and Canada. Whether they consider Puerto Rico part of the US for selling purposes, I’m not sure because I couldn’t find any information in their online help. You can submit a question to them here http://ebooks.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/93

  86. 186
    Kathy Townsley says:

    If anyone else is having the same problem as Rafiq (book titles being incorrect in your ereader book list) you can download a free program called Quick PDF Tools (just google) and you can change the properties of pdf files. Super simple, you just have to right click on the book file name in windows explorer and put your cursor over Quck PDF Tools. A menu will pop up and you click on document properties. There you can type in the title of the book and author. I’ve noticed that if there isn’t anything there in the properties, Sony doesn’t list the title (at least from reading off of the memory card).

  87. 187
    Rae Rae says:

    So I actually just came home from work to find my ereader here already yay!!! I went ahead and purchased a case and the ac adapter as well. The color is silver and I cant wait to charge it up and get started!

  88. 188
    Rae Rae says:

    So I followed the instructions to set up my ereader. There are lines all over the screen which makes it unreadable and I am not quite sure what to do about this problem i think it said it was going to calibrate the ereader then it went black with a line on the bottom that i believe reads no battery. I cannot get the device to turn off or charge or anything I am wondering if this is normal or if it is defective.

  89. 189
    Janet Cloninger says:

    Rae Rae, that doesn’t sound normal at all. It sounds like it may have been damaged during shipping or something. I’d call Sony customer service and see what they say. It should certainly be under warranty.

  90. 190
    Rae Rae says:

    So despite the fact that I have to send my e reader back because it is defective, I must say that sony e reader support were awesome. The didn’t act rude or unkind and they spent alot of time trying to help me fix the problem but finally we came to the solution of sending it back. I will keep you posted.

  91. 191
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Rae Rae I’m sorry you have to wait, but I’m glad you had a good experience with customer service. Hopefully they’ll get another to you ASAP!

  92. 192
    PG says:

    Hi,

    I am considering buying this or the Daily Edition reader. One concern is stopping me. Is there any way to print or email annotated PDF documents from the reader or the library software ? Annotating and sending technical papers is big part of what I do.

    Thanks

  93. 193
    Suresh says:

    Suresh

    I am using sony e-book reader since june 2010, this time while i was searching it became hang. will anyone please help how to get rid of from that hang as the battery is full. I want to use it as soon as possible. I also would like to know can i press reset to get rid of hang.

  94. 194
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Suresh I don’t know if resetting will fix the problem, but you can find the owner’s manual here http://www.sonystyle.com/wcsstore/SonyStyleStorefrontAssetStore/pdf/warranty/SEL-asset-166216.pdf

    It is a PDF file that you can view on your computer. Go to page 150 for instructions on resetting your Sony.

  95. 195
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @PG I’ve never used – or even seen – a Daily Edition, so I have no idea what its capabilities are. You can find the manual here http://www.sonystyle.com/wcsstore/SonyStyleStorefrontAssetStore/pdf/warranty/SEL-asset-182643.pdf

    Hopefully you’ll be able to find the information you need in it.

  96. 196
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @PG I just noticed you are also interested in the PRS-600. You cannot print or email from the reader itself. You can synchronize the notes in your reader copy with the file on your computer. The library software doesn’t allow printing, either, but you could find the file on your computer and print that.

    That said, you should know that I don’t use any PDF files and I never annotate my books, so I’m certainly no expert. I am sure that you cannot print or email from the reader, however.

  97. 197
    Axler says:

    could someone please clarify this for me. I live in Europe and wanted to buy the 600.

    what is the situation with buying books from the sony store?
    I hear people saying they only sell to US and Canada.

  98. 198
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Axler Publishers impose geographical limits on bookseller – paper or ebooks – to define what regions they are allowed to sell. The US Sony bookstore can only sell to the US and Canada, but there are other stores for other regions. For example, I believe Waterstones sell in the UK. Check out MobileRead for more booksellers; there are members for all around the globe. http://www.mobileread.com/forums/

  99. 199
    Rae Rae says:

    So I received my new reader today and the first thing I did was charge it fully. Let me tell you the difference was immediately noticable!!! No more lines lol. I do like the clarity so now I am going to be working on starting a library of books. It also was surprisingly easy to use. The help option on the reader library is a life saver. Thank you for all your help.

  100. 200
    Janet Cloninger says:

    @Rae Rae Yay! I’m glad you got a reader without problems this time! I hope you love it. I love ebooks so much that I never buy paper books anymore.

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