E-Reader Blog Series: Sony PRS-505 + Giveaway

Tricky Nicki, the intern

The digital revolution is upon us, or so I keep hearing. E-book sales are booming, and many publishing houses, including Dorchester, are investing more and more in the conversion, distribution, and marketing of e-books. But what to read your e-book on is still a question many readers have and there’s really not a clear cut answer.

As is the case with everything, there are those who are experts and those who are completely in the dark and the rest of us who are stuck somewhere in the middle. Most joining the blog today, I’d guess, are like me—a person maintaining that middle ground. Now, let me just say: I’ve nothing against e-books. And I know I’m too young to be so set in my ways, but I have to admit that I still favor the print book. I’d like to invest in an e-reader, but don’t know enough about my options. In a sea of information, the experts and their tech-talk can be difficult to make sense of and everyone else seems to be stuck with the e-reader grandma bought them for Christmas. 

So, I’m here to do the leg-work for all of us who want to be smart shoppers, but don’t have the time or access to the devices to do the research. 

Here’s what’s happening: For the past month, I’ve been toting around different e-readers (Sony! Nook! Kobo!), reading the many Dorchester books I’ve come to love, all in preparation of reviewing my user experiences of these devices right here on the Dorchester Community Blog. Bonus— Dorchester will be giving away a FREE download of each e-book I read with the different devices!

 Model: Sony PRS-505
Price: this model is no longer available (but you can find it on Amazon new for $250)
Weight: 9 ounces
Storage Capability: holds up to 160 eBooks
Battery Life: lasts up to 7,500 continuous page turns
Bonus: supports optional removable memory cards, can hold music and Word documents

Their spiel*: The Reader Digital Book holds about 160 e-books or hundreds more with optional removable memory cards. Its portable size makes it the perfect travel companion, allowing you to read a variety of books whenever and wherever you want. With thousands of e-book titles available at Sony Reader Store, you can choose to download new releases, classics and popular book titles as well as view other document formats such as Adobe® PDF10, RTF, TXT, BBeB® and Microsoft® Word. Its long battery life lasts up to 7,500 continuous page turns, and the amazing paper-like screen technology is easy on the eyes. *From the Sony Web site.

My Take: I was able to really test the Sony out, since I took it with me to Minnesota for spring break. Probably the biggest claim I hear in support of e-readers is how easy they are to travel with and how convenient it is to carry so many books in one device. I have to admit–it was pretty darn convenient (and that’s even with the hassle of having to take it out of my carry-on for those rather inconvenient security lines at the airport). I really liked the size and weight of it: solid enough so that I wasn’t terrified of breaking it, but light enough that it was comfortable to hold up for long periods of time. The two different font size options were nice as well, especially when showing it to my 82-year-old grandmother (who quickly disposed of the whole idea with “but it’s not paper!”). Not a huge fan of touch screens, I was happy that the Sony PRS-505 uses old-fashioned (well, relatively speaking) buttons instead. As for the battery life, Sony claims that this particular e-reader’s battery lasts for up to 7,500 continuous page turns…but what does that even mean? I read one book on it (Leanna Renee Hieber’s The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker) and used up two of the four battery bars (reading for about 2 hours/day over a week or so). Which I wouldn’t think anything of, except for the fact that I’ve heard of other e-readers that last for weeks, even a month. So in comparison to its competition, I would say the battery life is probably its biggest downfall.

The Verdict: The Sony PRS-505 is perfect for someone like me, who isn’t technology-driven or inclined. It was sleek and attractive, but not to the point of confusion. It only took me about 10 minutes to become acquainted with the various features on it, although, to be fair, I did only read an e-book on it and did not utilize some of the fancier features. The feel of it is great: light but still substantial, visually-appealing and easy to read on (no glare). Here’s the breakdown on a scale of one to five:

Ease of Use: 5
Battery Life: 2
Visual Appeal: 3.5
Durability: 5 (no problems all week)
Reading: 4

So, out of a possible 25 points, I’d give the Sony PRS-505 a…19.5! I enjoyed using it and am excited to see how it stacks up to the other devices. Thus starts my venture into the realm of e-readers! Join me Wednesday to find out about the Barnes & Noble Nook!

GIVEAWAY: In your opinion, what is the most important bonus feature for an e-reader to have (music, Internet, etc.)? Share your thoughts and be entered to win a FREE e-book download or print copy of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker. Winners will be announced at the end of the week.

Signed one of those interns,
Nicole Banholzer


37 Responses to E-Reader Blog Series: Sony PRS-505 + Giveaway

  1. Lizzielvr says:

    I have to say that I have two features I deem important. I miss having the actual paperback in hand, reason being is for the cover of the book and the summary on the back. I love being able to look at a color picture of the cover and to be able to access the summary quickly. The nook does that for me on those two aspects, but as far as ease of use, simplicity and battery life – kindle is better. I haven’t used a sony, but am curious about them.

  2. Linda B says:



    • H Hill says:

      Do you have the original nook or the nook color? I know navigation wise the color is a little easier with just the one screen and is a little more versitle. If you do have the nook and are interested in the color one, all your books are tied to your account not the divice, so if you choose to change divices wheather it is a nook or another divice with the available software all you have to do is register the divice or drag your books over to it. Hope that helps.

  3. Larena Wirum says:

    I love both the Kindle & the Nook. With both it feels like having a print book in my hands. I love that the Nook will show you a color print of the cover and wish I could have that with the Kindle but the truth is that it isn’t that important. I love that both my Kindle & Nook have 3g which makes it very easy to get books anywhere and I don’t have to worry about finding wi-fi. Until I got an ereader I never thought I would be a big fan of them but I love that I can have hundreds of books in a small compact place which makes carry a lot of books possible. 🙂

    • The Intern Experience says:

      Hi Larena!

      I was always pretty skeptical of e-readers too, but find that I’m actually warming up to them. It is definitely great for travel – especially since book lovers like us tend to read pretty quickly! I’ll be posting my review of the B&N Nook later this morning, so be sure to stop by and check it out 🙂

  4. vesta44 says:

    I have a Nook and love it. The page turns are fast, the battery lasts long enough for me, and it comes with a wall socket plug and usb cable that plugs into the Nook and the wall socket plug for charging (means I can read while it’s charging if I’m close to the outlet). It also has the ability to add memory so I can expand the number of books stored on it. I’ve downloaded free books from google ebooks and they read just fine on my Nook and are simple to transfer from my computer to the Nook. I’m quite satisfied with it, and researched all the options I had with the other readers available before going with the Nook.

    • Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

      Congrats vesta44! You’ve been randomly selected as the winner of The Darky Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker e-book giveaway! Please email contests@dorchesterpub.com with the email address you would like your prize to be sent to.
      Allison Carroll
      Editorial and Web Coordinator
      Dorchester Publishing

  5. Melody Cadieux-Killen says:

    Just a quick note for your readers who live in Canada – cannot get the Nook or downloads for it here. Found that books and newspapers for E Readers is limited compared to what is available if you live in the USA. I have a Pandigital (got it for Christmas). I have injured both of my hands and one thumb. Holding onto things that are thin and require precise movements is difficult. Found that using an E Reader for more than an hour gives me a headache and yes I have had my eyes checked no problems. Still prefer a traditional or trade size paperback book although I’ll say this, an E Reader sure takes up less room than the actual books. I found I use my reader more for its WI FI connection and to listen to music or display pictures. The SD memory card feature is great as I can move items from Laptop to E Reader to Desktop etc. My pandigital has colour display. My nieces and nephews read children’s books and I look at magazines and the pictures that go along with the recipes I want. They all look better in colour even if it shortens battery life. Have a converter that plugs it into my car outlet so no real problem.

  6. Karen says:

    I am on my second Kindle – I now have the DX (the big one). I started out about 10 years ago with the rocket, then Bookwise, then the 1st kindle and now the DX. The e readers have improved in battery life and storage. I now have over 600 books on the kindle. It is great that I can take my library withme wherever I go.

  7. Tracey D says:

    I have a Sony PRS-505. I bought it two summers ago and love it. I had purchased, for several year, many books in PDF format. Since I don’t like to read books on a computer, I would print and read them. With the Sony Reader, I was upload to transfer all those books to it and recyle the printed ones.

    In February 2011, I won a Kindle. I really do like it! I like the ability to purchase and read books directly from the Kindle. I can’t purchase books directly from the Sony REader; it must be connected to my PC.

    The most important feature for me is their ability to hold a vast quantity of books! I live in a condo and have limited storage space….and like to keep ALL my books!

    • The Intern Experience says:

      Hi Tracey,

      I’m the same way! My room at home is filled with stacks of books, containers of books…and that’s even with having a bookshelf too! I agree that the inability to download books directly from the Sony is pretty inconvenient, and it definitely is a problem. My favorite experience (so far) with an e-reader is with the B&N Nook, which I’ll be posting later this morning 🙂

  8. Lynne M says:

    I don’t have a e-book reader yet. I too like to keep all my favorite books. I have not tried one yet
    because to me part of the reading experience is holding the book in my hands. I have bought a couple
    of e-books, but I read them on my computer.

    • The Intern Experience says:

      Hi Lynne,

      I have yet to buy my own e-reader as well – luckily for me, I just got to test drive Dorchester’s supply 🙂 I’m still debating on jumping in and getting one of my own, so you’re definitely not alone in that dilemma!

  9. Joder says:

    First off, I have a Sony Pocket eReader (along with a Kindle) and agree with you about the disappointing battery life. It’s the most frustrating aspect. I like that there’s three different font sizes since it’s useful in lesser light situations. The biggest issue for me is the type of format the eReader uses. That’s why I can’t totally rely on Kindle…no pdf format. Some of the ebooks I come across don’t have mobi. but all offer pdf. Just look at what happened with Netgalley stopping their Kindle format for awhile. That’s why I’m a bit more pleased with my Sony than Kindle.

  10. Karen says:

    I bought a Kindle mainly for use when I travel. I love it. I especially love the ability to read it outside and increase font size. The ability to get a book instantly using 3G WiFi is also great, but dangerous if you love to read. I also like actual buttons rather then a touch screen. My biggest disappointment has been a lack of available book clubs or bundles. I would love to be able to join the Loveswept Club, but in an e-reader form. The format issue is a problem that I hope will get resolved in time. Please Dorchester…..if you offer an e-book club in the future, please don’t forget us Kindle users!

    • vesta44 says:

      Rhapsody Book Club has an e-book club, as does the Science Fiction Book Club (I belong to both of them) and their e-books are compatible with the Nook. I don’t know if their e-books are compatible with the Kindle, I didn’t check for that, since I don’t have a Kindle.

  11. Joy says:

    I have a Nook and really like it except I think the touch pad is hard to use when trying to navigate the wi fi.
    Wish I would have gotten the color Nook too but might upgrade in the future. My son has a Kindle and likes it alot too but at the time you were not able to borrow library books with a Kindle and that is one of the reasons I chose the Nook. I like that I can take a lot of books with me anywhere I go stored on my Nook and don’t have to bring a lot of heavy books with me.

  12. Michelle says:

    I just bought a Kindle and I am in love it. I will still fall back to my “paper” books when at home, but for on the road reading and magazine/paper subscriptions you can’t beat it. I can’t wait to try the features for sending personal files for review.

  13. pambook says:

    I’ve been happy with my original Kindle, tho I’d like a newer model for extra storage and battery life. Bonus feaures aren’t as important as it’s mainly reading books that’s important to me, tho internet access coud be useful at times to look up book info or other stuff away from the PC. Music too, to listen to in between reading while at the beach.

    I like to see mobi formats available as I like the reader and it works well with many devices, including Kindle. I can import many formats, including unsecured PDF and sometimes even secured, into Mobi and then send easily to the Kindle,

  14. Dianne B. says:

    I love my Kindle. It makes reviewing books so much easier because I can carry them anywhere without all of the bulk of a ‘real’ book.

    I have the one with internet access/3G and have made use of the internet when I had left my computer at home. It worked out great for me.

  15. Dave Taggart says:

    e-readers — what a bunch of crap! I’ve gone from being a three or four title a month customer to making trips to Dollar Genral, where they remainder the last of theold paperback titles. next step; the used bookstore, You’re going to have to succeed in your new business model without me.

  16. Dale Myrum says:

    Well when they are able to put Dorchester on a Ipad then i will consider it. As it is now they don’t.
    I have found that if i put an e reader in my back pocket they tend to break, Since i read a lot of westerns that often fit in a back pocket their convenience is important to me. A five dollar to 10 dollar book versus a 120 dollar reader that won’t take the cold if left in a car in the winter time.
    The price of the download better be signicantly lower too. So far they aren’t.
    Libraries are still around.

    • Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

      Hi Dale,
      Some of our e-books are available throug the iStore for the iPad and the Production department is working to get our entire e-book backlist up there. Apple’s relationship with publishers functions a bit differently from the other e-tailers out there, so it’s been a longer process for us to get all of our titles available with them, but you should definitely keep checking in because more and more are going up! Will Henry, L’Amour, Max Brand, Randisi, Conwell , Kelton and Stan Lynde are just some of the Western authors whose titles are already available on the iStore.
      Allison Carroll
      Editorial and Web Coordinator
      Dorchester Publishing

  17. Lisa B. says:

    I have a pandigital which I received as a Christmas gift. I read a lot in the evening and I love the day/night feature. I do not need to use a reader light with it. If someone wants to buy an ereader, does not want to buy a lot of ebooks, but wants to borrow books 24/7 from their library (if it offers ebooks), then they should not buy a Kindle. The libraries use Overdrive.com and it lists the ereaders that are supported. Kindle is proprietary and is not.

  18. maria rose says:

    i hope when you do your reviews you also look at the tablets which are a computer with a reader application eg Samsung Galaxy, Ipads, Motorola Xoom,etc. Some of us who are contemplating e-readers would want more than just a reader plus we would like to be able to compare carriers of service. Most e-readers with Wifi service only have one service carrier (AT&T) . I would like to hear comparision of service via the different carriers. Just reading any e-reader will do the trick but to download and browse for books is another thing, especially if you are traveling (like a commuter).

  19. Craig Clarke says:

    I’ve had a Kindle now for about a month, and I think it’s great. It’s starting to run a little slow, but that’s probably because I’ve loaded so many books on it from Gutenberg, Munseys, etc. It’s nice to be able to take a “bookshelf” with me wherever I go.

    I also use the text-to-speech feature like an audiobook in the car. The mechanical voice takes some getting used to, but it’s way better than such voices used to be, and my listening is no longer limited to professionally produced audios. All in all, though, I think it’s great, and I haven’t actually picked up a real book since I got it (except for the times my wife has commandeered it to read a book I recommended her).

  20. Beth says:

    I have an Aluratek that I really like. It has an expandable memory card slot. I can listen to music while I read, it’s easy to use, has a good battery life, changable font.

  21. Linda B says:


  22. JackieW says:

    I think it should have music and internet capabilities as well.

  23. pambook says:

    Not in contest, have Marked already.

    No, not good to have all your e-docs and e-books in one spot only, aniy piece of equipment can go kaput anytime. I have a lot of ebooks still to be read so I have them both on my PC and device (Kindle or handheld). The Kindle of course has them stored at the site, but still I have copies in a folder on my PC just in case. Plus for ebooks I have purchased from a vendor with no bookshelf system at their stie, I copy also to a flash drive or CD. Even with a site bookshelf where I can redownload, suppose the company goes out of business, another reason to keep copies for backups, you never know.

  24. mary branham says:

    I have a nook and really like it except the fact it is not for night reading without turning a light on.
    My husband has the sharper image literati and I like it also and you can read it at night.
    It was also a lot cheaper than the nook.
    The only thing I wish is that libraries had a lot of books you could download.

    I still miss holding my books and reading the covers and the backs.

    I do both but use the nook manily for travel.

  25. Trina Bol says:

    Honestly, I think it is more important to have internet capabiliies. I have an iPOD so what do I need with another music device? With internet capabilities it opens up the device to a whole world of other experiences whether it’s reading, watchig video, shopping etc.

  26. VAL says:


  27. dawn says:

    i have e reader by sony psr 300. Got it for X- mas 2009 from my son. Took a while to get used to missed actually turning the pages. I now enjoy it but am concerned about battery length also. Wish all the formats for e books were the same but like game systems are not compatible. Love the fact it fits in my scrub top pocket and can take to lunch without carrying it.

  28. Allison Carroll, Editorial and Web Coordinator says:

    I’d like to extend a big thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences with e-readers! Insights such as these are so helpful to those looking to buy an e-reader for the first time.

    Also, I’m here to announce the winner of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker e-book giveaway. Congrats to vesta44! You’ve been randomly selected to receive a free Adobe EPUB download of The Darky Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker from the Dorchester website! Please email contests@dorchesterpub.com with the email address you would like your prize to be sent to.
    Allison Carroll
    Editorial and Web Coordinator
    Dorchester Publishing

  29. Judy Seng says:

    I have a nook, and find that with my arthritis it just takes a soft sweep with my finger to work it. My husband had trouble with his at first because he couldn’t get down a SOFT sweep, but now he has no problem. Prefer ereader over book because can prop and read, books hurt my hands when I have to hold them open. They also take up too much space. I do, however, get very angry that publishers charge so much when the cost is lower for them to make ebooks than print paperbacks and ship them. I have written several publishers about this ie: penquin etc.

  30. Mickey McCall says:

    I started off reading ebooks about six years ago using an ebookwise ereader; switching Smartmedia memory cards to upload my books when I ran out of memory space (frequently.) Needless to say, I am more than happy with my Sony Touch ereader! I chose this one because it allowed me the option of being able to move some of my favorite pdf’s from my PC/old reader to the new one and to upload from other sources. The Sony has everything a dedicated reader needs: wireless wi-fi, MP3, extended battery life, ease of use (I too have arthritis) and a huge library capacity. I have not tried the Nook or the Kindle, but I know people who have them and they are very happy with them too….

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