Pros and Cons of the Sony Digital Reader

Sony Digital ReaderI’m a fan of technology and try to keep on top of new technology; unfortunately my bills would not get paid if I decided to buy everything that caught my eye. When I won the Sony Digital Reader at HohoTO on December 16, I was excited because I was curious about eReaders, but hadn’t decided if I was going to buy one or not.

I tested out the Digital Reader by reading “The girl who kicked the hornet’s nest” and afterward, came up with a pros and cons list for the device. If you have more to add please share.


  • Great for travel/space saver – They’re perfect for long trips where I would not want to pack a few books and riding the subway in the morning can be quite the sardine in a can experience, so lugging around a large hardcover book can be hard to read. With the eReader I had no problem holding on to one of the poles while reading on the jammed subway. This leads to more reading getting done!
  • Environmentally friendly – Of course books are made of paper, so if everyone had an eReader, the effect on the environment would be astonishing, I’m sure. I’m not sure what goes in to making an eReader, so I can’t comment on that being more dangerous to the environment or not.
  • I returned to the library – The Toronto Public Library has eBooks, so being cheap as I am, this is a good option when I don’t feel like spending money and I don’t have to worry about forgetting to return the book.
  • Book-like screen appearance – The difference between the Sony eReader and the iPad for example, is that you don’t have the annoying computer screen shining in your face. I was shocked at how realistic it looked when I turned it on for the first time.
  • Great battery life – The battery on the reader is amazing. While reading the book I had it in standby mode most of the time and I believe I only had to charge it once in the (give or take a week) month I was reading the book. That was a pleasant surprise for me.
  • Touchscreen – My iPod Touch, now iPhone 4 have made using anything without a touch interface difficult, so having the option to swipe the screen or click a button to change the page was perfect. There were times when I preferred one over the other and I was happy for the option.


  • Not a real book – One of the reasons why I hadn’t bought an eReader was simply because I like the tactile feeling of reading a book. Turning the pages and seeing the progress made to the end feels like more of an accomplishment to me than just clicking ‘next’ 500 times and finishing.
  • Lack of ownership – I like to buy books and have them on my shelf; I own them. With digital content, for any device, not just eReaders, it doesn’t feel like it was worth buying because I don’t have it in my hand. I got over that for music, but I still have DVDs and books on my shelves – something I don’t see changing any time soon.
  • Harder to share – eReaders have the option (I believe) to send a book to a friend, but that means your friends have to also have an eReader. With books I like to lend them out to friends and family when I can, so until everyone has an eReader I’ll stick to the old fashioned way.
  • Not great in all light situations – While the screen looks great, I found with an actual book I was able to read in bed with my not-so-bright lamp, but with the device, I had to lie awkwardly so the light hit it better. I tried adjusting the settings but it didn’t compare.
  • No more shopping for books – I enjoy going to book stores for the fun of it – just about the only shopping I can tolerate for long periods of time. If I had to search through an online store I’d be missing out on that great in-store experience.

Overall I had a good experience with the Digital Reader and I’m definitely ‘for them’ in theory, but I prefer to an old-fashioned book more often than not; I can’t justify buying ebooks just to read them on the subway (but if I could find them in the library’s online archive I would gladly do so). Also, for long trips I wouldn’t hesitate to bring my Digital Reader with me because I think it is perfect for that situation.

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