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Special feature: Sony PRS-505 Reader

I’ve managed to get my hands on a Sony PRS-505 Reader which has been out in the US for a while now, but has only recently become available in the UK through the High Street retailer Waterstones  (priced at £199).   As soon as I opened the box, I was immediately struck by the look and feel of the product. It is approximately the size of a standard DVD case and  comes complete with a smart leather cover. First things first, though… what is it?   In short it’s a device that has the ability to store eBooks (as well as  PDF files, Word documents… and even other file formats such as  MP3s).   What this means is that when you travel, you  no longer  need to pack multiple books into your luggage.   Instead, you can just transfer files into your reader or on to a memory stick or SD card that you can use in conjunction with the reader. It’s quickly apparent, therefore, that this is a traveller’s dream, particularly if you’re a bit of a bookworm or you’re sometimes away for long periods of time. It’s really light and compact, weighing just 9 ounces (without the cover) and measuring only one third of an inch thick.   When you consider that it has the capability to hold 160 eBooks, you begin to truly appreciate its weight-saving potential. Two memory card slots allow for thousands more books and a healthy battery life will ensure the device can keep on working for up to 7,500 page turns (with significantly faster refresh rates than the previous model).   Other neat features include a bookmark button that allows you to mark your place in the text, and the use of  e-ink which allows pages to be displayed very effectively, yet  without the need for backlighting. Whilst the Sony Reader is unlikely to replace the traditional paperback any time soon, it certainly provides good reason for those who travel regularly to not have to worry about how many books they should pack.   There will always be some who prefer the touch and feel of a real book so it will be interesting to see just how much of a dent this new technology makes upon the traditional market.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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  1. Hi,

    I am from Windhoek, Namibia and would like to know if the Sony reader PRS-505 is stocked anywhere in Namibia or South Africa.


  2. I have been reading books on a PDA since 2004, but this facility was available long before that. With a little bit of software, I believe you can read e books on an Iphone. The great thing is that if the book author is dead, for example Dickens, Shakespeare most of these books are available free on line. If you want an up to date best seller then you can purchase them from the likes of Amazon. If the book you want to read is recently published and not mainstream then you currently will have difficulty sourcing it as an e book.

  3. Bought one of these for my Mother last Christmas, she hasn’t used it yet. Although carrying books on holiday can be bulky she says she much prefers the old fashioned way of having the physical book in front of you and leaves the books at the hotel for future guests after reading them.

  4. These have been around for a while now and seeing them in use I am converted! It’s amazing how the screen looks more like actual print than a screen. They are brilliant for commuting and would be great for the plane, the only down side is it’s another thing to worry about leaving on the beach when you go for a dip so think I’d still take a paperback on my holidays!

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