What to Do When the Company That Makes Your Ebook Reader Exits the Market?

The big news in the ebook world back in North America is that Sony is closing its Reader ebook store and transitioning it customer base to Kobo. The closing was not much of a surprise after Sony stopped selling their digital readers in the US this past Fall.

The fact they are trying to give their soon-to-be former customers a smooth transition to another company is a welcome surprise. Like all the other Sony Reader owners, I received an email explaining how the transition is supposed to happen. I don’t know how smooth it will be. I hope all the books I purchased are also available on Kobo.

I bought a Sony Reader (PRS-350) back in Spring of 2011. I like the design and the touchscreen interface. The fact that the casing is metal has always made it feel durable to me.

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I’ve been splitting my time between ebooks and dead tree books. The Sony Reader has come in very handy for our temporary move here to Istanbul. I bought several books and put them on the Reader before we left for Turkey. Books are heavy. And the airlines don’t let you bring as much (even on international flights) as they used to. Well, they do, but you have to pay more for it.

Having the Reader also allowed me to acquire copies of Turkey-related books like Lady Montagu’s Letters and the writings of Procopius, courtesy of Project Gutenberg. The former was the perceptive wife of the British ambassador to Turkey during the early 18th century. The latter was a historian during the age of Justinian here in what was then Constantinople. I also have the ebook of Orhan Pamuk’s Museum of Innocence. I hope to read that before we leave Istanbul in the Summer.

When my Sony Reader dies what will I do? Nook will be dead soon. Do I go with a Kobo or join in the modern eReader Borg (aka Kindle)?

I have time to decide despite the fact that after nearly three years the battery life on my Sony Reader is noticeably less than what it once was (though significantly longer than my smart phone and my wife’s iPad). Regardless, I’m glad I always keep copies of my ebooks on my laptop. I don’t understand these people with wifi readers who don’t have their own backup copies. If it comes down to an issue of compatibility with my future ebook reader, I’ll just strip the DRM from my Sony Reader bookstore purchases.

Note: The screensaver picture on my Sony Reader is one I took of Beyazit Tower back in the late summer. My wife has since been able to tour the tower.

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