So here's how the e-book reader landscape is looking these days. For $139 you can buy a Kindle with Wi-Fi. For $149 you can get a Nook, also with Wi-Fi. And for $129.99 you can scoop up a Kobo without Wi-Fi (which would be idiotic given that a new wireless version is coming November 1 for $139.99).
Then there's Sony, which steadfastly refuses to add Wi-Fi to its Reader series of, er, readers. If that's OK with you--meaning you don't mind installing Sony's archaic desktop software and using it every time you want to buy or manage your e-books--there's a deal to be had.
Specifically, the SonyStyle store has the refurbished Reader Pocket PRS-300BC for $98.99 (plus sales tax in most states). Don't sweat the "refurb" tag--from what I can tell, it carries the same one-year warranty as new units.
It may be one of the older kids on the e-book block, but the PRS-300BC is widely regarded as a fine way to pocket reading material. "Pocket" being the operative word: unlike the Kindle, the PRS-300BC is trim enough to slip into a jacket pocket.
In fact, it's one of the most compact readers on the market, owing to its 5-inch screen. I really like the design, though some would argue that if you're going to read e-books, you'll want a larger viewing area.
The PRS-300BC is also an "open" reader, meaning it supports the increasingly popular ePub format (among others), which the Kindle does not.
Still, there's that whole connectivity thing. I don't need another piece of software cluttering up my PC, another USB cable to keep track of, or another potential sync-related headache. On the other hand, the gift-giving season is upon us, and an e-book reader as snazzy as this one for less than $100 is mighty attractive.
Of course, we might just see one or more of the aforementioned competitors dip below $100 before the calendar strikes December 25. Your thoughts?
Bonus deal: MacConnection has the current-generation 32GB iPod Touch for $288.00 shipped--$11 less than what Apple charges. That may not seem like much, but consider this: You don't have to pay sales tax, either (unless you live in California or Tennessee). That brings your total savings closer to $50.