Get a Sony Reader Pocket Edition for $159.99

It's a refurbished unit with a 90-day warranty, but it's also one of the smallest and cutest e-book readers around. It is definitely an intriguing alternative to the Amazon Kindle.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

During a recent visit to a Borders bookstore, I got my first hands-on look at the Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300--and I was impressed.

It's less expensive and much more compact than the Amazon Kindle 2, and it supports the increasingly popular EPUB file format--meaning you may be able to "check out" books from your local library.

If you don't mind buying a refurbished unit, the SonyStyle store has the Reader Pocket PRS-300 for just $159.99 shipped (plus sales tax in some states). That's $40 less than the original price on a new unit. (Note: new Reader Pockets are on sale for $179.99 until January 23.)

Don't let the name fool you: This e-book reader won't fit in most pockets. However, it's quite a bit smaller (and much cuter, in my opinion) than a Kindle. Also, it's definitely lighter at 7.7 ounces. Thus, it's easier to tote around.

Of course, you don't get any kind of wireless capabilities, so you'll need to use a PC to load the reader with e-books.

Other than that, how does it compare with other e-book gizmos? You can find out by watching CNET's video review of the PRS-300 and reading the accompanying write-up. CNET liked it overall, but the reviewer had a few notable complaints.

Personally, I think if you're looking for the ideal e-book reader, you should get a refurbished iPod Touch (like this 8GB model for $159). It offers e-book apps galore (including the killer Kindle app). Of course, the iPod Touch does way more than just display e-books.

That's just my two cents. If you want to read more of my thoughts on e-book readers, I wrote an iPods versus Kindles article last July. Some of the pricing has changed, but my opinion has not.