Get a Sony Reader PRS-300BC for $98.88

Or, better yet, don't. An extra $30-$40 buys you any number of other e-book readers that include Wi-Fi, effectively freeing you from Sony's evil desktop software.

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

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.

It lacks the wireless capabilities of its competitors, but the Sony Reader Pocket is still a mighty nice e-book reader.
It lacks the wireless capabilities of its competitors, but the Sony Reader Pocket is still a mighty nice e-book reader. Sony

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.