This time last month I introduced you to Headline’s new initiative and a brand new online resource for bloggers called Bookbridgr. Today I have something very similar in store for you guys. A few weeks ago I was offered to test and review the new Sony ReaderStore – a website offering a huge range of e-books for multiple devices and platforms, something like Amazon’s Kindle store – and of course I leapt at the chance. Since I know that, like me, most of you read e-books on a weekly basis and some of you even prefer reading e-books to physical ones, I thought it would be something you’d enjoy and (hopefully) find useful.
Overall look & signing up
The first thing I really like about the website is how simple it is and how easy it was to sign up. It literally took me a minute, perhaps even less. Everything is very straightforward. You go to gb.readerstore.sony.com, enter your email address and a password and you’re good to go. Once inside, you can start browsing the thousands of books on offer straight away. The feature I love the most is the wishlist option. If you’re as indecisive as I am when it comes to books and narrowing down those 35 books you instantly want to put in your basket, then you’ll probably love it. Putting all those books you’re interested in in one place so that you can go through them again and select the ones you’re dying to read the most is definitely a great idea. The books you put on your wishlist will stay there until you either buy or remove them, even if you log out and come back days or weeks later.
The books you actually decide to buy will all be saved to your library and can be accessed any time you need them. So even if you delete them from your reader, they can be re-downloaded later, any time you want to read them again.
Categories & variety
What took me by surprise when I was already registered and signed in is how many books they actually have. I don’t know why but I didn’t expect to see… so many of them. There are almost 15,000 books in the Young Adult fiction category alone and that’s only one of the 25 categories they have. Again, the categories are very similar to the Amazon Kindle store so if you’re a regular Kindle user, navigating your way through this store will be a piece of cake.
Apart from the usual categories like Crime fiction, Health, Historical fiction, Humour, Sci-fi & Fantasy, Romance and so on, they also have a ‘New and Noteworthy’ category with all the new releases, a ‘Recently Reduced’ one with popular books for relatively cheap prices, one with bestsellers and another one with books under £2.99.
Another great thing I noticed is that there are books in lots of different languages. Apart from English, there are books in German, Dutch, Polish, Spanish, Italian, Danish, Romanian, Hungarian, French, Portuguese, Irish, Afrikaans and West Frisian. Great news for all the international and multilingual readers out there!
The one thing I was the most curious about is the price of these books. It all seemed too good to be true so I wanted to compare the ReaderStore prices to some other e-book stores and see if there’s a difference at all. I randomly selected four books from four different categories and checked their prices on four different e-book stores. (Can you tell I love spreadsheets and making lists?) This is what I found.
Amazon’s Kindle store wins every time. So if I could change anything about the ReaderStore, I would definitely lower the prices. No one in their right mind would pay a certain amount of money for something if they can get it for half that much. A small difference wouldn’t really bother me but the fact that there is such a big gap between the cheapest and the most expensive one is quite disappointing. I mean, you could buy another book for that £4, or even more if you’re looking for short stories and reduced-price books.
The only thing I have to say in the ReaderStore’s defence is the fact that they have quite a lot of free and cheap books. So even if you – understandably- don’t want to spend twice as much on a book, it’s still worth keeping an eye on the website and their freebie and reduced-priced book selections.
The second thing I found a bit disappointing is that they only offer epub books, meaning that the books you buy and download will not work on your Kindle. I tried to make it work but didn’t have any luck. You can read them on any Sony Reader products, Android tablets or smartphones, PC and MAC, or iPads and iPhones. Downloading Sony’s reader app is quick and easy (and it’s very easy to use), but I personally am not a big fan of reading on my phone or my laptop. I don’t really like reading on a small screen when I have a Kindle which is much bigger than any iPhone or Android phone. It’s probably a lot better if you have an iPad or Sony’s own reader but since I don’t have any of these two, I was a little bit disappointed that there was no way I could put my books on my Kindle. So, tip number two for the Sony team (and I’m sure many of you will agree with me on this one): make your books available for Kindle users.
Do you ever read books on your phone or laptop? If you’re a Kindle user, where do you usually buy your books?