Too Bad Sony Stopped Making eBook Readers


Things have never been quite the same after Sony decided to get out of the ebook business. They closed down their ebook store in 2014, and eventually announced that they would not be making any new Sony Readers either.

The Sony PRS-T3 was the last Sony Reader to get released, and they never even bothered officially releasing it in the United States.

Things started going downhill with the release of the PRS-T1. The premium build quality of previous generations was replaced by cheap shiny plastic; Sony had opted to join their competitors at the low end of the market instead of forging ahead with their more expensive higher quality ereaders.

Barnes and Noble started a price war on ebook readers with the Nook, and Amazon answered with lower and lower prices on Kindles.

Amazon was the only company that could sustain that model, so all other competition started dwindling, and most smaller companies were chased out of doing business in the US entirely.

Now that Amazon has very little competition when it comes to dedicated ebook readers, prices have started going back up again.

With devices like the $199 Kindle Voyage and $289 Kindle Oasis, Sony’s premium line of ereaders could have done well up against them, much better than the low end market that sent them out of the business.

Devices like the Sony PRS-950 with its 7-inch screen, and the PRS-650 with the nice aluminum frame, page buttons, a stylus and touchscreen, were ahead of their time. With newer software and current hardware upgrades, devices like those could still be very popular to this day.

Sony was also way ahead of the curve with frontlights. The PRS-700 was released way back in 2008 with LED frontlights, but unfortunately the idea was poorly executed and the lighting didn’t look very good.

It’s a shame that Sony still doesn’t make dedicated ebook readers (the premium models, at least). They were there from the beginning, and helped make innovations along the way, but they couldn’t stay in the game for the long run. It’s too bad. An 8-inch PRS-850 could be really popular right about now.

9 Responses to “Too Bad Sony Stopped Making eBook Readers”

  1. Amen! I’ve yet to find a viable replacement for my PRS-950!

  2. Love my PRS-350..have had it for quite a number of years and have yet to find any reader better. It is so basic. Don’t quite know what I will do when it gives up the ghost. Thank you Sony for providing it but pox upon you for not continuing……

  3. yep, my first e-reader was a Sony PRS 650. I still love it but the battery doesn’t last long. I mostly read on my tablet now b/c I have not found another e-ink reader as good as the Sony. We have Nooks and Kobos also here but none are even close to the Sony.

  4. Sure. I have a PRS-T1 older than a Onyx M92 I also have and the Sony still works fine after a lot of using it. M92, on the contrary, altough much lesser used and mor expensive, has died… 🙁

  5. I’ve had my prs t2 for around 3 o 4 years and it worked as the first day, I’ve had it robbed and I don’t like any other brands, I’m so sad,i’m going to get on second hand…..

  6. My old Sony PRS-350 is still my favorite ereader. Premium metallic body that felt solid, physical buttons buttons, and the way the old Sony’s did annotations made it easy to go from one section. Better sorting and menus thanLittle details like that… Too bad it died after like 4 years, it still beats anything I got since (Onyx, Kobo…)

  7. Amen. The PRS-350 was a blessing for me during the early days of my PhD. The note-taking capacity (logging page, time-stamp, book, export to parsable text file that can go into a database) while basic, is still almost unparalleled. I would love to have a solid alternative from Sony nowadays. In the emantime, I am stuck with a rooted Nook Glow Plus running Mantano…

  8. Yes Sony should still be making Reader’s.
    Had a PRS350 to start with added a PRS650 still the best looking device.
    Then PRS-T1 good software and lovely and thin hold. Remember these all had Audio.
    All traded in for Kobo H20.
    Also bought last Sony reader PRS-T3 with light cover in white as a keepsake.

  9. Sony rocks!! I still have my Sony PRS-T1 and it is still going strong.

    Disagree a bit with this article — the Sony PRS-T1 may not have been quite as high quality as some of the earlier Sony models — but IMHO still better than the comparable Kindle and B&N Nook models of the time.

    One thing I’ve never liked about the Kindles is they don’t have expandable storage, although hopefully that will change as it looks like Amazon is really starting to support expandable storage on their tablets.

    I still wish Sony was making e-readers.

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