I had always assumed that the Sony Reader™ Store was exclusively linked to the Sony brand readers, much like Kindle is to Amazon, so I was surprised when a publicist approached me wondering if I would be interested in shopping at their store and sharing my thoughts about it. Who knew that Sony also offers Apple and Android apps plus PC/MAC software as their ebooks are provided in DRM E-Pub format? I sure didn’t and I was eager to explore another option for e-book purchases.
With a twenty dollar voucher kindly provided by Sony I headed for the Australian Sony Reader™ Store and was greeted by a visually attractive homepage, with a category list and book covers sorted under headings such as New and Noteworthy, Popular Biographies and Australian Books. Though not necessary, before I started browsing I created an account, a simple process requiring an email address and password, opting in for the newsletter and briefly perusing the boring legal stuff.
Back on the home page I picked the New and Noteworthy category and started scrolling, the featured categories include a list of about thirty books. Clicking on the book cover bought up an individual page for the book with publication details, the blurb and the option to Buy or Add To My Wishlist. I browsed from the categories on the homepage quite happily for a while and after scrolling to the end of the page discovered more to browse including “Books Under $6.99″, “First Books in a Series” and “Free E-books” (mostly comprised of novellas and short stories)
Browsing the general categories like Crime, Mystery and Thrillers is daunting though. You can sort the category by Relevance, Date and Price but browsing such a general field can be a time consuming process. While you can search for books by author, title or keyword, there is no easy way to browse amongst sub genres if , for example, you were just interested in browsing thrillers. I also found it tedious that I couldn’t jump ahead in browsing the larger category any more than one page at a time because of the current restrictive navigation options. These are issues I believe Sony really needs to reexamine.
Prices seem competitive for the Australian market and I even spotted some bargains – though there was no easy way to actually find them. I didn’t hesitate when I stumbled across a copy of Tony Cavanaugh’s Promise, the first book in his Darien Richards series, that included a bonus of the second book, Dead Girl Sing, in full. Two for the price of one at $11.99! I dithered for a while before choosing The Donor by Helen Fitzgerald as my second book ($8.99). It was another book that had been on my wishlist for ages.
I spent a little more than the value of the voucher I had been provided with and I was a somewhat disappointed to discover credit cards are the only accepted payment option. I personally prefer to use Paypal for online transactions. There is the option of purchasing a gift voucher but it seems only through a physical store, in this case Myer.
After my purchase was complete, I grabbed my iPad and downloaded the Sony Reader app from the Apple store. Once I had signed in my library was visible but I had an issue with accessing them. Though the app accepted my Adobe ID details without any issues I kept running into an associated error when I tried to actually open the files. I have sent an email to Sony customer service but they are only available Mon-Fri so I wont have a reply until after the weekend. I’ll have to update you.
Overall my experience shopping for ebooks at the Sony Reader Store was a little mixed, though I am likely to visit again for a browse, assuming the app issue is cleared up.
* Visually attractive and clean site *Competitive pricing *Simple browsing options for popular/new release titles *Access for non-Sony devices *Able to Wishlist items
*Search options need refining *Credit card only payment method *Possible issues with IOS app
Have you visited the Sony Reader Store? What do you think of it?
* UPDATE Jan 2014: My issue with the Sony App on my iPad has still not been resolved though the customer service rep has maintained good communication in their attempts to identify the problem. It is definitely an issue with the app and to bypass it I have downloaded the ADE files to my PC (via Adobe Digital Editions) and transferred them into a third party app (Bluefire Reader) to access them. Not a huge issue but a small inconvenience*