image If you don’t want to wait weeks and weeks for a Kindle, the Sony Reader PRS-505 might be just the ticket.

The PRS-505 lacks the Kindle’s wireless features or the built-in backlight of the $400 PRS-700. But the screen is among the more legible, and even newcomers can get the hang of importing books from a desktop machine. Plus, it can read the IDPF’s ePub standard and even encrypted PDF, among other formats. See an Amazon page for more details, including reader reviews.

So how much to pay? Circuit City is advertising the readers for $259.95 by mail—some $100 cheaper than the Kindle. The 505’s list price is about $300.

Other interesting choices for disappointed Kindle shoppers might be the Cybook ($269 from Books on Board) or the $198 jetBook, which, however, has just a five inch LCD screen without a backlight and currently can’t read DRMed books. The Cybook’s screen, in my opinion, is one of the most legible when you use the “embolden” feature, which bolds text and increases perceived contrast.

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  1. Another choice for those who do want a Kindle is to get a refurbished unit. As I reported on my blog, these are $329 and currently in stock. Same warranty as a new one (and many are probably unopened ones, refused delivery when people had to double order to get the Oprah coupon to work).

    Here’s a direct link to order one:

    or use the link at my blog entry:

  2. As a Sony 505 owner, I can let people know that I really like it. The reader is sleek and stylish and easy to use. I barely had to glance at the directions. The e-ink screen is great. I don’t get eyestrain. In fact, sometimes my brain just thinks I’m reading a book, and my hand moves like it means to turn a physical page.

    I bought my Sony because I actually did NOT want wireless shopping. Too much impulse buying temptation. That said, the Kindle is fine device, although bigger and thicker. My mom has one and loves it. People looking for Kindles might find them on eBay. Some people who didn’t like them might be selling, but I’m sure bids are going up to full retail.

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