Wow, I have just tried the last 15-20 minutes trying to send a support email to Sonystyle about ebooks. The telephone reps won’t let me purchase an accidental coverage 2 year extended warranty and I wanted to ask for confirmation in writing. I wanted to know if those chronic display problems would be covered under the normal extended service plan (which I am still eligible to buy apparently).

I am used to dealing with malfunctioning support contact pages. But with Sonystyle I’ve tried everything!

Go to this customer support page. Choose the tab, Email a question.

I didn’t remember if I had registered an account with them, so after I typed the question, it asked me to provide 3 different email addresses! Every time I hit submit I get a random error message. “Email already created.” “Email form has timed out.”  “Each email address is supposed to be different.”

I try a different tactic. Create new account (without email confirmation). Submit questions, submit. No message, nothing. Instead, I’m redirected to a user registration page. Wait, wasn’t I there already? Does this mean the  message was sent? No idea? (Nothing in email).

So I try a different tactic. Go to a URL outside of the Sonystyle’s frame. Shut off popup blocker, try to register with another email. Try to send email. Submit, nothing. Wow, the help page provides me with no useful information!

Wow, I really like the Sony PRS505, but this website doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence about Sony’s grasp of technology!

Hey sony, if you want to contact me, my email is

In other news, according to the results of Teleread’s  informal survey of device owners last month, Sony PRS 505 leads the e-eink devices in the likelihood of critical device failures. The results:


  1. A proper statistician will tell you these numbers are meaningless and scientifically invalid. I’m not one, but I do know that much.

    If we knew the total population of each machine over a spread of time, you could begin to have something of meaning. Plus, we don’t know the screen manufacturer’s MTBF stats or what they tell their customers regarding the defect population.

  2. There are dangers of overinterpreting a self-reported non-random “straw poll” (especially when we can’t verify identities). But it should indicate a general dissatisfaction with the technology and an unpublicized “gotcha” that consumers may not be aware of. An ebook reader may be marketed as a book when in fact it is a delicate device.

    I suspect these failures result more from mis-education of consumers than the technology itself. All the more reason for companies offering extended service plans to spell out their terms.

  3. >>>But it should indicate a general dissatisfaction

    General?! General would be a large number of owners. I doubt the polling population reflects any large percentage of owners!

    I once owned a Canon CAT WP machine. At one point, it just died. I found out, serendipitously, from a Canon service agent that the motherboard was prone to spontaneous failure. Perhaps this is also the case with an X-percentage of eInk screens. I just hope that’s not a percentage as large as the suiciding Canon CAT!

  4. Mike, as Robert noted, the surveys are hardly scientific. But they certainly jibe with the discussions here, including one from the leader of NAEB, who experienced a failure with her Cybook screen. And then Robert himself has with his. Similarly other people have told of problems with other brands.

    The other interesting thing is that even though the failure percentages differ a bit for various brands, they’re still within the same general range. So in the end we’re really talking about hundreds of E Ink users. Even allowing for the self-selection factor—which we tried to reduce by encouraging people with no problems to participate—the failure rates appear to be higher than they should be.

    The good news is that bendable E Ink should soon come out and reduce the failure rate.

    Sorry about your Canon problems.


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