Amazon Kindle International vs Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-300

In a turn-up for the books, it's Amazon that insists on using its own proprietary file format while Sony, historically so keen on forging its own path, has chilled-out considerably in the ebook arena.

On the Kindle, books can be downloaded from its online store in the AZW format only. Its makes little difference to the reader, though it does mean that purchased books can't be played on any other ebook reader. That's too inflexible for many, though Amazon does supply free software to allow syncing of a Kindle's contents to a PC, Blackberry and iPhone/iPod Touch.

Aside from its own ebooks, the Kindle can be manually loaded with plain text, PDF, MP3 and Audible files. Playing music is a rudimentary affair, accessed through the experimental' menus, which also holds the US-only browser.

The Kindle's support for PDFs is also disappointing. Without a reliably consistent zoom function, text in most PDF files is rendered too small to read.

Sony's PRS-300 is a different animal. It comes with Reader Library software (PC and Mac versions), which is at its core a way to get DRM-protected content i.e. Adobe EPUB books bought online onto the PRS-300. The software acts as a hub for buying books from WH Smith and Waterstones (26,000-plus titles), but it also allows you to register the device and download 100 classic titles for free as well as linking to websites to buy accessories, such as covers.