A different kind of review: Sony Reader Store UK

images Imagine my surprise when I was contacted and asked to test and review the Sony Reader Store 😮 Naturally I agreed, especially as I was curious because I’d never heard of it before. The nice lady who asked me to review the site also gave me a voucher so I could test the purchase side of things so off I went to shop.

 

 

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When you first go to the Sony Reader Store,you will need to register for an account. The site is fairly easy to use (I found it a little slow but working). At the top of the page the Reader Store logo is on the left: clicking on this will bring you back to the main page. On the right is the drop down to log in and to go to account settings. Under these is four click-able tabs: ebook Store, My Library, Sony Reader & Mobile Apps and your Wishlist.

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This section is as straight forward as it looks. Here you can change your password, address, payment details, whether you want to receive a newsletter from the Reader Store or change the email address you registered with. It doesn’t have a fancy look, just a plain, basic page and that was fine with me. Who needs fancy pages for their account settings?

 

 

sony1Now for the important part 😀 buying books!! Click on the ebook Store tab and this will bring you to the next page in the process. As you scroll down, you’ll see a section for the “What’s Hot” section. A small arrow on the right will allow you to browse the ebooks featured here. Keep scrolling down the main ebook store page and on the right hand side you’ll come to the Categories section. Click on whichever category you wish to browse.

sony3I chose the Sci Fi & Fantasy category because my preferred genre is Paranormal which didn’t seem to have a category of its own – which disappointed me as I wouldn’t class Paranormal Fiction and Paranormal Romance as Fantasy, but that’s just my opinion.
On the right hand side, you can refine your search, as shown in the picture on the left. This allows you to choose which language ebook you want. There is a drop down box on the right which lets you sort out which way you see the ebooks, i.e by relevance, by price or by date.
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To buy a book: There’s two ways to do this. You can click on the “buy now” option that is under each ebook on the category page, or you can click on each ebook which will open another page so you can view the ebook details and blurb. You can also add it to your wishlist this way too.
Once you click on “Buy now”, the ebook goes to your shopping basket (which is at the top of each page, on the right) and you get taken to the checkout.

 

 

sony7aaAgain, the checkout is quite straightforward. It’s set out in 4 steps on the one page.
Step 1: This shows the ebook you’ve chosen to purchase. It also gives you the chance to enter a voucher code (should you have one to use). You can also choose to continue shopping if you want to add another ebook to your basket.
Step 2: Shows your account name and email address.
Step 3: Shows your billing address and gives you the chance to edit it, if necessary.
Step 4: Complete Payment. Click on this and it will bring you to the Secure payment page where you can complete the transaction.

 

What I didn’t like:
My main gripe with this site is the lack of categories. It seems everything is bunged in another category that is similar. I think a page just for categories and more category titles would be a bonus and a good step for the Reader Store to take. Yes, it will mean a bit more thought will need to go into the development, but I think it’s a very reasonable and much needed step. Otherwise I think customers will get frustrated with trying to find the exact genre they want. I know I did.
The Search facility – I’m not sure this works properly. I typed in two authors names: Felicity Heaton and Barb Winkes. Both times it came back with results but neither were the author names I had put into the search box.

What I did like:
I like the wishlist option, nice and easy to use, no faffing around with it. Click on the wishlist tab and it will show you the books you’ve opted to wishlist. You can buy them from the wishlist too, rather than having to go look them up to buy them.
I also like the Sony Reader and Mobile Apps tab as it’s quite informative and helpful about the READER and the different gadgets that it can be used on.
I like the clean cut look the store has. There’s no ads clogging up my screen, or slowing the process of browsing and buying down to a crawl.
Down the bottom of each screen, there is 4 separate categories with links: “Our Picks”, “Popular Categories”, “Free Reader Apps” and “Help”. These are quite clear and offer a few easier ways to choose a book.
Each ebook can also be rated via a star rating but as yet, no reviews can be left. Maybe the site creators can think about adding this facility too?
The Library tab; this keeps an account of all the ebooks you buy and you can download them from there too.

Was it easy to buy and download a book?
I honestly think this was the easiest part of the whole site. I purchased 6 ebooks and the checkout went very smoothly. Downloading them was very, very easy.All the ebooks come in epub format but they should be able to be converted. I usually use Calibre to do this. As I read and review each book, I’ll let you know if I find this part difficult.

My rating: I’d give the Sony Reader Store 3.5 stars out of 5 stars. The reason I dropped it 1.5 stars is because of what I said above about the categories and the search bar. This site has great potential and I will keep dropping back in to see if it improves as I’d like it to.

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