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Troubleshooting Sony Reader Problems

Max holds a B.S. in mass communications from SIU, an M.A. in communications from U of I, and is pursuing an MBA from Webster University.


Common problems with the Sony Reader include the device freezing up, the computer not recognizing the device, problems opening files, problems opening books and more. Try fixing your problem on your own so you can hopefully avoid sending the device back to the manufacturer for repair or replacing it.

The Sony Reader weighs less than six ounces and uses E-Ink technology.

The Sony Reader weighs less than six ounces and uses E-Ink technology.

Sony Reader Frozen

Hold the "Power" button on your device down to force the device to shut down and then power the device back on. If the device continues to freeze up, updating the firmware can resolve system issues that may be causing the problem. After the device powers back on, update the firmware immediately by doing the following:

  1. Connect the Sony Reader to your computer using the USB cable that came with the device.
  2. Select "Data Transfer Mode" in the USB Connected dialog box that appears on your computer screen.
  3. Install the Sony Reader software that came with your Sony Reader if you haven't already, and then open the software on your computer.
  4. Click "Help" in the upper-right corner of the Reader program window and then click "Check for Updates." The program begins looking for available updates.
  5. Select "I agree to the above" if an update is detected and you're prompted with an agreement.
  6. Click "Update Now."
  7. Select your language, accept the license agreement that appears and then click "Update" to begin installing the update.
  8. Disconnect the Sony Reader from your computer after a dialog box appears notifying you that the update is complete.

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Sony Reader Not Recognized by Reader Software

  • The Sony Reader may not have enough of a charge to be recognized by the Reader program on your computer. Try disconnecting the device from your computer, charging it for at least an hour and then reconnecting it to the computer.
  • An open program on your Sony Reader may be prohibiting the Reader program on your computer from recognizing the device. Try restarting the device and immediately connecting it to your computer.
  • Ensure that you actually installed the Reader software on your computer. The most recent version of the program for PCs is available here, and the most recent version of the program for Mac computers is available here.
  • Remove any memory cards from the device or disconnect any hardware connected to the Sony Reader before connecting it to your computer.
  • Make sure the USB cable connecting the Sony Reader to the computer is connected to a working USB port. The first step is to ensure the device is connected to a USB port on the tower, or if you're using an all-in-one computer, connect it to a USB port on the back of the monitor. Additionally, if you have a lot of USB devices connected to the computer, try disconnecting some of them and then reconnecting the Sony Reader. Having a large number of USB devices connected can use up all of the available power for the USB ports without a device being connected to all of the ports.

File Won't Open or Play

You may have loaded a file type that isn't supported by the Sony Reader to the device. Supported file types include the MP3 and AAC format for audio files, EPUB, TXT and PDF for book files, and JPEG, GIF, PNG and BMP for image files. Additionally, even if you're using the correct type of file, some files need to meet further specifications. For example, MP3 files must have a bit rate between 8 and 320 kilobytes per second and a sampling frequency between 8 and 48 kilohertz; PDFs must be built in accordance with the PDF 1.6 specifications or higher; and EPUB files must be built in accordance with the OPS 2.0 specifications.

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Can't Open a Book on the Sony Reader

  • If you borrowed the book from a public library, the book may have expired. You can try borrowing the book through the library again, however, if the book has already been checked out and the library has a limited number of copies, you may have to take a number on a wait list.
  • You can only read books on your device that you purchased with the account associated with your device. If you purchased the title using another account, that account must be associated with your device.
  • If the content transferred to your Sony Reader is Digital Rights Management (DRM)-protected, you won't be able to display or listen to the content unless your device is authorized to play that specific content. Additionally, you may have exceeded the number of devices you can play that content on.

Touchscreen Not Working

  • Wipe the Sony Reader touchscreen off using a soft cloth. Dirt or debris on the touchscreen can prevent it from responding to your touch or working properly.
  • Dry off your hands. If your hands are wet, the touch screen won't respond correctly when you touch it.
  • Force the device to shut down by holding down the "Power" button. Sometimes the device can be locked up and needs to be restarted.

Sony Reader Soft and Hard Reset

You can perform a soft reset by pushing a straightened-out paper clip into the "Reset" hole on the back of your device or along the bottom edge, depending on your device model. This is another option for troubleshooting a frozen Sony Reader or resolving other response problems with your device.

If you're experiencing larger problems with your device, or if the smaller problems continually pop back back up, you can perform a hard reset by doing the following:

  1. Power the device down and then power it back on.
  2. When the Opening Book message appears, hold down the "Page Turn (Next)" button and the "Back" button at the same time.
  3. While still holding down both buttons, remove the finger from the "Back" button, press the button again and then remove your finger from the "Back" button.
  4. Remove your finger from the "Page Turn (Next)" button.
  5. Select "Yes" when asked if you want to perform a factory reset. The device will shut down when the factory restore is finished.
  6. Power the device back on.


Jaykaumar on October 10, 2017:

How to adjust display on PRS-900 Sony Reader. My Device display gone blurred

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