Sony Reader impresses Barron’s; me: not so much


Sony_reader_1 Sony got a chance to show off the previously announced Sony Reader yesterday at a Wall Street Journal conference; Eric Savitz indicates that the eBook device "came across as a compelling product." Is that really enough, however? Does the fact that it does one function particularly well justify the expected $300 to $400 price tag?

Aside from a relatively high price for a single application, the cost savings on the content looks to be about 25% for the consumer. There are cheaper content options that won’t have to deal with Sony’s proprietary DRM, plus those options allow for the content to be on multiple devices, so I’m not yet sold. Head honcho of Sony, Howard Stringer, states "the success of the device will depend in large part on consumer acceptance", but I’d disagree. Consumers have already started to accept digital content on devices; will they accept this price point for one function? Will they accept content they purchase to be on a single device only? Sorry Sir Howard, but I respectfully believe you’re pinning the success of the device on the wrong factors.

(via MobileRead)




I saw this in Japan last year and it’s pretty cool but pretty pricy for what you get. Of course the iRex reader is twice the price (if it ever ships) so it’s tough decision if you want some type of reader.

The UMPC looks better for being able to do other stuff and if they can get 10hr battery life then it will probably win over the Libre.

btw: there is a great discussion group on yahoo about the Libre that can answer any tech type questions. It was there that I figured out that this device isn’t quite right for me.


Sony needs to examine history or be doomed to repeat other’s failures.

What worked well for Gemstar was heavily subsidizing their ebook reader in a manner similar to a cell phone. My first “ebook reader” was their original device which they sent me for $100 with a two year commitment to purchase content.

Each month they charged my credit card $20 and that was credited to my store account. If I bought more than $20 a month they’d charge for that, if I bought less than $20, it carried forward.

Sony has to wake up and realize this isn’t a PS2. There is plenty of competition providing the same content (in the form of paper books) which requires no upfront investment and often sells for less (Amazon often sells paper titles for less than the ebook.)

Gemstar’s readers were too large, too muddy, too heavy. If Sony gets a clue, their hardware and Gemstar’s marketing model could produce an incredible hit.

Anton P. Nym


Okay, so a general-purpose Origami is too big, clumsy, and expensive… but something only slightly smaller, single (almost) purpose, and grey-scale that’s half the price is “compelling”.


(Is it just me, or is Sony starting to rely too much on their name-recognition to carry consumers past their price points?)

— Steve

Will Ginn

“Build it and they will come!” I don’t think so.
An expensive product in search of a market.

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