Blog Post

Sony’s E-book Device And Store To Launch Next Month; Six Publishers On Board

Sony Reader, the much awaited portable e-book reader from Sony, will launch on October 1, along with the online e-book store, after missing an earlier unveiling in the Spring due to technical reasons. The Sony Connect book store will carry about 10,000 books from the top six publishers, including News Corp.’s HarperCollins and CBS Corp.’s Simon & Schuster.
The system will sell for about $350, and initially the new Connect customers will receive a $50 credit to buy books from the service. E-books cost on average about 25 percent less than the cover price of physical books, the company said.
The reader would also support RSS feeds, but only approved feeds from popular blogs and sites, not open feed reading. Newspapers and other periodicals will not be offered at first, but may come down the line.
The Reader’s site says that it also displays PDFs, personal documents, blogs, newsfeeds, and JPEGs, and plays unsecured MP3 and AAC audio files. For now most of these functions are half-activated. Sony says a Reader with a full charge in its lithium battery can show up to 7,500 pages, though I learned to discount any of the battery claims on any of the portable electronic devices, iPod being the chief among them. One of the reasons for Sony’s logevity is that the Reader doesn’t have a built-in light source, a power drain if there ever was one. Its internal memory holds up to 100 books, depending on their size, and the memory can be expanded with SD cards or memory sticks.
Forbes: In order for Sony’s new device, and other devices that will hit the market in the next year, to take off, publishers are going to have to find a way to make their offerings more attractive to buyers. Instead of cutting 30% of list price, for instance, why not cut 50% or more? Or perhaps bundle electronic books and physical books, in a two-for-one offering.