e-Book Echo: Sony Reader Available; Kindles Get Better; Nooks Expensive to Produce


Our platform focus continues this fine Sunday with the e-Book Echo, our take on the week in the digital publishing world. The cool Sony (s sne) Daily Edition Reader is now available for pre-order, with shipping sometime around the end of the year/ early next year. This Reader is the latest from Sony, and adds 3G to the mix along with the touch screen. The Daily Edition will set you back $400.

The Amazon (s amzn) Kindles got a firmware upgrade that offers native PDF support and longer battery life. The extended battery life is only obtained by global editions of the reader with HSPA radios. Those with the U. S. EVDO Kindles won’t see any battery life gains. The native PDF support is a significant new feature, especially for business folks who like to take work documents along. To better handle PDF viewing, Kindles will now support screen rotation for landscape viewing.

We have seen a rash of e-book reader announcements over the past few months, with a lot of different companies rushing to make readers. These companies might want to listen to Barnes & Noble (s bks), as its inability to meet heavy Nook orders is resulting in a ramping up of production capability. This is a very expensive process, and the company has indicated this might hurt future earnings. Electronic readers may be a hot ticket, but they are not cheap to produce.



I purchased the Sony e-Book reader pictured above for my niece this summer. She’s six and loves it.

Personally, I have a huge book collection, 99.9% of which I would love to consolidate into digital form. The sticking point for me isn’t the technology (though color is a requirement), it’s availability, ownership, portability, and longevity. Most of the titles I want, including textbooks and technical journals, still aren’t available. I would like to buy titles with the confidence that I actually own them and that someone in the distribution change can’t arbitrarily flip a switch and invalidate my purchase. I’d like to be able to move titles from one reader to another, as invariable better readers become available, and further, I’d like to be able to give titles away (only one copy existing at any point in time of course!) Finally, I’d like the formats to be non-proprietary giving some assurance against file obsolescence.

Advances in eBook reader technology are interesting, but the really hard and useful stuff has yet to be done.


Unless the Kindle update contains SOME KIND of file system…it is another failure. I have two Kindles. After the 20th book or so, there is NO place to put them except in a large single undifferentiated pool. You can’t even sort by fiction v. non-fiction, much less by subject. And just TRY to flip through a Kindle book as you would with a real book….laborious and often you simply lose your place.

I have sent many suggestions to Kindle…but they never bring their book storage and filing system out of the Stone Age.

Just try to sort those business PDF’s by client or matter name. It can’t be done. The utility of PDF reading will very soon fade.

The ONLY thing that Kindle has that is better than the “other guys” is the store…it is wonderful to find a book in a few moments and have it on the Kindle a minute later. But even there…many books are simply not available in Kindle the “Kindle Store”.

The other good thing is the Whispersync and ability to read your books on iPhone and PC…and keep your place in the book cross all platforms. That’s cool.

But Amazon MUST spend time providing book handling ability.


The main benefit with the Kindle is that there is no backlighting. Backlighting is making it uncomfortable to read. The price is ok but still high enough to make you stop and wonder if it’s worth it. I wonder for how long “real” books will stay with us, they have their own charm though. If you are interested, I saw that it’s possible to win a free Kindle 2 on http://www.americanlisted.com/competition/

Lillian Santiago

I am sorry that Barnes and Noble is having production problems, at least they are trying to give customers what they want. I for one will order and wait until after the New Year to get mine. Perhaps other companies might have tried being more consumer-oriented. People should remember Kindle ran out their first year in production, and didn’t the Wii/Nintendo game system have some production problems their first year or two. I will wait for what I want. I love reading and look forward to NOOK.


I still haven’t seen anything that makes me want to shy away from the Entourage eDGe. 10″ screen. Works with many e-book formats (esp. if you add the e-book software from ereader.com). Can run Android. Works with external keyboards. Sure, a little more expensive than the Sony (which makes it rather expensive over all, compared to other readers) and has huge bezels, but it seems to me, so far, like it’s worth it.

The only things I’d want to see changed on it would be:

* 1 PixelQi hybrid display (with touch screen) instead of 2 displays
* DVI-I out
* smaller bezel
* possibly a convertible tablet/swivel screen format (but I’m ok with slate tablet format too)

But, I’m fine with it as it is. Just need to wait 3 months before I can have it ;-)

Comments are closed.