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Sony Pocket Reader  (Source: Reuters)
$199 price point is expected to drive customers to adopt eReaders

The eReader market is getting hot. There were readers on the market before the Amazon Kindle burst onto the scene, but the Kindle is the product that really brought real attention to the eReader market. Sony is now trying to combat the Kindle with a few new products.

Sony has announced that it will be offering two new readers this month. The Reader Pocket Edition has a small 5-inch display, but sells at what is called a breakthrough price of $199. Avid readers looking for a device with a larger screen and touch capability will be able to get their hands on a larger touch-capable device from Sony for $299.

The $299 price point is a hard place to sell readers for Sony since the Amazon Kindle is selling at $299 now after getting a $60 price cut in July. The Kindle also has a more robust feature set, namely the device has a built-in wireless connection that operates on 3G mobile network for anywhere connectivity. Neither of the new Sony readers offers wireless connectivity.

Sony has also announced that it will reduce the price of its best seller book titles from $11.99 to $9.99 to match Amazon's pricing for best sellers. Reuters reports that analysts say the new $199 price point may lure avid readers not jumping on the Kindle to adopt the Sony platform.

Steve Haber, Sony Digital Reading division president told Reuters, "Achieving the $199 price point, we believe, expands the market dramatically. You can throw it in your bag and always have it with you, and that also allowed us to achieve a more affordable price point."

Haber says that he expects the total market for eReaders to cross the 2 million barrier this year and that one of the drivers for that growth will be the Sony $199 reader. Reuters reports that a Forrester survey found that 13% of online consumers felt that $199 was an affordable splurge and 26% said that price was within reach.

The more expensive $299 reader from Sony is called the Reader Touch Edition, features a built-in dictionary that can pop up word definitions by taping the word, and allows users to take notes with a virtual keyboard or stylus. The $299 price will be a hard sell though considering the lack of wireless connectivity that Amazon offers at the same price.

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By chmilz on 8/5/2009 11:39:06 AM , Rating: 2
Don't need wireless. They're like magic, the words are just there. Plus, Amazon can't take away my books after I've paid for them.

RE: Books
By Bateluer on 8/5/09, Rating: -1
RE: Books
By peldor on 8/5/2009 11:59:45 AM , Rating: 2
I believe the OP is saying he'll stick with the dead tree option. Technology (except for the whole pulp/paper/print/binding parts) be damned.

RE: Books
By acase on 8/5/2009 12:06:57 PM , Rating: 4
What?!? Amazon has the capability to come to my house and steal a book back that I bought? Please site a case where this has happened before.

(see I can completely miss the point of a post too)

RE: Books
By Daphault on 8/5/09, Rating: 0
RE: Books
By acase on 8/5/2009 12:50:07 PM , Rating: 2
Wow, people on the internet never cease to amaze me. I really hope you are not a working professional with your inability to graspthe context or tone of a post. Especially when it has been explained by two other replies right next to it.

RE: Books
By Nobleman00 on 8/5/2009 4:00:35 PM , Rating: 5
You said "site" instead of cite, so he gave you a site.

RE: Books
By omnicronx on 8/5/2009 12:08:08 PM , Rating: 3
Amazon broke into peoples houses and stole their hardcopy books back?? Those B*stards!

Definitely wonder about Sony and DRM though, I could easily see them persuading publishers to use a DRM system. I too will never buy one of these if they have DRM, although as the OP stated, nothing compares to a real book. (I also have enough trouble reading LCD screens all day at work, can't imagine these readers would help)

RE: Books
By XZerg on 8/5/2009 12:47:25 PM , Rating: 2

Sony teamed up with google to offer the google books. DRM Kapish!

RE: Books
By videodave on 8/5/2009 4:10:44 PM , Rating: 2
Agree that DRM is obnoxious, but DRM is only important when it's in the book.

There are hundreds of thousands of ebooks available with no DRM, and Sony makes it easy to get them.

I've had my original Sony reader for over two years and haven't bought a single ebook for it, precisely because of DRM. But I can download any Google Book out of copyright from the Sony ebook store.

RE: Books
By S3anister on 8/5/2009 12:23:39 PM , Rating: 2
My biggest problem with e-readers (as far as i know) is that you can't let someone borrow your 'book' without letting them borrow your e-reader as well.

The idea is brilliant, though.

RE: Books
By Nobleman00 on 8/5/2009 4:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
The Zune version will let you share the book with a social member for 3 reads.

RE: Books
By amanojaku on 8/5/2009 12:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
I love books. I love reading. I have a library of a few thousand books in my home (thanks to $1 sales.)

I'll never buy another paper-based book again. My books are heavy to move, a pain to clean, deteriorate unless I plan to vacuum-seal them (which means you can't open them again,) and tend to become obsolete if they are informational. They also result in the death of a lot of trees. I hate reading on a screen, but I love the environment more. I'm going electronic, with the hope that one day my reader will be a true electronic paper substitute powered by a light-charged battery.

RE: Books
By Boze on 8/5/2009 2:14:19 PM , Rating: 2
I can agree with everything you're saying... except for the environmentalism aspect of it.

When trees are harvested for their wood, more trees are replanted to take the place of those trees we are using. There is more forest in America right now, today, this very second, than there was at the turn of the 19th century.

We may lose some (and I emphasize 'some') old growth forests by cutting down trees, but its no different or worse than the land management techniques Native Americans used (such as burning down large tracts of forest for their own purposes).

Maybe you're talking about the inks that are used to print the books? In which case you'd know many companies have or are converting to soy-based and other environmentally friendly inks, not only because they're pressured into it, but also because there's cost savings to be had.

You say that you "love the environment more." If that's really true, the start showing it some real love by educating yourself about it, and the very real maladies that affect it nowadays, not former problems that have been solved decades ago.

The worst kind of environmentalist is one who wears their belief on their sleeve.

RE: Books
By The0ne on 8/5/2009 2:23:10 PM , Rating: 2
While I really can't disprove what you've said I know for a fact that there are acres of land where trees once were that hasn't been re-planted. Flying over Eugene is obvious. Then you have other countries that don't really hold the same priciples.

And even if they did re-plant, which is a great thing, it's not overnight. Add this this there's a high probability that greed will ALWAYS make someone use the tree too early.

RE: Books
By Boze on 8/5/2009 2:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
Uh no... its not an "if they did", its a "yes they do". These companies aren't stupid. There's a finite amount of land. There's a finite amount of trees. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out if you want to keep making money you have to replace the trees and account for their growth so that your company can harvest them again in 50 or 100 years for more lumber and paper.

What "high probability" are you talking about? A lumber mill benefits most from the largest trees. A bigger tree makes more lumber and more pulp for paper.

As far as your claim about "acres" of land where trees once were that weren't replanted - what's the purpose of that land? Is that strictly land that a major lumber yard or paper manufacturer is using for the purpose of product? Or is it being cleared for new developments? Housing? Industrial? These are questions you need to find the answers to. Not every single cleared piece of land you see is owned by a private company either. Private landowners can sell the trees on their land, and its up to them whether they replant or not (and I think even the most casual of environmentalists, the group which I place myself in, would argue that you should replant).

About 14 years ago, my cousin purchased 77 acres of land in rural Mississippi to build his house. He sold the trees on 50 acres of that land. We then spent the next 2 months clearing the land off, we then disced up the 50 acres and replanted pine trees in an 8 foot by 8 foot grid across the area. This is a rare thing for someone to do though, and while he did it strictly as a love of nature, the amount of work involved is almost prohibitively expensive unless you're doing this on enormous tracts of land (I'm no tree expert, but I'd guess you'd need to do this on 1000+ acres or even more to be profitable).

RE: Books
By dlomax on 8/5/2009 4:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
You're showing a lot of contempt but not a lot of insight. The ebook isn't just important because it reduces the necessity of cutting down trees. When I buy an ebook, nobody had to use nonrenewable energy to cut down the tree, process the paper, run the printing presses and deliver the book to a store. Nobody had to provide a plastic bag for my purchases. I didn't have to use up any gas getting to the store.

Environmental issues are complex ones, no doubt about it, and your point about tree harvesting is interesting. Personally, I have no sentimental attachments to old growth. It has finished its locking in of carbon, and in some ways it's better for the environment to cut that stuff all down and plant new growth.

At the same time, the sooner we can move from atoms to bits in many of our entertainment needs, the sooner we can stop wasting.

RE: Books
By mcnabney on 8/5/2009 5:40:42 PM , Rating: 2
What is the average usage life of you eReader before it is replaced by something new, bigger, and better? Two years? Five years? Probably not much more. iPhones are replaced almost at an annual rate.
Because of all of the electronic components you can be assured that the production of an eReader will require plenty of toxic waste, resources, and energy to produce. It will also require electricity to run. ANd because of the rapid depreciation, it will need replacing soon.
My bookshelves are filled with books that date back over a hundred years. They all work just as well now as they did when they were new.

RE: Books
By Trippytiger on 8/5/2009 7:36:36 PM , Rating: 2
You really think that it takes less energy and fewer resources to make an ebook reader than it does to make and transport, oh, thousands of books?

RE: Books
By The0ne on 8/5/2009 5:38:37 PM , Rating: 2
Fly over Eugene, OR. These trees are harvested for lumber, as can been seen with the various lumber industries there. And while I can't say they aren't for industrial and what not, it's really doesn't matter. The trees are down, it's lumber in some shape or form. In the end you see this vast clearing that has no trees, just dirt. I'm pretty sure harvesting is way outpacing the planting and growth planning. Well, maybe not now since we have a economic crisis at hand :)

And while they may be planting or have already planted more than they have already chopped down, you don't see this physically to make the conclusive comparison that they are compensating for what they cut down. Again, it's not overnight. Give them a few years to grow at least.

RE: Books
By MonkeyPaw on 8/5/2009 9:33:02 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, forestry (the management of trees for a purpose), when done properly, allows for trees to replant themselves. Conifers, such as the ones that grow around Eugene, are mostly pioneer species, which means these trees actually prefer bare ground and open space to regenerate. It mimics nature's own way of forest regeneration, which in your area is largely done by forest fire. With the long growing season the Pacific Northwest has, new trees grow back fast. Also, timber/paper companies can only harvest on private land. In places like the south, trees are grown on 20 year rotations, and the same land is harvested each time. Also, new, fast growing trees are more productive than old trees when it comes to CO2 reduction. Old trees actually are very inefficient, as they respire (convert sugars to energy + CO2) a great deal in order to maintain their massive size.

Lastly, you don't need old trees to make paper. The wood is ground into pulp. Large trees are harvested for timber, so the topic of e-readers actually saving old trees is moot. Sure, it will save trees, just not the big ones.

By Diosjenin on 8/5/2009 12:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
But will it...

- read PDF?
- read raw text files?
- have a readable screen and good battery life?
- not be laden with DRM?

Face it - all of that is more important than whether or not it can connect to the almighty Internet.

RE: Capabilities
By Bateluer on 8/5/2009 12:37:12 PM , Rating: 2
- read PDF? - From the specs, yes
- read raw text files? - From the specs, yes
- have a readable screen and good battery life? - Its using an electronic ink screen, which are easy on the eyes. It also boasts more than double the battery life of its competition. Though this hasn't be verified yet.
- not be laden with DRM? - Its Sony . . .

RE: Capabilities
By monomer on 8/5/2009 1:58:23 PM , Rating: 2
- not be laden with DRM? - Its Sony . . .

If it detects you're violating a copyright, it hits you with a dose of Snow Crash.

RE: Capabilities
By SublimeSimplicity on 8/5/2009 2:46:48 PM , Rating: 2
Beowulf would make a much more effective tranquilizer.

RE: Capabilities
By Spivonious on 8/5/2009 1:21:05 PM , Rating: 2
My question is what the page refresh time is like.

I played with one (not sure if it was the latest model) and it literally took 2-3 seconds to move to the next page. That is unacceptable, especially since it takes a fraction of a second for me to turn a page in a real book.

With that said, if these devices get under $100, then I'd seriously consider getting one.

RE: Capabilities
By Ammohunt on 8/5/2009 2:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
$100 bucks for me as well mainly becasue i don't devour books like i used too.

Amazon = censorship
By Smokey48 on 8/5/2009 1:53:53 PM , Rating: 1
I sincerely hope Sony eats Amazon's lunch. Jeff Bezos is just another internet billionaire who pretty much fell into his wealth by being in the right place at the right time. In other words, luck. Now he feels guilty of having such astounding wealth, like most of the other surprise billionaires...

...but not guilty enough to give half his money to people in need. No, instead he wants the average working guy, you and me, to pay lots more in taxes, so that his guilt is reduced - at our expense. Because, like, he's supporting a cause. Hopey Change. For the children, etc., etc.

These tax suckers absolutely HATE George Orwell, because Orwell predicted exactly what's happening now [War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, Down is Up, White is Black, Evil is Good, and Global Warming Causes Global Cooling. Trust Us.] This has nothing to do with copyrights. This is all about another despicable lefty deciding, on his own, what you should and shouldn't be permitted to read.

Sony makes good products. Amazon is just a website. We'll see who comes out on top in the consumer electronics competition.

RE: Amazon = censorship
By Boze on 8/5/2009 2:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
Whoa, easy there man... the tin foil hat is a little too tight I think.

This was a publisher's decision, not an decision. Let's not jump off the diving board into the deep end of the waterless pool just yet.

What probably happened was the publisher realized they could add a few "recently discovered" insights from a "long lost letter" that Orwell wrote to "his distant 7th cousin" and package it into the e-book and then sell it as a new and improved revised edition for double whatever those folks paid for it.

RE: Amazon = censorship
By Bateluer on 8/5/2009 2:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
As I understand it, there was a mix up and the publisher that gave Amazon permission to sell the books didn't actually have the rights for those books. However, this means that Amazon should have pulled the books from the Kindle store, leaving already purchased books intact. This is akin to a merchant coming to your house to take back a product they sold you. Amazon screwed up, they should eat the cost.

RE: Amazon = censorship
By Bateluer on 8/5/2009 2:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Ironically, Jeff Bezos already pays more in taxes than you or I will ever see in a fiscal year. And we're both going to end up paying a LOT more to finance the bailouts, UHC, economic stimulus, etc.

Competition Heats Up!
By Skott on 8/5/2009 1:06:19 PM , Rating: 2
I have a Kindle and I love it! Having said that I'm glad Sony is finally trying to fight back because we E-Book users really need to see more competition in this market. More competition means more choices and a chance prices may come down. Hopefully we'll see other companies jump into this market fray in a big way but for right now Amazon and Sony seem to be the two biggest.

RE: Competition Heats Up!
By The0ne on 8/5/2009 2:25:23 PM , Rating: 2
This is a semi-hot market right now. There are developments in the works to improve them, obviously. I'm eager to see the bigger size of the new models when they come out next year! My eyes aren't that good so a full 8x11 would be nice :D

The Ideal E-book Reader...
By Boze on 8/5/2009 2:25:33 PM , Rating: 2
...would have the following options standard:

* Wireless connectivity to a vast library of purchaseable titles for reasonable prices
* Ability to display PDF, .txt, and .doc files
* Ability to store and play MP3s
* Natural sounding text-to-speech engine with several different voice options
* DRM-free, possibly open format that sets an industry standard (I really don't see why this can't be PDF though, honestly)
* Excellent battery life
* High resolution, 256 level grayscale display
* Low response times
* $149 to $199 price point

Whoever comes out with an e-reader that meets all the specs will find themselves selling like hotcakes, especially if the book delivery infrastructure is sound and well-tested before the product goes to market.

no deal
By Bubbacub on 8/5/2009 6:41:55 PM , Rating: 2
they urgently need to reduce the page turn time. its horrible and is a deal breaker for me.


ideally there should be 2 types of e-book. a small paperback sized black and white one for everyday use and more importantly a big a4 sized colour one (i dont know if colour e-ink displays exist). there is more scope for mass adoption in schools etc. if we could get large numbers of very heavy cumbersome text and reference books onto one light device.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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