Originally Posted by RajS
As for Sony, seeing as the verdict here is that they have already failed in the eReader market - and I'm not trying to defend anything they have said or done recently - it may well be the case that as a corporation they are just dysfunctional and can't join the dots. I've seen that many times. That said though I'll make the following points just for perspective.....
That's the verdict of only a few people, actually. And as I have pointed out, it's based on errant information or misinterpretation, or simply repeating a false statement over and over.
Even the post that Sony is hiring for the Reader division was dismissed. "OMG it's just one person! DOooommmm!!"
a) The market for eBooks is still in the process of being established - in much the same way as the market for online music is. That means that issues relating to distribution, revenue sharing, copying etc etc all remain to be resolved by the market. Anyone who really thinks right now that they know how to make that business work - it's a golden opportunity to get in - there's lots of venture capital waiting for you.
b) E-Reader tech is just getting to the point where it provides an experience similar to a book - the technology is still developing and is still under some threat from lcd screens - it's by no means certain that it will continue to advance sufficiently to replace books or justify purchase of a device in addition to a computer/tablet. Could well end up a niche technology.
Actually I disagree a bit with these two points.
The main hurdle for e-readers has been selling the e-Ink experience. The general public doesn't understand what it is and/or why it's an advantage. That has changed in the last year (?) with Amazon marketing against the iPad -- the commercial of the hot girl reading the Kindle in the sun, and the dorky guy failing with the iPad.
Faster computer, lighter computer, features feature features... those are all easy sells. But "screen!" just doesn't knock 'em down.
The tech has been at the book-like point since the PRS-500. Very little has changed since then, really, in terms of the screen. Better contrast and response, but same resolution. Baby steps in computer terms!
LCD is a challenge now
because it offers color. But two years ago, dedicated e-Readers were primarily e-Ink. Now the Nook color is sold as a single-purpose device, eliminates all the advantages of e-Ink, but has a very understandable selling point: color. Countering that with "eye strain!" is, again, a pretty hard sell.
Personally I wouldn't assume that Sony have ceded the market just yet - I don't think the market is mature yet. After all, Apple sell books too and they're betting big on the iPad.
They haven't. They're still widely available, as cited multiple times in the thread. Even if they pull back entirely
to Sony Style, that's not a sign of decline: Apple used a dedicated seller model for ages,
and did very well. Sony is probably
the 3rd best-selling dedicated e-Reader on the market (nobody releases sales info, unfortunately). You don't have to be #1 to make lots of money! Once again, look at Apple computer
sales! They survived with less than 10% of the market!
The biggest drawback now, IMHO, is the lock-in between device and store. That's bad for consumers because choice of Reader is influenced by choice of book store. If you like the Sony but want to buy books from Amazon, you cannot. This also harms competition in the book market. Once you're locked in, you're locked in... you can't go to a different store for a better price, so there is no incentive to lower prices!