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Old 09-26-2006, 01:06 PM   #4
Bob Russell
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Those are some great observations Ken. I think you are right on.

Fortunately, Sony is not likely to judge the future of e-book reader products on whether or not this device takes over the world with star studded sales right out the gate. They understand it's ground breaking product and that it opens up a new product category, so probably more important is that they come out with a solid product to establish a new type of product. Remember that Sony lost the mp3 audio player wars. This would appear to be a chance for them to get a second chance at an emerging market with an opportunity to stay on top this time.

But we might be surprised. There might be a lot of people that find the device so intriguing and useful that they will be more patient with it than you think. And once you started reading a book, there's not much to figure out to turn pages! Besides, everything sounds complicated in words. I hope to get a video up that shows how straightforward the navigation and page turning is.

And the price is an interesting topic because on the one hand you might think that because it's so much more expensive than just buying some paper books, it might not have a chance to sell. But if you are only taking a few sets of pictures, you can use a disposable camera. You don't need a digital camera, yet they are very popular. And have you ever tried to use one of them? It's much harder to learn those features than a simple e-book reader! But, yeah, if people buy only on price, and just compare the price of paper books with the price of the reader plus the books they read, they won't exactly be storming Borders for a chance to buy one!

Still, I think most people have this deep down feeling that there's value in reading and that they should read more. That can be a huge motivation to splurge a little. This is a device that they might feel supports that value judgement, and therefore they might be willing to bite the bullet on the initial investment in order to invest in themselves because it is investing in reading.

And I think there are also people that like the concept of carrying, what, maybe 4000 books on a tiny device plus a 4gb Memory Stick. That truly is a full library in the palm of your hand!

On the other hand, all the points you make are very valid. It's just hard to tell whether they are enough to keep popularity down among the general public, or if it will explode due to the benefits and quality of the device even if it's not yet the perfect device. Just like every other electronics categories, products keep getting better and better over the years. But this is a pretty darn good start!
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