The first question I have is, "What business is Sony in?" With Apple the answer is very simple, "hardware." iTunes is provided simply to move iPods off the shelf. Apple Computers have historically charged far less for the same class of software that MicroSoft and others have asked an arm and a leg for.
Sony, unlike Apple, has a leg in both camps -- hardware and content. Their ownership of Sony/Columbia Records (music), film studios, and television production companies places them as a major player in the content creation business. They are also involved with the distribution through such venues as movie theaters (although they may have sold these by now) and cable networks such as "The Game Show Network."
When Sony sells music players it provides software tools (as noted of questionable quality at times) to create music in its format, with the Reader no such tools were provided. In their place was the ability to use existing RTF, TXT, and PDF files. This is not enough and Sony should provide the tools to create quality LRF files that utilize all of the features of the Reader.
The problems with the CONNECT bookstore seem to be one of gross understaffing and misapplication of critical resources. Exactly, they do not have the staff and support systems in plave to monitor the ebook market and respond to changes in a rapid (if ever) way. Prices are out of line, prices are reduced and then increased again, and sale prices are displayed and then changed at checkout are but a few examples.
Yes it was a new offering, yes it had been tested in Japan before, yes there are bugs, yes they rushed it out for the 2006 Christmas season, maybe they can correct shortly.