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Old 05-29-2011, 10:14 PM   #1
Rizla
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End of the line for Sony Readers?

Sony to post $3.2-bln annual loss

$3.2 billion annual loss, Nook and Kobo release competing units that murder Sony on price-point, plus, those Nook and Kobos are using the very same pearl screens that we thought were in short supply which was explaining the shortage of 650s. Things are not adding up.

Add to this that Sony is making much money out of e-books (compare with Nook and Kindle), and I just have to wonder if Sony's going to pull the plug. Is it all over? Shame, because Sony E-readers continue to be the best even with the new Nook and Kobo, but if Sony can't lower their prices...
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Old 05-29-2011, 10:18 PM   #2
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Also news came out recently that they are scaling back on the features of the PS4 and their next portable game unit.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:16 AM   #3
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I'm not sure the loss is even close to being blamed on their ebook business. I mean, they had one of the worst natural disasters in history in Japan, and their online infrastructure has been under attack, and hacked, for the last month or so. Sony has egg on their face, but they still make high quality products.

I spent a good deal of time at Best Buy today. I looked at the Nook Classic, Amazon Kindle 3, Kobo, Sony 350, and Sony 950. I already have a Nook Color for reading in the dark, so I was shopping for a new eink device. The build quality of all the Sony ereaders was better than the others, yes, even the Kindle. The screen on the Kindle looked a little more crisp and the page turn buttons seemed extremely comfortable. The Nook Classic dual screen eink with LCD navigation was extremely clunky to me, especially after using my Nook Color. The Kobo felt cheap, but honestly I loved its presentation and user interface. If it had a better screen I would have picked it up I think. I don't like the Kindle keyboard at all. In the end, there was no budget or anything I was following and I purchased 3 Sony 350s. One for me and one for each of my two sons. I'm going to see how I feel with it tonight and tomorrow and if it isn't too small for me I'll keep it. My sons are having fun with their new readers as I type this.
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Old 05-30-2011, 01:56 AM   #4
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Sony has been in the red for over 2 years. But I would be shocked if they got out of the eBook and eReader business.

This brings up an interesting reason why the supply of Sony eReaders might be dwindling. Could it be that Sony can't get the parts because it's late paying their part suppliers. And if you can't meet supply demands then big retail chains will drop your product from it's inventories/websites. Some retailers are very strict on this. Walmart will stop carrying a product if the manufacture can't meet their monthly supply. I know they do that for M&Ms so they don't cut any brand or manufacturer a break.
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Old 05-30-2011, 09:22 AM   #5
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It's certainly the end-of-the-line for the Sony ereaders in the US, with the last major retailer for Sony, Best Buy, closing out their stock. It seems that Sony just can't take the heat in the US marketplace anymore.

I was looking at getting a 650 for my mom, who liked my 350 but found it too small, but luckily they have been almost impossible to find since last year. I say luckily because it looks like the new ST Nook will be much nicer than a 650 or certainly the 350 for her needs. I still need to see some actual reviews from MR members before I buy it, but if Nook got rid of the "side-load ghetto" along already strong epub support, IR touch, dictionary and pearl e-ink screen it should be very nice. All this at a decent price.

The ST Nook also seems to have nice font/font scaling support, which is very poor with Sony x50 software. After having my 350 since last year, this is my biggest gripe. Sometimes I can work around it by using Calibre to tweak the epub, but this an unnecessary pain-in-the-butt. As soon as PRS+ is really stable, I'll give that a try as it fixes this issue, even though it's somewhat scary to flash a 350.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:15 AM   #6
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Well if they do decide to pull out I will be on a mad dash to get a hold of a 950. It's still the best one out there for what I need it for.
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Old 05-30-2011, 12:06 PM   #7
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Just wanted to point out that most of that loss is due to a tax credit adjustment, which is more of an accounting nature as opposed to something which directly impacts cash flows.
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Old 05-30-2011, 08:29 PM   #8
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Think the loss doesn't have anything to do with the ebook readers. Sony has had alot of big issues with their market leaders.

However it might affect the Sony readers, seeing as it's a niche market, and right now they aren't capable of matching supply demand, their stock being removed from most stores, it might follow the old sony model of making a really nice niche product, but not doing enough follow up to make it truly successfull, eventually fading into obscurity.
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Old 05-30-2011, 11:35 PM   #9
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It's just odd. Nook and Kobo can get the pearl screen, so it's not a supply issue causing the shortages of the 650. Add to that the new competition and I have doubts for Sony E-readers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doogman View Post
As soon as PRS+ is really stable, I'll give that a try as it fixes this issue, even though it's somewhat scary to flash a 350.
Prs+ is stable but it won't fix the scaling limitation of the Sony. You can get round it with lrf files, but who wants to use lrfs?
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:25 AM   #10
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Maybe yes, I can't even find the no-light cover for my 650.
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Old 06-03-2011, 05:48 AM   #11
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I have seen the video tour previews for both the new Kobo Touch and Nook Touch readers and trust me on this, if Sony doesn't do something, these guys will MURDER THEM.

Not only do both these new eReaders sell for about HALF what the Sony 650 does, but they also both offer WIFI, as well as a host of features that users have been requesting from Sony for years like user selectable fonts, plus more cross-compatible syncable reader apps for Smart Phones, iPads, and Android Tablets.


It would appear that Sony has only a few choices -

a) Lower prices on existing models, and upgrade their software to offer what features that they can.
(obviously Sony can't magically offer WIFI on the 350 or 650 by a software upgrade, but they can easily match features like user selectable fonts)

b) Quickly offer new models with more features at lower more competitive prices.

c) Try to retain their price premium by offering models with unique features not available on their competitors products (color eInk for example).

d) Walk away from the tough American market and sell only to international markets. (unfortunately the Sony Store can't currently legally sell to these markets)

e) Just give up . . .

Last edited by delphin; 06-03-2011 at 06:15 AM.
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Old 06-03-2011, 06:34 AM   #12
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If Sony do pack up in the ereader market, how much will that affect people who now own a Sony?
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:13 AM   #13
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I have seen the video tour previews for both the new Kobo Touch and Nook Touch readers and trust me on this, if Sony doesn't do something, these guys will MURDER THEM.
Couldn't agree more-- the pricing structure for the Sonys is an artifact from a different era-- and Sony seems well aware of that with the constant "sale" prices on the readers acting as a de facto price drop. Their next 6-inch reader has to match the prices of the Kindle, Kobo, and Nook, and the next 5-inch has to be even less. If they aren't, then it is the end of the line for Sony readers.
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Old 06-03-2011, 08:41 AM   #14
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If Sony do pack up in the ereader market, how much will that affect people who now own a Sony?
Not in the slightest. They will still be able to read their ePub books on other devices, and buy books at any ePub bookstore.
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Old 06-03-2011, 09:43 AM   #15
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If Sony do pack up in the ereader market, how much will that affect people who now own a Sony?
Couldn't it effect everyone who bought from Sony, due to the DRM? I'm a little iffy on the how Adobe DRM works, but...

Sony would probably close their store, so any ADE DRMs purchases would be locked to the registered devices at the time the store closed?

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.
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