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Old 12-04-2008, 11:00 AM   #1
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Post Sony Talks Sales Numbers

Sony Releases Numbers On PRS Sales

The Wall Street Journal has an article on PRS Sales numbers. Sales numbers have been a hot topic of discussion around here, but scarce as hen's teeth to actually come by, so with no further ado:
Quote:
This week, though, Sony for the first time disclosed that it sold 300,000 units of its Reader Digital Book globally since the device launched in October 2006.

Steve Haber, senior vice president of personal mobile and imaging division for Sony, says the unit growth is above Sony’s expectations.

[snip]

In addition, Sony said over three million e-books have been downloaded to the devices in that time.

“[That number is] strictly books, not to be confused with newspapers or blogs,” Haber says, implicitly referring to Sony rival, Amazon.com’s Kindle, which can wirelessly download newspapers and periodicals.

[snip]

The company is also boosting the number of books it sells through its online e-book store to 100,000 by the end of the year from 57,000 currently.
Apparently the time-line for boosting the booklist has slipped a bit from what they were expecting to do last month.

The rest of the article is mostly a re-hash of what is, to us, old news (doubtless for the uninitiated amongst the WSJ's readership) and includes a quick primer on how the PRS is different from the Kindle.

But buried in the second to last paragraph is this tidbit: "... Sony says it plans to launch a wireless e-book device, though it won’t specify when." That's a public repetition of what they told us in a conference call just before the PRS700 released, so I think we can take it as a good sign for those longing for a wireless PRS.



So, what are your thoughts on the sales numbers? Higher than you expected? Lower? About what you thought?

Anyone care to venture an opinion as to what it might mean for the future of the PRS line, and e-reading devices in general?
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:13 AM   #2
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That's exactly on track with what I expected from Sony.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:13 AM   #3
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Average sales of fewer than 400 readers a day: not much of a business, yet, is it?

"Over three million" ebooks sold to 300,000 owners of Readers: that's a pretty pathetic 10 books each. Curious. Either people are using these devices mostly to read public domain books, pirated ebooks, or their own documents. Or else they just aren't using them much.

"The company is also boosting the number of books it sells through its online e-book store to 100,000 by the end of the year from 57,000 currently." Sure. Right. I'm still waiting.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:29 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivaldirules View Post
"Over three million" ebooks sold to 300,000 owners of Readers: that's a pretty pathetic 10 books each. Curious. Either people are using these devices mostly to read public domain books, pirated ebooks, or their own documents. Or else they just aren't using them much.
Or purchase them from other retailers that Sony can't track.

Even then I don't see how you can the 10 book average can be seen as "pathetic". Taking an average number of books sold per reader is almost entirely meaningless as a metric as it doesn't account how long people have owned the device.

It was only launched in Europe a couple of months ago and I don't think it was being pushed at retail in the US until recently either (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). Any average of purchased books is going to be dragged way, way down by those who simply who haven't owned the device long enough to read more than a handful of books. I know I haven't.
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:47 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivaldirules View Post
Average sales of fewer than 400 readers a day: not much of a business, yet, is it?

"Over three million" ebooks sold to 300,000 owners of Readers: that's a pretty pathetic 10 books each. Curious. Either people are using these devices mostly to read public domain books, pirated ebooks, or their own documents. Or else they just aren't using them much.

"The company is also boosting the number of books it sells through its online e-book store to 100,000 by the end of the year from 57,000 currently." Sure. Right. I'm still waiting.
I think maybe their data isn't covering other sources of eBooks. Although, I have had my book nearly a year and have purchased approx 228 books from the Sony library, not counting Books On Board & Fictionwise plus several hundred free downloads from various sources.

Either a lot of people aren't reading (not likely) or...their figures are a little off?
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Old 12-04-2008, 11:58 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivaldirules View Post

"Over three million" ebooks sold to 300,000 owners of Readers: that's a pretty pathetic 10 books each. Curious. Either people are using these devices mostly to read public domain books, pirated ebooks, or their own documents. Or else they just aren't using them much.
The iPod/iTunes bought songs is not that great either comparing it to iPods/songs per iPod

I used the 500 for several months and I never bought a book from Sony outside of the 50$ I got for free with the cc deal and now with the 700 I do not expect to buy from them either. Hard to see what would make me buy from them and not from BoB or Fictionwise.


My experience with ebooks from Amazon - pre Kindle, though I do not expect them to treat Kindle owners better if push comes to shove - made me treat any drm-e that I cannot convert as disposable, so I ain't spending more than 3-4$ on such and even then I would do it rarely. Better buy print, unless the price difference is truly large

Last edited by Liviu_5; 12-04-2008 at 12:00 PM.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:07 PM   #7
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I'm surprised the Sony sales of books is as high as it is. Quick check of my laptop elibrary shows over 600 distinct books, articles and short stories. 4 came from Sony. All others came from other sites that were just plain better to deal with and I'm sure have no particular reason to call up Sony to report sales figures.

(And each of those 4 books has typos and bad page formatting. 'Course they were picked up oh so long ago when the store was just starting out but...hey, first impressions and all. Now there are so many other options for books that I have no desire to even look at the store. Picking up a new PRS this weekend and not even sure that will get registered. Honestly can't think of a reason to sync it to the supplied software.)
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:20 PM   #8
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I'm not at all interested in a wireless PRS - I always reformat an ebook on my PC (format convert, adjusting font size etc) before sending it to the device.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:24 PM   #9
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Released in November 2007, the Kindle has sold more than a quarter million units. Its texts account for 10 percent of Amazon's book sales despite the fact that 200,000 titles -- a tiny fraction of the books offered on the site -- are available in digital form.

The above is from CNN. After a year the Kindle is quickly catching up to 2 year old Sony PRS. I think 2009 is going to be an even better year for readers. More people are learning about them, Amazon works harder than Sony ever did to get the public aware of how great readers can be. Its like the beginning of DVD. It took time but VHS is almost completely gone and sales numbers are greater than box office sales. E-books will over-run p-books in a few more years. They just have to get more product.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:27 PM   #10
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Its like the beginning of DVD. It took time but VHS is almost completely gone and sales numbers are greater than box office sales. E-books will over-run p-books in a few more years. They just have to get more product.
which sounds great but it will be sad to see all those high street book stores closing.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:29 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivaldirules View Post
Average sales of fewer than 400 readers a day: not much of a business, yet, is it?

"Over three million" ebooks sold to 300,000 owners of Readers: that's a pretty pathetic 10 books each. Curious. Either people are using these devices mostly to read public domain books, pirated ebooks, or their own documents. Or else they just aren't using them much.

"The company is also boosting the number of books it sells through its online e-book store to 100,000 by the end of the year from 57,000 currently." Sure. Right. I'm still waiting.
That 3 million books sold probably includes the 100 classics ($199 value) that is given as promotion for all new PRS models.
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:52 PM   #12
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Released in November 2007, the Kindle has sold more than a quarter million units. Its texts account for 10 percent of Amazon's book sales despite the fact that 200,000 titles -- a tiny fraction of the books offered on the site -- are available in digital form.

The above is from CNN. After a year the Kindle is quickly catching up to 2 year old Sony PRS. I think 2009 is going to be an even better year for readers. More people are learning about them, Amazon works harder than Sony ever did to get the public aware of how great readers can be. Its like the beginning of DVD. It took time but VHS is almost completely gone and sales numbers are greater than box office sales. E-books will over-run p-books in a few more years. They just have to get more product.
I believe what Amazon has said is more than 10% of the sales of titles available in Kindle format are sold in Kindle format not 10% of all books sales
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Old 12-04-2008, 01:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vivaldirules View Post
Average sales of fewer than 400 readers a day: not much of a business, yet, is it?

"Over three million" ebooks sold to 300,000 owners of Readers: that's a pretty pathetic 10 books each. Curious. Either people are using these devices mostly to read public domain books, pirated ebooks, or their own documents. Or else they just aren't using them much.

"The company is also boosting the number of books it sells through its online e-book store to 100,000 by the end of the year from 57,000 currently." Sure. Right. I'm still waiting.
I'd look at the average installed base of products, assuming. One could assume the average installed base has been 100K or 150K which would be 20 or 30 books per unit or in rough terms a book a month per unit over the two years.

Last edited by eal; 12-04-2008 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 12-04-2008, 02:58 PM   #14
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We still have no independent verification of any numbers - whether from Sony or Amazon - so I don't believe any of them. I am not surprised, however, that Sony is giving out this information now, since with the announced shortage of Kindles it should try to sell as many of its own readers as it can. My daughter just pointed out to me that in the North-South passageway under Grand Central Station here in Manhattan, the tiled walls are covered with ads for the Sony reader.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:09 PM   #15
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My daughter just pointed out to me that in the North-South passageway under Grand Central Station here in Manhattan, the tiled walls are covered with ads for the Sony reader.
Those must be the same ads that were papered throughout Washington DC's Gallery Place Metro for months...

I think Sony stands a good chance of making a lot of holiday sales that would go to the M.I.A. Kindle... although I'd also bet a great deal of them would be for people who don't know the difference between the two, and will be "surprised" when their new device won't wirelessly download Amazon content...

On the other hand, the data does suggest that most reader users are getting their content from sources other than Sony and Amazon... so in the long run, it probably doesn't matter. Sony being considered by many to be a better-made device, it could outstrip the Kindle in the long run. I'd actually consider that a good thing, if a Kindle sales failure (or Sony success) prompted Amazon to open its e-book titles to other devices/formats.
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