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Old 12-29-2005, 11:07 AM   #1
Brian
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Sony to launch "iPod for e-books" at CES

According to Businessweek Online, at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on January 4, 2006, Sony will take a second swing at e-books by announcing a new e-book reader and online download service aimed at the U.S.

Sony (SNE), which would provide few details about the e-reader, also has agreements with at least three major publishers to sell digital book downloads on its Sony Connect online store -- much the way Apple (AAPL) sells music and video at its iTunes Music Store.Back in 2000, a bunch of e-book readers hit the market, only to tank because the technology didn't adequately duplicate the book-reading experience.

BusinessWeek also reports that the device will be similar to the Librie, retail for $300-$500 USD, and will utilized E Ink technology. This time around, Sony has partnered with Random House, Simon & Schuster, and HarperCollins to sell e-books through Sony's online e-book portal.

With the Hanlin and iRex Iliad also debuting soon, it looks like 2006 might be the year e-books and e-readers are reinvented and exposed to a much larger audience.

Read the full article here.

Related: iRex next-gen e-book reader based on e Ink, A Librie for the rest of us
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Old 12-29-2005, 12:48 PM   #2
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I have to say I'm still skeptical of this. Sony hasn't endeared anyone with it's horrid DRM schemes in the past, nor with it's proprietary crap, though this device takes SD this time around. They really put one of the last nails in the coffin with their rootkit installation on CD's.

I want to believe that this time around they learned, but the past always comes back to haunt us. I'm hoping the iRex is the e-book reader to beat this year.
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Old 12-29-2005, 01:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pitcher23
I have to say I'm still skeptical of this. Sony hasn't endeared anyone with it's horrid DRM schemes in the past, nor with it's proprietary crap, though this device takes SD this time around. They really put one of the last nails in the coffin with their rootkit installation on CD's.

I want to believe that this time around they learned, but the past always comes back to haunt us. I'm hoping the iRex is the e-book reader to beat this year.
I don't think you're alone in your skepticism..

I also think the PSP will play an important role in Sony's e-book strategy, with the e-book content that will be available at Sony Connect also being offered for the PSP at PSP Connect.
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Old 12-29-2005, 01:47 PM   #4
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I wouldn't touch a Sony e-book reader either, unless it was the only game in town. Their history with customer care and DRM issues makes that pretty risky, or at least a pain in the neck (if you go to another device to read ebooks, for example). I could see myself buying ebooks for way too much in the first place, and then for one reason or another they are worthless and unusable in a couple years down the road. For the time being I'm sticking with eReader and maybe even an Iliad one of these days.
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Old 12-29-2005, 02:28 PM   #5
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I've always been leery of Sony since the Betamax days; Betacam confirmed my suspicions, and MiniDisc drove them into the ground. The rootkit fiasco this year was the final nail in the coffin for me.

The ultimate success or failure of a product like this will be how easy it is to transfer existing content to it. Contrary to what Napster seems to think, most of the content on iPods is NOT downloaded, either legally or illegally.

Aside from backing away from supporting only ATRAC on their portable music players, I haven't seen any evidence that Sony has learned from their marketing failures. Heck, if you can't make a device like this a success in a technophile country like Japan...
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Old 12-29-2005, 03:39 PM   #6
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Heh! I forgot all about minidisc. I still have a Sony minidisc recorder component and a walkman minidisc player. Somewhere in a box in my garage I suppose. Probably ought to sell it on eBay. But I don't know that I blame Sony for that one. I think of that one as simply a technology that didn't catch on.
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Old 12-29-2005, 03:53 PM   #7
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Interesting and intriguing. Not so much because I'd ever want to buy another Sony product after all the recent DRM debacles, but rather because Sony hasn't given up despite their obvious failure to successfully market the Sony Librie. In my opinion what went wrong with the Librie was a) it's restrictive DRM and b) limited availability (of both, the reader and content). So is Sony going to change any of their DRM strategies? I highly doubt it. Instead, they will probably try to convince consumers that DRM isn't all that evil by getting as many publishers as possible on their side to increase the availability of content. And herein lies a spark of hope: Once publishers become aware of the e-book market, they might as well consider supporting other, less-restrictive e-book formats.
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Old 12-30-2005, 12:53 AM   #8
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There's a good article covering Sony's upcoming (re)entry into the e-book market at Technology Review entitled Can Sony Make E-Books Succeed?. Wade Roush, the author of the article, is a former webmaster for Rocket E-book maker NuvoMedia. It's worth a read.
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Old 12-30-2005, 12:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobR
I forgot all about minidisc. I still have a Sony minidisc recorder component and a walkman minidisc player. Somewhere in a box in my garage I suppose. Probably ought to sell it on eBay. But I don't know that I blame Sony for that one. I think of that one as simply a technology that didn't catch on.
My ex-girlfriend got mine when we separated, and still uses her car player. I liked the format, but it was rushed to market (the first machines had a horrible implementation of ATRAC), and badly marketed. I also think the rise of affordable CD-R/RW drives drove the final stake in.
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Old 12-30-2005, 12:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Brian
There's a good article covering Sony's upcoming (re)entry into the e-book market at Technology Review entitled Can Sony Make E-Books Succeed?. Wade Roush, the author of the article, is a former webmaster for Rocket E-book maker NuvoMedia. It's worth a read.
Interesting piece. I especially liked this line: "In my opinion, the technology didn't tank because the devices didn't simulate real books well enough; it tanked because of Yuen's mismanagement and because leading New York book publishers weren't ready to release their content electronically at realistic prices."

I do think Gemstar was ahead of its time though, but just as the acceptance of CDs cleared the way for mass-market acceptance of DVDs, I think the iPod may well have created a consumer environment more receptive to the ebook concent if it is well executed.

I'm currently reading Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy. I can buy the 2nd and 3rd books in hardcover for $20 each, in trade for $15 each, or in mass market paperback for about $7 each. Or, fictionwise sells them for $3.97. Now *that* is tempting.
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Old 05-12-2006, 11:00 AM   #11
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Oh dear. You might want to get a spam-device -immediate- or this forum is soon going to overflow with junk.
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