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Old 10-10-2006, 08:03 AM   #1
Bob Russell
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MobileRead feedback changes Sony Connect Store pricing

Usually it's only large scale consumer problems that get listened to by a large corporation. They are famous for being unresponsive to customer issues. Yet we have found today that Sony is listening to customers needs even before any actual complaint is filed with the company! Is Sony reinventing itself right before our very eyes? In the e-book world, Sony has certainly demonstrated a fresh new attitude.

Let's review what has happened. MobileRead members like Mobius and Lordvetinari2 had observed that some of the e-books at the Sony Connect online store were being priced too high - just under hardback prices even though the book was available as paperback. In most of these cases, the Connect store pricing had not reflected the paperback availability and so they had not lowered the corresponding e-book price.

At Mobius' urging, we set up a thread yesterday afternoon to highlight the pricing anomalies, with the intent of sending it in to Sony with a plea for consideration. You really don't expect a company like Sony to be especially responsive to customers saying "please change your store prices"!

To our great amazement, we woke up today to find that in direct response to MobileRead's identification of some out of line prices at the Connect store, those e-books have already magically dropped in response to our input. Way to go Sony! Thanks go to Nathan and MelancholyTea for the discovery. And a big thanks to the publishers also, for being flexible enough to allow that to happen. It's the publishers who set the prices, but as we see today, they are apparently willing to work with Sony to get things right!

And let's remember that this is not the first sign that there is something different going on at Sony. They seem to actually care about their customers. For example, in advance of the Sony Reader rollout, they also offered to do a Q&A with the product team for MobileRead readers.

Additionally, for the first time in Sony's history, they also held an event for a select few in the blogosphere, providing personal product time with the Reader before it's release. To our surprise, the Reader product team was not only excited about their product, and wanting to share information with the web community, but they were genuinely interested in our thoughts and input.

We had previously asked the question of whether Sony could return to the good 'ole days of the Walkman era. Obviously we undershot. With the positive response we are seeing to the Sony Reader product itself, and the way the company is demonstrating an interest in its customers concerns, maybe Sony is even reinventing itself into something better than it ever was. If this is their new way of doing business, we can surely look for great things from Sony in the future!
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:18 AM   #2
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That's a good sign. Sony is listening to people who care about ebooks, and their device. So keep up suggesting what Sony can further do about the device. We should create a thread about what we want in the firmware upgrade next time from Sony.
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:16 AM   #3
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A few days ago I thought that it would take a very long time for SONY to persuade me to consider buying ANY product bearing SONY logo. My perception of SONY in the last decade has been that SONY hardware is overpriced, noncompatible with any other system, with proprietary interfaces, using proprietary media and ridden with DRM. The rootkit fiasco was the last drop and I woved to avoid ANY SONY product in the future.

Well... if they manage to drop the price of reader under the magical $299 (end user price, including VAT), I will buy it.

Please understand that I am from a former sicialistic country and there are many people (even households) here with monthly income lower than $300.

My dream machine is the cheapest possible system that features e-ink display. Just barebone black and white e-ink reader running on a couple of AAA batteries.

I do not need charger, touchscreen, fancy interface, expensive accessories, mp3 playing, multitude of formats (txt is all I really need).
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:17 AM   #4
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I don't mean to gainsay you, but I doubt that the publishers had anything to do with it. My guess would be that Sony purchases the content at a certain rate. Most big box stores like BN and Borders buy at 40% off the cover price. The store then determines what price to sell it at. My guess is that when a hardcover is released in paperback, the online store can then purchase content at a lower rate. (ie. the 40% off of the mass market ppb price v. the hardcover price) and conversely sell at a lower rate.

Sony, not being in the publishing industry, doesn't realize that the first Tuesday of every month (for most publishers) and the last Tuesday of the month are release dates and therefore they should be looking at their prices on those Tuesdays to determine whether the mass market or trade paperback has been released and adjust their pricing to reflect the lower procurement costs.
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Old 10-10-2006, 10:59 AM   #5
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yeh but they still won't sell their reader to us europeans, that makes them racist! Therefore they are EVIL! :-P
(Sorry I had to flame them...purely out of habit you understand)
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:26 AM   #6
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This is indeed hopeful. The only other thing they will need to address is the quantity of the content and I would expect they are doing that as well, but it will take time to get the number of books up to a more useable and practical level.
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Old 10-10-2006, 11:50 AM   #7
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Now, if theycan get their supply problem under control and will start delivering to Europe, they could very well be in with a chance to actually provide the "iPod" of ebooks.
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Old 10-10-2006, 12:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by THJahar
yeh but they still won't sell their reader to us europeans, that makes them racist! Therefore they are EVIL! :-P
(Sorry I had to flame them...purely out of habit you understand)
Sony departments are so insular that saying Sony is great or evil is no good. Which is clearly evil, since we are not even allowed to say they are evil anymore. I think Joseph Heller had something to say about this...

Anyway, Sony knows we poor Europeans don't mind waiting for their products, as SCE World Europe VP recently claimed.
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Old 10-10-2006, 01:55 PM   #9
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This is great news, because it means

a) Sony is reading us, and

b) Sony wants to do this one right.

I don't know whose "fault" it is that the e-books are/were more expensive at Sony's store than elsewhere, but it probably doesn't matter as long as they adjust them and try to be more competitive in the future.

So Sony, if you're reading this, the next step would be to assist us in developing tools for your Reader
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Old 10-10-2006, 03:51 PM   #10
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If someone bought the book yesterday and today it is $10+ cheaper, do they get a refund for the difference like they could in a "real" store?
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