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Old 02-08-2007, 08:00 AM   #1
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Anyone see the Sony Reader Commercial?

Of course you haven't, it dosen't exist! Where is the marketing?
Sony has this great device on their hands, and so many people have no clue that such a device is out there. It is sold at a high price, you can buy it at limited locations, and you can only tend to find out about it by accident. They are trying to make this the Ipod for books, but they certainly aren't treating it like that. How many people can tell me what immediately comes to mind if you see a billboard or commercial with silhouettes? Better yet, what comes to mind when you see someone walking down the street with White earbuds in their ears? At this point, how many people either don't have an Ipod, or don't know what an Ipod is? Apple made sure as quickly as they could that everybody knew what their music device was, and did everything they could to make sure as many people owned one as possible.
Now tell me how many people have seen you reading on your device, and ask you what it is? When you tell them, and they never heard of such a thing and find it to be such a great idea....this leaves me scratching my head. Sony seems to be following a losing trend. An Ebook reading device is developed. Company does ridiculously little marketing hoping it catches on through word of mouth. Company launches a bookstore with a very limited collection of books to purchase from. Through lack of sales and no buzz, company abandons product and chalks it up to it not being ready for the masses yet. It seems like they are setting it up to fail, when it has such a potential for success in an untapped market. I'm curious what other mobile readers think.
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Old 02-08-2007, 08:10 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougFNJ
Of course you haven't, it dosen't exist! Where is the marketing?
Sony has this great device on their hands, and so many people have no clue that such a device is out there. It is sold at a high price, you can buy it at limited locations, and you can only tend to find out about it by accident. They are trying to make this the Ipod for books, but they certainly aren't treating it like that. How many people can tell me what immediately comes to mind if you see a billboard or commercial with silhouettes? Better yet, what comes to mind when you see someone walking down the street with White earbuds in their ears? At this point, how many people either don't have an Ipod, or don't know what an Ipod is? Apple made sure as quickly as they could that everybody knew what their music device was, and did everything they could to make sure as many people owned one as possible.
Now tell me how many people have seen you reading on your device, and ask you what it is? When you tell them, and they never heard of such a thing and find it to be such a great idea....this leaves me scratching my head. Sony seems to be following a losing trend. An Ebook reading device is developed. Company does ridiculously little marketing hoping it catches on through word of mouth. Company launches a bookstore with a very limited collection of books to purchase from. Through lack of sales and no buzz, company abandons product and chalks it up to it not being ready for the masses yet. It seems like they are setting it up to fail, when it has such a potential for success in an untapped market. I'm curious what other mobile readers think.
I think you are missing the point...I have constantly seen ads for the reader in the New York Times and I would have to assume that there are ads in other newspapers etc. They are addressing their audience...people who read. The unfortunate fact is that most of the population goes through a year without buying more than a couple of books. They are the same people who live in front of the tv.
The reader's buyer is the person who can't go without a new book every so often, and is most likely addressed through the print media.
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Old 02-08-2007, 09:48 AM   #3
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I've had a couple of complete strangers see me with mine and ask if it was "one of those new Sony Reader things" -- so folks are finding out about them from somewhere, despite the absence of a marketing blitz.

I think the other market they're after is gadget lovers, they're getting a fair amount of exposure from sites like engadget, gizmodo, oh yeah, and good ol' MobileRead.
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:01 AM   #4
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You could liken the marketing challenge to what Tivo faced when it first came out. "Oh, it's a VCR that costs 3X more than a normal VCR." Right now the features, pricing, and content and just not there to take this to a wider audience. When I have a flexible device with a color screen and I can subscribe to the Washington Post and have it "delivered" then I think it's time to push the marketing. Most of my content has been obtained from places other than the Connect Store but your average person is not going to pay $400 to buy over-priced books from a limited store.
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Old 02-08-2007, 10:57 AM   #5
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I have to agree with Natch, I'ave had several "literate looking strangers" approach me and ask if that's one of 'dem Sony Reader Thingies as well.

Most folks thought my iLiad was an ancient PDA.

Rather than spend millions on TV commercial's I'd rather see Sony spend millions making the Reader better. I think one key is for Sony to create a single chip reader. Spend the $$$ and create a single chip with most of the circuitry in it. This will drive down production costs, increase reliability and extend battery life (allowing use of a smaller lighter battery.)
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:09 AM   #6
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I think you are right Scotty, but that will happen in the future -- maybe the next generation -- when there is a wider demand to ofset the chip development and fabrication cost.

I know of only one person that after seeing my Reader went out and bought one for themself that same day. (In time to get the $50 credit.) Many have come up to me and asked "What is that thing?" One called it "a Play Station for big kids."
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:12 AM   #7
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The exact same thing happened with the old Rocket eBook. It started with RCA owning it, then they sold out to a British company called Gemstar (which publishes "TV Guide"). They ran it a few years and had deals with Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others where you could buy all sorts of books and even magazines such as Newsweek, NY Times, etc.

The device has many good features lacking (yet) on the Sony Reader, and everybody I knew who had one loved it. Whenever I read it in a public place, always had people come up and inquire, and without fail, they were very impressed. Several of my friends bought one after seeing mine.

However, except for tiny ads in TV Guide, they never advertised it, promoted it or marketed it in any way whatsoever.

A couple of years ago they notified everybody that they were discontinuing support and there would be no way to buy books any more. Most of us loaded up on as many books as we could afford to keep reading it.

Although Gemstar insisted there was no way to load Gutenberg or other free books into the eBook, I found a way to do it, so am still using it when I want a backlighted device.

So, if they had just advertised and promoted the thing, I'm convinced they could have sold millions.

They used the excuse of giving up because there were not enough sales. Duh!

I certain hope Sony does not make the same stupid mistake.
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:26 AM   #8
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KlondikeGeoff seems to had gotten my point completely. The only reason I found out about the Reader is because of rumors from Engadget and a few sources, and I only found it because I was REALLY looking hard for an E-book Reader. Go to a Borders here in NJ, , there are 3 or 4 stores that sell them in the entire state, and you have to really look for the little kiosk in the store for these. There are also only 2 Sony Stores in NJ, other than that I have maybe 5 places to go to between a physical store and online to find these and be able to purchase one if I was looking and just heard about it. I want to see this thing succeed. That will ultimately create more of a market, and a wider range of book releases if this thing works. People said Itunes wouldnt work out, and music companies would never sell music online, they all seemed to had budged when they saw it work. But Apple had to market heavily to get it to work. I showed my reader to a few people I know that enjoy reading, they never heard of it, and they love the concept. These are people that do watch TV and read the papers. Our readers are capable of downloading Newspaper content, but they limit themselves to a few feeds via RSS. I really feel this thing is capable of something bigger than it has started out as if Sony works to make it work.
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:52 AM   #9
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In looking at the various reviews of the reader, I see two controling concepts...those who evaluate it based on all the things it could be, and it always falls short; it doesn't meet the reviewer's desires and therefore is faulty. Then there are those who evaluate it as simply a book reader, and are very pleased. It makes reading books an easy task, doable over long period of time with minimal problems and easy portablility.

I had a rocket ebook from the first week it was released. It was a novel concept at the time; it was also heavy to hold and tiring to read. It must be somewhere in a box in my garage...I abandoned it before TV guide got their hands on it.

Sony can bearly meet the demand for the reader; why in the world would they spend millions of yen for television ads. Having dealt with numerous product oriented companies, I can tell you that word of mouth is the best advertisement if it is positive; and no million dollar blitz can overcome bad vibes. Who saw the movie "Ishtar"? almost no one.

Out of all the folks who enjoy reading who commented on the reader--how many bought them? I can tell you that three of my friends saw mine and bought one.
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Old 02-08-2007, 12:32 PM   #10
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"Ishtar" Now that was a keeper.

Mitchll is right given the current production levels. Sony just didn't want to be stuck with a large unsold inventory if the Reader flopped. Their problem now is "how big is the market?"

I would expect that Sony would do little more than they have already done in promoting the Reader for this model. They will get more books in the ConnStore and improve the ConnSoftware so they can have a solid base for the release of the next model. Maybe with that model they will expand the advertising.
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:04 PM   #11
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People have been talking about how the "next ipod" will likely be flash based instaad of HDD based. And how the transition from the Mini to the Nano was an example of Apple making the investment to do what was right for the device.

In my opinion, Sony needs to decide if they are a believer in this market or not. If they are they need to decide to do what is needed to be in the market. They need to seize the opportunity not keep making incremental engineering prototype introductions and instead market a true production device.

The limitations of the devices are part of what is holding this market back.

If they keep sticking their toe in, eventually Apple will finally decide its time to come along and show them how to do it.
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Old 02-08-2007, 02:38 PM   #12
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The propaganda we need should not come from a device but from ebooks themselves.
You can't say iPods without iTunes. A symbiosis like that one is rare, even if the desired goal is such. Do not forget that anywhere in Sony's manual, the reader is mentionned as the 'Connect Reader'. More than a device for ebook reading we need a big publishing house. Sony tried with a popular author, not enough, we need Amazon.
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Old 02-08-2007, 06:08 PM   #13
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I saw an ad for the Reader in an email from The Atlantic Monthly, which I hoped indicated that I could start getting the magazine on the Reader, but no. It was just an ad for the Reader. Glad to see it, though.
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Old 02-08-2007, 08:31 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty1024
If they keep sticking their toe in, eventually Apple will finally decide its time to come along and show them how to do it.
Heh, scotty1024, you got that right!
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Old 02-08-2007, 11:43 PM   #15
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I first learned of the Reader from a Fark.com headline. Then I found this place, and started throwing my tuppence all over the place.


The best place to sell a television is *on* television, and the best place to sell an e-book reader is on gadget sites, computer stores, and literary outlets.
I am in fact surprised that Borders agreed to sell the device, considering that I do not believe they sell electronic content in their stores. In the eyes of a bookstore, the Reader could well be competition for their market as much as the wave of the future. Further, Borders is tied to Amazon.com, so there is another reason to not advertise or sell the device--let's see if the Kindle is ever brought to light.


If SONY cannot meet the demand of the market, that might be a good thing. Seems likely that they underestimated the possible success of the device. If they are smart--and depending on the profit margin--they will increase production of then maybe the price will begin to fall. Maybe, just maybe, they can divert energy from the PS3 to this branch. Or, to be cynical, the PS3 will ruin the entire company. ;-

As for not getting buzz or any message across, Popular Mechanics declared that the SONY Reader was one of the coolest technological advances of 2006. If SONY can sort the RSS feed stuff--of which I am ignorant--maybe some PM fans will pick one up.

Thus, I have faith that the device will be around, and will improve.
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