Originally Posted by GA Russell
I'm guessing that American folks who enjoy reading are indeed curious. I also suspect that you are indeed correct when you say that the public isn't curious, because the public doesn't read many books.
Folks who are the Kindle / Kobo / Nook / Sony e-reader target consumers are those who read (and buy) 2 or 3 books a month. In another thread, it was said Amazon believes this represents about 30 million Americans. While this will skew to a better-healed income bracket, it does cross many socio-economic groups -- the commonality being dedicated readers. It's really hard to believe close of 100% of this group is not aware of Amazon as a viable source of books -- by price, by convenience, by selection ... and also therefore have an awareness of the Kindle (you can't log into Amazon without being smacked front-and-centre by Kindle info).
Sony needs to be in this game: reaching 100% of the dedicated readers in every market it considers important. In the US, that is that 30 million or so Americans. Sony is correct in this point: an e-reader is not a "typical gadget" that has a life-cycle from premium to mass to bottom-scraping knock-offs. The challenge for Sony is it isn't reaching the full audience -- but it does reach a lot through book stores and big box electronic outlets.
An e-reader needs to deliver content and -- unlike TVs and DVD players and computers -- the content is tied to the e-reader and its ability to source DRM books. As much as ePub folks try to characterize ePub as "open", it isn't. B&N uses a credit card to vouch for the DRM; Sony and Kobo books require logging in to separate systems to "protect" your investment.
Here's where the rubber hits the e-reader: when new titles come to market, where do most of those 30 million Americans go to check out the best-sellers? Amazon, or Best Buy? By attrition, over time, Amazon has this upper-hand. B&N and Borders and Indigo and Waterstones have a similar advantage ... but that only puts them on par with Amazon. And Sony is only another
choice to play content -- Nook, Kobo, Pocketbook, Astak ... Sony isn't exclusive or even first choice.
Sony's silence throughout 2010 -- which has seen extraordinary upheavals in market offerings -- has left it in the sidelines. It simply must respond, and soon, to stay in the game. Yes, outside of the US its prospects are stronger ... but even there it has not extended product capability an iota this year. If Sony has a magic bullet, surely it must load and pull that trigger very soon or, like the tree falling in the forest with no one around, the shot will not be heard.