Yesterday, Sony announced a new eReader. Most are wondering why they are even trying. Their reader is more expensive than the MS-BN NOOK and Amazon Kindle. The added features are not that interesting. The Sony mind-share in the eBook space is low. I know a lot of people who read eBooks, I don’t know anyone who uses Sony.
Four years ago when Amazon launched the Kindle, Sony was the market leader. Granted it was a very small market but the Sony Reader was the device. I had one. I used it. But Sony never followed up with a string eBookstore. They never seemed to understand that the market is not selling devices for the sake of the machine – but selling devices to capture customers to one’s store to sell the books.
The same thing happened to Sony in music. They were first in with the MP3 and portable music devices. But never were able to corner the market. Apple came along with the iPod and the iTunes store. Before Sony would wake up, Apple owned digital music.
So what is the reason for Sony’s new eReader? They don’t have the retail space at all. They need to invest in their store if that is what they want.
Maybe it is the partnership with Overdrive and the libraries? Overdrive has over 90% marketshare in library eBook sales. But, 3M and B&T have entered the market and are taking aware market share. 3M provides eReaders for their libraries (the system is also compatible with Sony and MS-BN NOOK). This has been received very well by the libraries. Maybe that is what Sony is aiming for with these new readers?
One never knows, but not much changed yesterday when Sony made their announcement. People still are waiting for the 7″ Apple tablet; the new Kindle Fire, Google’s Nexus 7 and even the Kobo Touch upgrade or MS-BN NOOK upgrade. Sony is very seldom mentioned.
But it is the eBook world — things change every day.