Posts Tagged ‘Kindle’

Sony Drops E-Book Prices introducing new ebook Readers

Sony one of the first companies to take a stab at selling electronic books and creating competition for the Amazon Kindle, announced lower prices on new and best-selling e-books and unveiled two new models of its E-book Reader tablets.

The price cut–from $11.99 to $9.99–brings Sony’s e-book pricing in line with those in Amazon’s Kindle Store. But, as in Amazon’s better-stocked storefront, some titles sell for less and others go for more: Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson’s “The Battle For America 2008” costs $16.47 at both the Sony and Amazon shops.

(The New York Times’ story notes that some publishers don’t like these cut-rate prices and may adopt the movie industry’s release-window strategy, delaying the electronic release of some titles until after they’ve debuted in print. I agree with longtime e-book observer David Rothman, who at the TeleRead blog calls this a foolish move: “Good luck, guys. Just whip up the crowd about the e-bestsellers to come and watch those pirate sites grow […] People want their vampire novels and VIP bios now.”)

Sony’s eBook Store also offers access to “over a million” public-domain e-books available for free through Google (Barnes & Noble’s e-book store, reviewed here a few weeks ago, only stocks 500,000 Google-provided public-domain titles).

Sony’s new e-book readers will ship at the end of the month. The PRS-300 Reader Pocket Edition (shown above in “rose,” with navy-blue and silver versions available too) will offer a 5-in. screen and sell for $199–$100 less than Amazon’s popular, larger Kindle 2. The PRS-600 Reader Touch Edition, at $299, includes a 6-in., touch-sensitive screen. Each offers 512 megabytes of internal memory, far less than current Kindles, although the Touch Edition lets you expand that storage with its SD Card and Memory Stick expansion slots. Both use the same basic type of grayscale “e-ink” screens as Kindles and so share such issues as a slow refresh rate compared to regular color displays.

Sony will also ship a 3.0 version of its required Reader software that, unlike the current release, runs in Mac OS X as well as Windows XP and Vista. (OS X and Linux users can also employ a third-party, open-source program called Calibre.) This software is required because Sony’s readers, unlike Kindles, have no Internet connection of their own; you must download your e-book purchases on a computer before copying them to a Reader. Brennan Mullin, vice president of Sony’s Audio and Digital Reading Divisions, said yesterday that the company is working on a reader with wireless access but didn’t provide any other details.

After these updates, Sony’s e-book venture will share one other issue with Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s offerings: mandatory “digital rights management” usage controls. (For example, you can’t loan an e-book bought at Sony’s store unless the recipient has a Sony Reader linked to your own acccount, nor can you give an e-book a as a gift.) That, as I’ve written many times before, turns me off. Having lived through DRM restrictions on purchased music, then paid to get rid of it, I’m not interested in repeating the experience with other purchased digital media.

How about you? Are you waiting for the right kind of hardware and software to start shopping for e-books, or do you first want to see a purchased electronic title come with the same ownership rights as a print copy?

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - August 6, 2009 at 4:11 pm

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Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says removing copies of e-books from Kindles was “stupid

Amazon CEO Mr. Jeff Bezos In a statement on Thursday apologized for removing copies of e-books from customers’ Kindle last week, a move from Amazon that angered consumers and forced Amazon to defend what appeared to be arbitrary and controlling behavior.

kindleAmazon’s targets were the books Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell, two novels about the horrors of repressive societies.

The company deleted the books both from customers’ Kindles and the Kindle store, where they’d been sold. An Amazon spokesman said the books had been added to the store by a company that didn’t have rights to them and were unauthorized copies.

The irony of Amazon came, when AMazon remotely deleted novels about repression. Although the customers were offered refunds, several were upset for it. “Its  like when Barnes & Noble clerk coming to my house when I’m not home, taking a book I bought from them from my bookshelf and leaving cash in its place,” one customer wrote on Amazon’s Web site. “It’s a violation of my property and this is a perfect example of why people (rightly) hate DRM.”

On Thursday, as Amazon reported quarterly revenue that missed Wall Street’s expectations and suffered a drop in share price of nearly 7%, Bezos was contrite.

“This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle,” he wrote on Amazon’s site. “Our ‘solution’ to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.”

Bezos’ post has received over 250 comments so far.

Some customers also reported losing copies of other e-books on their Kindles, including novels by Ayn Rand and some of the Harry Potter books.

Amazon has promised not to remove books from customers’ Kindles again, although it is not clear whether the company will also change how it monitors the Kindle store for unauthorized works.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by admin - July 27, 2009 at 12:29 am

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