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Sony Takes Aim At Amazon's Kindle 273

Posted by timothy
from the critical-mass-is-critical-though dept.
MojoKid writes "Sony recently announced two new eBook readers and has set its sights on tapping into Amazon's Kindle market share. The Sony Reader Pocket Edition and the Reader Touch Edition will come out at the end of the month and will reportedly cost less or the same as the older, more established Kindle. The Pocket Edition has a five-inch display, comes in several colors ('including navy blue, rose and silver') and fits, as one might expect, in a jacket pocket or a purse. It can store about 350 'standard eBooks' and can last about two weeks on a single charge, Sony claims. The Touch Edition is a bit larger, with a six-inch display that, as you'd expect, can be controlled via a touch interface."
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Sony Takes Aim At Amazon's Kindle

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  • by citylivin (1250770) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @05:57PM (#28980125)

    There was a good article in the New Yorker which brings one up to date with the genesis and current state of the kindle, and e-books in general. The author orders one and then proceeds to write an article about his experience. He compares it to paper books, discusses amazons choice of a non free and closed format, and generally reviews it quite well. Having an ad blocker and hating all that is spamazon has kept me out of the loop with these new e-book readers so it was a nice intro to the current scene.

    The article is available online at the following link: Kindle and the Future of Reading [newyorker.com]

  • by Digital_Quartz (75366) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:01PM (#28980187) Homepage

    Or at least, it is compared to the Kindle. Sony will read PDF files and EPUB [idpf.org] files. (EPUB is an open standard; an EPUB file is really a zip file, containing a few XML documents that describe where everything is, and then either XHTML or DAISY/DTBook content).

    It's VERY easy to copy content to the Sony readers (shows up like a USB hard drive, or copy content to an SD card and insert). There's no remote-kill like the Kindle.

    If you're worried about finding DRM free content, check out Baen's Webscriptions [idpf.org] or Fictionwise [fictionwise.com] (look for the "multiformat" books; all DRM free).

    Finally, if you REALLY don't want to go with Sony, there are lots of other good readers [mobileread.com] out there, some of which run Linux, and give you source for the software.

  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:04PM (#28980225)
    It'll probably be tied to some other proprietary Sony technology too, like Memory Stick.
    MSPro and SDHC cards. It also supports ePub, an open ebook format which is quickly becoming the industry standard.
  • Re:DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by wasabioss (1196799) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:07PM (#28980257) Journal

    Unless they decided to dump the DRM, why would anyone on Slashdot want to buy these?

    It looks like you don't follow Sony very well. Recently Sony has so many surprise moves towards open standards. I own a Walkman player and a Sony reader and I have nothing to complain. The Sony PRS-505 Reader I'm owning right now is nothing like the Kindle. It reads txt, *ePub* and PDF natively and even plays MP3 and AAC files, and it even has two memory slots -- one of which is SD-HC -- to put your e-books into the device, on-the-fly. There is a killer software that goes very well with that reader, that is Calibre. The program downloads XKCD, The Register and even Slashdot and puts all of them neatly to my reader every time I connect it to my computer. So just want to let you know that Sony products now, are much better than the popular choices such as the iPod and the Kindle.

  • by greymond (539980) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:10PM (#28980297) Homepage Journal

    "The software also is compatible with both PCs and Apple computers and enable the user to read PDF, Word, BBeB and other text files on the Reader."

    - that right there.

    When I first made my paperback book available in paperback format in early 2007 Amazon offered to convert it (it was in PDF format) to their kindle format for me, I said sure, and almost immediately found out that the formatting didn't work out. I pulled it from the kindle store and asked if I could do the conversion on my own. They said sure, but their format was html. Because of the charts and imagery and the way the text was done in the book there wasn't any easy way of converting the 162 page PDF into essentially a big ass website. I opted to ignore the kindle and since then haven't suffered for it in anyway.

    Now my books are available in PDF format and I'm converting many of the stories into RTF versions for mobile devices. The fact that Sony now has a reader that can view html formated ebooks as well as RTF, Word and PDF files means I soon will have another outlet for my products without me having to do any type of special conversion on my end, which for me means I get another revenue stream, a potentially larger client base and no additional time cost. Win Win.

  • by michael1221988 (1613671) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:25PM (#28980449)
    By jaysonelliot on Aug 6, 2009 (on TFA) "Older, more established Kindle?" The Kindle was released in Nov. 2007 - the Sony Reader was released in September 2006, and was based on the nearly identical Sony Libre which had been on sale in Japan since early 2004. As of December, the Reader had sold 300,000 units in the US alone, while the Kindle was trailing behind at 240,000. I believe you meant to say "â¦the newer, less established Kindle."
  • by Late Adopter (1492849) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:33PM (#28980509)
    If your book isn't page-size agnostic, you're going to get crappy results from PDF support on ANY reader. Nobody has a screen size that's 8.5x11 (maybe your PDF is smaller? paperback sized?). Sony does offer a full-page zoomed-out view (I believe), but that's almost impossible to read. As soon as you start to zoom in and reflow text, you worry about things like charts breaking.

    Bottom line, you should be writing your books in some sort of open semantic mark-up format like EPUB, which was designed for this purpose.
  • Re:DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @06:41PM (#28980581)

    Maybe it's time for you to leap into the past. Sony's readers have supported non-DRM media for quite a while. While the stuff in their store may contain DRM, there's nothing stopping you from loading all of the non-DRM files you can get your hands on. You can even import them into Sony's software for easy addition to your various book collections.

    The fact that it is capable of accessing DRM-restricted media doesn't make the device inherently evil. There's nothing forcing you to make use of that function. You don't even need to load Sony's software if you're that bent by DRM of if you're worried that Sony will pull an Amazon and remove unauthorized files from your device. Just plug in a USB cable and the device mounts as a removable drive. Drag-n-drop your non-DRM media. Or use a memory stick or SD card. The reader never needs to be "exposed" to the internet or Sony's proprietary software.

  • by am 2k (217885) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:00PM (#28980787) Homepage

    Uh, how should they be able to delete something on a device that's not connected to the Internet in any way, not even indirectly?

  • by Aladrin (926209) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @07:43PM (#28981165)

    I'm not sure why you linked to ipdf.org ... I think you meant http://www.webscription.net/ [webscription.net]

    I definitely recommend them, and they have a few different DRM-free formats to choose from. (And no DRM'd formats at all.)

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:05PM (#28981333) Homepage Journal

    http://www.tuaw.com/2009/08/05/app-store-rejections-tied-to-third-party-rights-infringements/ [tuaw.com]

    Apple recently invited a great deal of criticism after it rejected Google's Google Voice application from App Store. At the same time, it pulled third party GV apps leaving their developers without recourse and forced to swallow refund costs that exceeded their initial per-sale earnings. Today Engadget notes Daring Fireball's story of a simple dictionary being censored. Now it looks as if Apple may be targeting the e-book section of App Store.

    I only cut part of the article, feel free to read the rest, but Apple is up to something or maybe not. Considering you can "Kindle" on it through Amazon I am trying to work out why their stance has changed even for people with unquestionable rights to the material they publish

  • $9.99 for an eBook? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rix (54095) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:20PM (#28981449)

    What are they smoking? Paperbacks cost less than that, and I'd expect something with zero production cost to be an order of magnitude cheaper.

    This is just begging for piracy.

  • Re:Yeah, right (Score:3, Informative)

    by initdeep (1073290) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:26PM (#28981497)

    amd it recently had 500,000 epub books added to it's library from Google.
    All of which are available for the grand total of nothing.

    that's right, free.

    there was even a /. article on it.

    but why let facts get in the way of the slashtard mentality.

  • Re:No (Score:2, Informative)

    by moonka (889094) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:37PM (#28981565) Homepage
    That sounds exactly like the Kindle DX (http://amazon.com/kindledx [amazon.com]). While the ebooks Amazon sells have DRM, it reads all sorts of formats, and DX reads pdfs (I don't believe the kindle 2 has one). I have a kindle one and the majority of my reading material is things I have put on it, be it from feedbooks.com, mobileread.com, or other sources.
  • by initdeep (1073290) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @08:39PM (#28981573)

    because they are releasing the ebooks at the same time as the hard back editions of new books, not a year later in paperback.

    so it is significantly cheaper than the $25-40 price range of a hardback book.

    there are also cheaper older books available as well.

    and over 500,000 free classics.

    and of course there's always calibre and torrent sites with LIT format books.

  • by wiredog (43288) on Thursday August 06, 2009 @09:40PM (#28981939) Journal

    The Kindle runs on Linux. Just because a device runs on Linux doesn't mean it's DRM free.

  • by The Faywood Assassin (542375) <benyjr@yah o o . ca> on Thursday August 06, 2009 @10:33PM (#28982209) Homepage
    Normally with Sony, I'd agree with you. However, the Sony Reader supports more diverse formats than the Kindle.
    Although Sony doesn't officially support it, there is software out there that will let you make your own books in BBeB format.
    Calibre (http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/) is one that comes to mind.
    Beny
  • Re:And the DRM? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dravik (699631) on Friday August 07, 2009 @02:35AM (#28983351)
    Sony's readers support multiple non-DRM formats. PDFs are included in that.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 07, 2009 @02:41AM (#28983385)

    I'll consider getting another eBook device when they make it possible to lend an eBook the way I can lend a physical book.

    I want to be able to lend Kindle books... commercial, protected, bestseller-type books... to a person with a Sony reader. I want to be able to replace my Sony reader three years down the road with whatever eBook reading device appeals to me and move all my books to the new device.

    Well, you can quite easily strip the DRM out of most kindle books (not the topaz formatted ones, but there aren't too many of those, thankfully). A google for "mobidedrm" would probably be a place to start ... :)

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@NOspAm.world3.net> on Friday August 07, 2009 @07:20AM (#28984735) Homepage

    It is the hardware. Reading PDFs for technical books is not really practical on current eBook readers, because it takes a couple of seconds to refresh the screen.

    It's fine for novels where you read from cover to cover, but if you need to flip back and forth, skim or scroll then two seconds is too much.

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