Archive for October 3, 2008

Sony Reader Revolution Cam #2

October 3, 2008

At 8:46PM EDST:

A crowd! This is New York City.

That Sony Reader is giving off light! He must have the light wedge cover!

Sony Reader PRS-700: Part One

October 3, 2008

As everyone probably knows by now, last night Sony held a press event at the Library Hotel in New York City for a third model of its successful Sony Reader.

I was there.

Before I arrived, I made a point to stop at DataVision to see the Sony Reader Revolution promotion in full-tilt action. This is speed-reading memory expert Dave Farrow, sitting in DataVision’s window:


Because one rotten blurry picture isn’t enough, here’s a second of that:


Another angle:


I wouldn’t use this next one at all except it provides an interesting statistic:


If you squint and lift up your monitor to the correct angle, you’ll find out the bottom right says: Page 2,829 of Day 2. He’ll be in that window for thirty days. He’s sleeping in that window too! There’s a shelf bed!

From time to time, he takes a break. Sometimes, a member of the general public is invited to take his place in the window to do some reading. See Sony Reader: The Revolution Is Televised. The book titles and pages that are read are scrupulously logged by a Reader Revolutionary.

I was glad to see some concurrent promotion at DataVision:


With pictures of the Sony Reader!

I moved on to the press event. Before it began, I was met by security for a full body cavity search pointed out by name by one of the Sony PR experts to Jim Malcolm, Director of Corporate Marketing for Mobile Lifestyle Products.

The Reader Revolution is his idea.

And he had read some of my blog posts. Particularly this one: Sony Reader Revolution: FAIL! He admitted to me he investigated that and it was a FAIL. Such things happen.

What I saw in front of DataVision was the excitement I’d expected — to a lesser degree — at Borders. There were eager Reader Revolutionaries outside introducing people to the Sony Reader and getting them to actually try it for themselves. It’s the kind of hands-on that’s not possible at the Borders vertically locked-down kiosks.

Malcolm told me that they’d done print ads. (Look on Flickr and you’ll see a ton of Sony Reader ads photographed.) Now he wanted to do something new that would really generate excitement and get people to try the Sony Reader in ways not possible with store displays. Hence the Reader Revolution.

Sony has hired a thousand people to fan out at various locations at various times to be Reader Revolutionaries. The goal made my jaw drop: they want to have two million people try the Sony Reader.

What’s particularly exciting about the DataVision location is that jillions of tourists pass by there. Many of them might have already heard of the Sony Reader but have never seen one in person, because it’s not yet in their country. With the Sony Reader launching in The Netherlands and Germany next year, some of those tourists will already be miniature experts on it and generate word-of-mouth. The impact of the Reader Revolution program will be international.

Malcolm regaled me with tales of the Sony Reader being used by his family. One had his son bringing it to school, only to have his teacher confiscate it, telling him “no electronics” were allowed. He finally persuaded her to let him demonstrate it and she was shocked to find out it was a book.

Then someone entered our proximity and was told it was Me. And that person was none other than Steve Haber, He Who Is Now eBooks At Sony:


(I warned you it would be blurry!)

Haber made it a point to tell me he had read the post in which I called for his firing(!). I stood my ground. He stood his. Malcolm summoned Security to eject me.

He explained that he took over the Sony Reader about a year ago. Since then, he’s consolidated all of its parts under one roof. Hardware, software, and the eBook Store were all separate (and I know firsthand just how separate that eBook Store was!). Now they’re all together under his leadership. He explained that only now would we begin to see the results of the work he’s been doing, such as the Reader Revolution and tonight’s event.

I foamed at the mouth explained how I thought it was terrible that the abominable Kindle had stolen the eBook attention from the Sony Reader. He has a longer view of things (and, of course, he also knew what he was about to unveil! Don’t ever play poker against him.). He also has plans. He is very serious about the Sony Reader. Sony is now very serious about the Sony Reader too. So things will be happening.

I really pressed the issue of how I wanted to see the eBook Store opened to writers who want to do direct publishing and how tools are needed for them to create ePub (or even BBeB) files. He said all that is in the works.

I came away thinking, He Has A Vision.

Jeff Bezos, hear that knock on the door? It’s Sony and Steve Haber delivering your doom!

Then it was time for the event.

Prior rumors pointed to WiFi and a Mac OS X version of their eLibrary software.

Sad to say, neither rumor panned out.

A half hour before the announcement, I already knew it was the PRS-700. Because someone was carrying a cardboard shipping box with that designation on it!

Too bad I didn’t have a way to broadcast that leak!

The announcement was made by Steve Haber, accompanied by a slideshow on a large flat widescreen monitor.

First he gave some context:

– Present with Sony tonight were five dying dinosaur print publishers (I will always refer to them as that!): Random House, Hachette, HarperCollins, Harlequin, and Penguin

– As I mentioned before, all Sony Reader operations are now under one roof

– Sony’s man from Japan has also relocated San Diego

– The Sony Reader will shortly be in three thousand sales outlets in the U.S., in time for this holiday season

-The Reader Revolution campaign was mentioned, with its staggering goal of two million hands-on demonstrations

– The eBook Store is getting a makeover to debut later this month

– Wireless was mentioned, but I’ll get to that later

And then the new Sony Reader itself was unveiled.

I have to say at this point I felt like I had slipped into an alternate universe. When the first image of the new PRS-700 was shown on-screen, my immediate reaction was, Where are the buttons?!

And then Haber mentioned the touchscreen. What?! Touchscreen?! Where did that come from?! And a Sony representative demonstrated paging through an ebook by swiping her finger on the screen itself!

And then Haber mentioned Search and Notes, and those were demonstrated. Search?! Notes?! Where did those come from?! (Flashback to the early days of the Sony Reader. I am in SonyStyle molesting it. A member of the general public mentions that it lacks Search and Notes. I say, “That’s why it’s called the Sony Reader and not the Sony Scholar.”)

And to top it all off, he mentioned the sidelighting and that was demonstrated!

I still couldn’t believe what I was seeing. None of it was what I had expected — none of it was what I’d ever imagined.

And things were going to get even weirder once I had my own hands on the new Sony Reader!

Come back tomorrow for Part Two

Go to Part Two.

Other Sony Reader posts today:

To Steve Haber Of Sony, Memo #1
Live Sony Reader Video Embed Doesn’t Work!
Sony Reader Twitter FAIL!
Pictures: Sony Reader PRS-700
Sony Reader Revolution Cam #1
Sony Reader Revolution: The Press Release
New Sony Reader PRS-700: The Press Release
Sony Reader: The Revolution Is Televised
Sony eBook Store: A $2.38 eBook!

Sony eBook Store: A $2.38 eBook!

October 3, 2008

I’m taking a break from doing my Sony Reader event posts and wound up at Sony’s eBook Store.

Where my jaw dropped when I found this as number fifty-one on the Bestseller List:

Click = big

Update: Yes, there was a link to the list. Which is no longer pertinent. The list changes as sales change, hence it no longer pointed to the book in question on that list. Here is the direct link to the eBook itself.

Sony Reader: The Revolution Is Televised

October 3, 2008

I’ve spent more time than I thought I ever could fascinated by the two webcams Sony has set up at DataVision here in New York City.

Remember this post? — Sony Reader Revolution: FAIL!

Sony admitted that specific Borders event was FAIL.

Outside of DataVision is what the Reader Revolution is all about. Check out this sleek action!

Three young women. I saw them arrive. They all pulled out their cellphones to tell friends what they were seeing!

One of the Reader Revolutionaries moves in.

Yes! One of them scores some hands-on Sony Reader action!

Meanwhile, Dave Farrow continues with his Sony Reader-thon.

Huh? Where’s the third young woman?

Dave Farrow is meeting her! In the window!

She’s taken his place to read while he takes a break! (Thanks, Maureen! The inside cam has sound!)

Break over, Farrow is back. Look at him use the proper thumb paging technique!

Then the Reader Revolutionary gets another person to try the Sony Reader!

And another!

And yet another!

This is WIN!

New Sony Reader PRS-700: The Press Release

October 3, 2008

More groundwork for later today.


Sony eBook Store Offers Enhanced Functionality

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 2, 2008- With the latest edition of Sony’s Reader Digital Book, announced today, readers can truly let their fingers do the walking.

An interactive touch screen display allows for the most intuitive digital reading experience to date. The new model, PRS-700, will join the PRS-505 model in the Reader family to give consumers a choice of how they would like to read electronically.

Svelte and stylish, the newest Reader still sports the dimensions of a slimmed down paperback book. The textured black casing and soft black cover contribute to its envy-inspiring design. And, at about 10 ounces, it’s the perfect way to carry all of your favorite books with you wherever you go.

A sizeable six-inch display with touch screen capability allows booklovers to flip pages with the slide of a finger. In addition, readers can easily search terms within a document or book, create notes using the virtual keyboard and highlight text with the included stylus pen.

Five pre-set text sizes are available so readers can find the one most comfortable for them and for those who need an even closer look, zooming in is as easy as tapping the screen.

The device still features high-resolution, high contrast electronic paper display technology which provides a reading experience very much akin to ink-on-paper. The result is crisp text and graphics that are highly readable, even in bright sunlight. For times when ambient light is not available, Sony is the first to offer a built-in LED reading light.

Expanded memory offers enough capacity to store about 350 average digital books. Using optional removable Memory Stick Duo media or SD memory cards, this Reader can hold literally thousands of books and documents.

“Readers now have another choice in digital books,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division. “This new model has the eye-popping design and intuitive functionality that people have come to expect from Sony.”

Family Resemblance

Like its close relative the PRS-505model, the new 700 model uses minimal power and can sustain up to 7,500 pages of continuous reading on a single battery charge. It supports multiple file formats for eBooks, personal documents and music. With the included eBook Library 2.5 PC software, you can easily transfer Adobe PDF documents with reflow capability, Microsoft Word documents, BBeB files and other text file formats to the Reader. The device can store and display EPUB files and work with Adobe Digital Editions software, opening it up to almost a limitless quantity of content.

Improved Sony eBook Store

Sony’s eBook store will also have a new face. This month, a re-designed page layout with more prominent book cover art will improve the overall visual appeal of the site. A streamlined checkout process along with updated search and discovery make finding and purchasing an eBook a breeze.

Pricing and Availability

The new Reader will be available next month for about $400. It will come complete with a USB cable, eBook Library PC companion software and a color-coordinated, protective soft cover. Both the PRS-505 and the PRS-700 models along with their optional accessories can be purchased direct through, at more than 40 Sony Style® stores nationwide and at authorized retailers across the country.

I’ll say something about all this too.

Sony Reader Revolution: The Press Release

October 3, 2008

I’m laying the groundwork for my posts later today.


Window-dwelling “Reader” to Help Contribute eBooks to Schools

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 1, 2008 -To help combat a general decline in reading in the U.S., particularly among young people, Sony is spearheading a so-called “Reader Revolution” to spark the imaginations of young readers and engage the public in digital reading.

In conjunction with National Book Month, the company will unleash thousands of “Reader Revolutionaries” throughout October and beyond at various retail outlets and at special events around the country to help people experience reading on Sony’s Reader Digital Book firsthand.

Starting today, Sony is beginning an extended “read-in” with two-time world record-holder Dave Farrow who will serve as a designated reader in a Manhattan storefront, reading digital books on the Reader around the clock for 30 days. For each page he reads, Sony will provide an eBook library of 100 classic titles to a school or learning institution. The goal is to give 15 million eBook titles by the end of the program. The first 100 schools to start downloading their selected classic titles will also receive and education pack of five Reader Digital Books.

Arts, education and technology are of particular interest to Sony and the company is pleased to support many organizations and events related to these topics on local, national and international levels.

“Young people are spending great deal of time interacting with digital content online and on portable devices,” said Mike Fasulo, Sony Electronics’ Chief Marketing Officer. “With the latest technology, we now have the opportunity to offer books in a digital form that will capture their imaginations with literature just as we’ve done with movies, music, and games.”

According to a 2007 National Endowment of the Arts study1, Americans are spending less time reading. Nearly half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure and reportedly their reading comprehension skills are eroding.

These declines have serious civic, social, cultural and economic implications. Employers now rank reading and writing as critical deficiencies in new hires. They indicate that one in five U.S. workers read at a lower skill level than their job requires and remedial writing courses are estimated to cost employers more than $3.3 billion.

Who is that Man in the Window?

Reading drives the interest of the storefront window dweller, who overcame the obstacles of Attention Deficit Disorder and dyslexia to become known for his reading prowess. Farrow, a speed reader and a two-time world record-holder in memory is one of the foremost experts in the field of memorization. He is also a frequent expert speaker on the topics of learning disabilities and memory enhancing techniques. He once memorized 59 decks of playing cards and recalled them, one card at a time, for more than eight hours to secure his memory title.

Consumers are invited to join the cause by viewing Farrow’s progress online and taking the Reader virtual tour at They can also visit the store window in person at Datavision on Fifth Avenue at 39th Street in New York City, adjacent to the New York Public Library.

People can also help the cause by receiving an in-person demonstration of the Reader at the store or volunteering to give Farrow a well-deserved break. Prospective relief readers can sign up onsite and step into the window for an assigned time slot. Various celebrities, authors, local dignitaries and other notables will step in and relieve Farrow throughout the month.

About the Reader Digital Book

The Reader Digital Book by Sony is a portable electronic reading device. Its high-resolution, high contrast electronic paper display technology provides a reading experience very much akin to ink-on-paper, which many may find superior to reading on displays typical of computers and personal digital assistants. The result is crisp text and graphics that are highly readable, even in bright sunlight.

Roughly the size of a paperback novel, but thinner than most (about .5 inches thin), the device can store hundreds of books and other documents using a combination of internal flash memory and optional Memory Stick® or Secure Digital (SD) flash memory cards. In addition to electronic books, the Reader can also store and display personal documents in Adobe PDF format, RTF, text and JPEG photos. From the Sony eBook store, readers can choose from more than 50,000 electronic book titles. Because the Reader supports multiple eBook formats, including Adobe eBook and EPUB, there are hundreds of thousands of free and purchasable books available from multiple eBook stores, web sites and public libraries.

I’ll have something to say about this.

Sony Reader Revolution Cam #1

October 3, 2008

What is wrong with this picture?

The camera is in DataVision’s window pointing to the street.

The street is Fifth Avenue.

DataVision is on the east side.

The traffic is running the wrong way!


Someone needs to flip a switch to reverse the image.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #302: Fortis 2

October 3, 2008

Saturday, September 27th, 2008: Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #253: Fortis

Sunday, September 28th, 2008: Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #270: Fortis Falls

Today, October 3, 2008: Netherlands to buy Fortis assets
The Netherlands will take full control of the Dutch operations of ailing European bank Fortis in a deal worth 16.8bn euros ($23.2bn; £13.1bn).

On Sunday, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg governments injected 11.2bn euros into the bank, which has a heavy presence in all three countries.

The Dutch government transaction on Friday does not affect Fortis’ Belgian and Luxembourg operations.

Well, that bailout didn’t seem to work!

Pictures: Sony Reader PRS-700

October 3, 2008

I’m just dropping an official Sony press release photo in here to whet your appetite for later today.

I want to highlight the front buttons. These are all of them now:

Click = big

Remember, there’s a touchscreen(!) now.

I finally got the press link from Sony. More later.

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #301: Charts

October 3, 2008

Finance crisis: in graphics

BBC News has put together a page of eye-popping charts.

One of which I will now steal:

Click = big