Sony Reader: American HQ

Sony says U.S. sales of Reader are taking off

Sony has consolidated its digital-book efforts at its North American headquarters in San Diego, relocating hardware and software operations for its Reader electronic book device from Japan.

The company declined to say how many employees made the move from Japan.

While consumers in the United States often lag behind their counterparts in Japan in adopting new technologies, in this case it’s the opposite, said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division.

Because the device is selling better in the United States, it made sense to merge operations here, Haber said.

Industry analysts say the Reader is being outsold by upstart competitor the Amazon Kindle, which features a wireless link for e-book purchases from

But Haber takes exception to recent published reports that said the Reader sales are only a fraction of the 380,000 Kindles expected to be sold by the end of the year.

Neither Sony nor Amazon release sales numbers.

“We’ve sold hundreds of thousands of Readers and millions of electronic books,” Haber said. “We’re happy with the sell-through.”

Emphasis added by me.

And here is the crucial plan-for-the-future bit:

Haber said Sony plans to add wireless at some point, but it will not lock readers in to any one retailer.

“It will be consistent with our open platform,” he said.

Emphasis added by me.

Enjoy your abominable Kindle, Oprah. Until the day comes when you ask these questions (and you will!):

1) Why can’t I get that book for my Kindle?

2) Why can’t my Kindle read that (ePub) book?

3) What do you mean, I’d have to buy my eBooks all again for a Sony Reader?

And as for #3, Oprah, think of all those devoted fans of yours you led into that corner too. How about reimbursing them for your mistake?

— via Medialoper

Explore posts in the same categories: Books - Other, eBooks, Tech - Other, Tech - Sony

5 Comments on “Sony Reader: American HQ”

  1. BevQB Says:

    “Haber said Sony plans to add wireless at some point”

    Statements like that drive me crazy! WHY didn’t they already include it in the 700? I mean they gave me almost everything else I could want (light, touchscreen, text notes), but not wireless. So now that they’ve said they have plans to do so, does that mean that, instead of buying the 700, I should wait AGAIN?! AARRGGHH!

    Same thing with Astak. Forget for a moment that they are no longer releasing their announced entry level 5″ eReader or that the OS is now Linux instead of Windows CE. They are showing that their 6″ eReader has a replaceable battery and WILL SUPPORT .LIT FORMAT (among others). HALLELUJAH, someone’s finally done it! But for $300, no light, no touchscreen, no text notes; and then to make sure I don’t buy it right away, Astak says “There are a great number of other exciting eBook Readers by Astak being introduced during the first six months of 2009” AARRGGHH!

    You know, if only I knew that a device I bought next month could be upgraded next year, I wouldn’t find the search for a perfect eReader anywhere near as frustrating.

  2. mikecane Says:

    @Bev: What’s in Sony’s favor here:

    1) The PRS-505 is still around and can go lower in price.

    2) The 700 addresses immediate general-use concerns (light, notes, search, etc).

    3) A wireless model would put pressure to reduce 505 and 700 prices.

    4) Sony has really, really wanted to do right and I still maintain — and the evidence is with me — that they are creating the first open-standards device (note I do not mean “open source”). Only it supports ePub. Sorry, but .lit, MobiPocket, and eReader are legacy formats that are doomed to eventual extinction. That other devices support them is a desperate — and rather pandering as well as retrogressive — sales strategy.

    5) When the wireless Reader arrives, you will be able to buy any ePub eBook from any ePub seller. This means lower eBook prices through a lot of competition and it’s also great news for writers (present and future).

    6) Don’t forget that Sony has done cellphones — internationally. I expect their wireless to be the best. You won’t be stranded, for instance, on vacation outside the U.S. with useless wireless!

    All that said, it does suck to have to still wait for the Ultimate Reader. But at least it *will* be the Ultimate.

    Well, until color. Ha!

  3. BevQB Says:

    The only formats I have any experience reading in are PDF, HTML and LIT. But I completely agree with you that .LIT is quickly becoming an irrelevant ebook format. And that’s Microsoft’s fault. I’ve always felt that Microsoft Reader was the absolute best ereader software around because of features like bookmarks, text notes, search, etc. But apparantly, in its arrogance, Microsoft felt that it didn’t have to play nice with any of the eink ereader producers and now may be trying to play catch-up. That’s just my guess since no one has offered .LIT compatibility before Astak, and I really don’t know exactly what they mean when they say they support .LIT format (direct support or does it convert to Astak’s format first? And, if so, does it do a decent conversion?) I have hundreds of .LIT ebooks and I REALLY don’t want to be bothered converting them to another format (or stripping the DRM and then converting).

    But right now, unless Astak proves to have more features than they are currently listing, it looks like I WILL be buying a Sony 700. My ebook reading is down to nothing anymore because my tired old eyes can no longer stand reading from my HP iPAQ and I have just GOT to get something soon. With the new features of the 700, I will at least get some of the features that I so loved in Microsoft Reader with the added benefits of eink and a larger screen. Of course, that means I’ll be stuck doing my own format conversions, but I’m getting desperate enough that I may no longer have a choice.

    Though I just HATE shelling out that kind of money for a device that they’ve already announced a successor for.

    BTW Mike, what does the Sony do with PDF and WORD ebooks? Does it read them directly or does it convert them to its own format? And if it converts them, how does the converted ebook look? Is the pagination correct or do you see page breaks in the middle of the screen? Those might seem like odd questions but I know when I convert PDF to LIT using ABC Amber’s converter, the page breaks are all over the place.

  4. mikecane Says:

    Some PDFs are pretty gruesome on the Sony Reader. As Paul Biba pointed out, there’s no telling why because there’s no standard method of creating a PDF file. The PDF handling software is from Adobe, so I do expect it to get better. They have a stake in it being good.

    WORD eBooks? You mean RTF? They look fine. (Or should! I didn’t get to try one on the 700; but on the 500 and 505 my tests looked OK.)

    I was lucky to get a PDF->HTML converter for free:

    But I haven’t tried it yet.

    Yes, Microsoft Reader was very nice software. But Microsoft has basically given up on eBooks, it seems. I wouldn’t count on the Astak handling DRMed LIT well. Microsoft years ago was supposed to do DRMed LIT on the Franklin eBookman and that never happened.

    You’ll have to bite the bullet and start converting. See if you can get it down to a one-a-day routine. I’m going to have to do conversions and well as scanning paper and creating my own at some point. Yecch.

  5. paul m Says:

    mike: i have bought a 700 reader for my vision impared wife (20/400) and it has enabled her to read for the first time in ten years!! horray for sony!
    the kindle placed a far second due to its lack of back/side lighting and it proprietary whispernet download app thats available to U.S only.
    i see by your site that there are rumblings of a new sony reader in the works.could you give me what information you have on that as i was considering buying a second 700 reader for myself,but i will wait a bit if a new model is due soon

    ty Paul M

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