Blog Notes: Still Behind Here

September 10, 2008

I just added some eBook-related posts from my primary blog. Just to keep things looking alive around here.

I will get back to this again.

Confirmed: New Sony Reader October 2008!

September 10, 2008

CNet Crave reports: Sony Reader event October 2: New product coming?

There’s a graphic of an invite there which seems to dramatize wireless capability for the Reader: words are swirling out and around a Reader being held.

Just last week I posted: Rumor: New Sony Reader + Mac OS Software? in which I passed on a rumor of a wireless Reader appearing in November.

Now it seems to be arriving a month earlier! (Although actual availability might still be November. We all know how tech companies like to announce things before shipments begin.)

Could this be due to Apple having an iPod Touchbook to introduce in October?

The eBook market is getting exciting!

— via TeleRead and MobileRead

Previously here:

Sony Reader Red
Sony Reader: More U.K. Coverage
Sony Reader U.K. Coverage
Waterstone’s eBook Site: FAIL!
Tomorrow Is U.K. D-Day For Sony Reader

— originally published September 9, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008

eBooks And Pricing

September 10, 2008

Open Seas; High Waves – The Perfect Storm?

So to me, high pricing, and an openly rippable format would appear to be the perfect breeding conditions for piracy. It’s great that publishers could be moving away from DRM, and this is an important battle to win. But surely the price battle is an equally important one in the front to drive adoption and resist loss of revenue through piracy?

One quote from The Bookseller article was that, “the market will eventually set its own price”. Indeed it will – but whether that price is controlled by pro-active or reactive pricing by publishers remains to be seen.

What I’m not assuming is that people want to pirate content – quite the opposite. But if a consumer feels that they are being given a choice of an excessively-priced, perhaps hard-to-find version, against a freely priced, easy-to-find version, there will be a point where they will go for the latter.

Emphasis in the original.

Then, from a writer who is doing direct publishing:

[Interview] P. T. Harris, author of ‘REGRETdead’

The question had to be asked. Would that publisher survive two years? I researched self-publishing, and in the end, I chose ebooks. My capital outlay for the software was low and, no matter who published me, it would still be up to me to sell my work.

[. . .]

The advantages? I set the sales price. This is the key reason I didn’t go with another ebook site. I couldn’t get my head around the idea that I, no-brand-name P. T. Harris, could sell tons of books at the same price or higher than say, Kellerman or Sandford.

Since most authors make little on the first couple of books, I sought to use the ebook format as a venue to build my own brand by delivering great fiction at just $3.99 per book. Then, two or three books later, my major publisher (she dreams) can reissue ASSISTdead and REGRETdead.

Emphasis added by me.

So on the one hand, we have the dying dinosaurs of print trying to gouge early eBook adopters with unreasonable prices that will stifle growth of the market. And on the other hand, there’s a writer who actually wants her work to sell and sets a friendly impulse-buy price.

Gee, which strategy is the most likely to succeed?

Especially as eBooks will eventually be borrowed free from public libraries.

So let’s review:

1) Dying print dinosaurs: Smug ripoff pricing

2) Public libraries: Free borrowing of eBooks from smug dying print publishers

3) Direct-publishing writers: Impulse-buy pricing

This is clearly two against one.

Finally, hey, who do they think they’re kidding with this:

One quote from The Bookseller article was that, “the market will eventually set its own price”.

Here’s the so-called “marketplace” in action — it’s killing CD sales!

It will also kill dinosaur print publisher eBook sales.

See how bad eBooks prices are at The eBook Test blog.


Writer P.T. Harris website (it has music; ditch the music and Flash animations!)

— originally published September 7, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008

Sony Reader: More U.K. Coverage

September 10, 2008

A boon for journeys

So here it is. Trim and tanned and primed to hold you to all your resolutions for the new school year. Never quite managed to finish reading your library copy of War And Peace before the overdue fees began to bite? Don’t have a handbag big enough to carry Bleak House around with you? Well, here they both are, in five by seven inches of discreet, overstitched buff leatherette, as part of the 100-book starter library offered by Waterstone’s to buyers of the much-trumpeted Sony Reader.

Ebook: The future of reading?

Martin Ramsbottom, from The Scroll book shop, also in Kirkham, added: “These devices are bound to have some effect on the market.

“But the important thing here is that reading off a screen is not as easy as reading from a book.

“It’s just not quite the same and you can’t take in the whole page.

“Also I doubt many people would want to curl up in bed or in a comfy chair with one of these computer devices, it’s much more personal to have a book.

“It may be a generational thing though,” the retired librarian said.

“They could take off with younger people and get them interested in reading.”

Penguin Targets Sony Reader

U.K. publisher Penguin Books have announced that by the end of the year thousands of titles will be available in the ePub format, suitable for the Sony Reader or Adobe Digital Editions on Windows or Mac.

As reported by, Penguin’s digital publisher, Jeremy Ettinghausen, said, “It’s thrilling to see so much enthusiastic activity around ebooks, seven years after their first incarnation. Our job as publishers is to make authors’ work as widely available as possible — ebooks give readers greater choice as to how, where and when they buy and read books, which can only be a good thing.”

The Sony Reader is now available through Waterstone’s, a U.K. group of bookshops. Promotion has been restrained so far with nothing to compare with other consumer devices. The approach may be to wait on the availability of more content so the announcements from Penguin and other publishers are significant.

Only 13 per cent want eBook reader

Despite everyone here at Stuff Towers getting in something of a tizzy about the imminent arrival of the Sony Reader, it seems you lot just don’t feel the same when it comes to eBooks.

When asked, only 13 per cent of you say you’d snaffle one now, with a massive 87 per cent saying you’d rather wait until more books are available electronically, or just not bother at all.

E-books don’t furnish a room

The eReader comes pre-loaded with an eclectic selection of 14 books and extracts: Patrick Bishop’s 3 Para, Agatha Christie, a historical romance called The Wicked Earl… The menu is easy to navigate, but problems started when I tried to download something to test its legendary battery life. (6,800 page turns, according to Sony – or, in the new unit of measurement, five readings of War and Peace.) The eReader comes with a CD containing 100 classic titles; but I couldn’t make it work. Was it just me? There not being a 13-year-old boy available, I called IT. They didn’t understand it. I tried Sony’s technical support helpline. “To be honest, it’s the same for us,” said a friendly man. “It’s new…” In the time I spent listening to their funky hold music, I could have read War and Peace five times – in a real book. I could have learned to read, for heaven’s sake.

It wasn’t much clearer at the Gutenberg Project website, where eager readers can download 100,000 books – 25,000 of them free. That is, if they can understand the instructions. The site advises: “Palm OS up to release 4… does not support .txt files stored on internal memory. You will have to convert to .pdb or .prc in order to store Project Gutenberg texts on these machines.” Somebody must understand this, because more than three million books are downloaded from the site each month.

I must address three things here:

Also I doubt many people would want to curl up in bed or in a comfy chair with one of these computer devices, it’s much more personal to have a book.

How many times is that utter bullshit going to be trotted out?


When asked, only 13 per cent of you say you’d snaffle one now

I’d like to know if they ran a poll when the iPod was introduced and what those results were. I remember the iPod intro. The geniuses on the Net dismissed it. Now they cry about Apple’s “monopoly.”


Somebody must understand this, because more than three million books are downloaded from the site each month.

I’m sorry to read that she couldn’t figure out how to load eBooks onto the Reader. It makes me wonder if she has an iPod. As for Gutenberg … yes, dear, it’s not even simple for those of us who are somewhat techies. And that’s a shame.

Previously here:

Rumor: New Sony Reader + Mac OS Software?
Sony Reader U.K. Coverage

— originally published September 5, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008

Rumor: New Sony Reader + Mac OS Software?

September 10, 2008

Via bookbook blog (an Australian eBook blog that’s very interesting!) is a link to a mobileread forum comment that states:

I just came from sonystyle in NYC looking for the red model. No one had heard about the red model but a sales clerk informed that a new model is coming in November…..with wifi.

Well, isn’t that interesting as all hell!!!

This also now makes me believe a comment I saw earlier today at the UK Guardian Book Blog:

I have a Mac, and copying onto the reader is trivial. Plug a memory card into your computer, copy and paste, and plug the card into the Reader (this works on the 100 free books that come with the reader). Job done. Ok, it’s harder for bought ebooks, but that will be fixed shortly with a Mac version of Connect.

Emphasis added by me.

So we have a new Sony Reader coming with built-in WiFi as well as Mac-compatible eBook Library software?

Sony, if this is true, I love you!!!

One suggestion: Give me red!!!

For those coming new to Sony Reader developments:

1) A recent software update now allows it to use ePub files, a new standard eBook file format most book publishers have embraced

2) This software update allows books to be bought from any bookstore that sells ePub format eBooks (Adobe Digital Editions, which is free and which also runs on Mac OS, is required for DRM)

3) The software update also allows eBooks to be borrowed for free from public libraries that offer Adobe ePub-formatted eBooks

4) Sony just launched the Reader in the U.K.

A Sony Reader with WiFi and Mac OS eBook Library software = Amazon Kindle Killer!

— originally published September 4, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008

Sony Reader U.K. Coverage

September 10, 2008

They still haven’t cracked the ebook

Jostling for space on the crowded platform at Farringdon tube station last night, I was deliberating over which of my preloaded ebooks to read on my Sony Reader when the unthinkable happened – I was approached by a fellow commuter, a jovial-looking businessman.

“Is that it?” he asked. “Wow.” He was planning to get one today, when it goes on sale in 205 Waterstone’s branches. The £199 price tag didn’t bother him – the Reader ebook would be “ever so handy” for all the travelling he has to do.

It happened again at Edgware Road, when the middle-aged woman I was sitting next to wanted to find out more about the device. Her husband has poor eyesight, and was keen to get one because you can zoom in on the text.

Sony Reader PRS-505 – eBook Reader (Trusted Reviews)

It must have been CES 2007 that I first played with the Sony eBook reader. I remember spending far too much time fondling and playing with the device on the Sony stand, when I really should have been traipsing the show floor looking for scoops. But even more vividly do I remember coming back home and requesting a sample from Sony, only to be told that there were no plans to launch the device in the UK. I was therefore surprised, but very pleased in July when Sony announced that it would be launching its latest eBook reader this side of the pond.

Random hosts e-book exhibition

Random House is hosting a virtual exhibition about e-books and e-book readers in social networking site Second Life to coincide with the launch of the Sony Reader.

Publishers rally for Sony launch

Publishers are ratcheting up their digital promotions to coincide with the launch of the Sony Reader in the UK. Waterstone’s m.d. Gerry Johnson said that preorders for the device, which finally went on sale at its stores today (4th September), were “comfortably in the thousands”. E-books will be available to download from from midday today, so far the site lists about 3,500 fiction titles, and far fewer non-fiction e-books, with discounts of 20%.

The one dimensional Reader

Publishers’ intentions to keep e-book prices at parity to its physical counterpart may be a good idea for them to avoid rampant discounting but it’s not great for the humble consumer. To pay near enough £200 for a device and then fork out more money to add books I already own to it? Not exactly fair.

That last quote I must address. I stopped buying printed books a few years back. I could no longer deal with the bulk and weight for moving. I’ve been using the New York Public Library (and sometimes paying fines through the nose!). So I don’t have a collection of recent book purchases to replace. My eBook purchases would all be brand new, even though I’ve already read them. That’s my advice for all of you thinking of eBooks: stop buying printed books right now. Use your public library to read. Then you can start an eBook collection fresh.

— originally published September 4, 2008 at Mike Cane 2008