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 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 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 Waterstone.com from midday today, so far the site lists about 3,500 fiction titles, and far fewer non-fiction e-books, with discounts of 20%.
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