BBC News Critiques Sony Reader

September 19, 2008

Beautiful, perfect, supreme chunk of paper

The article is absolutely ludicrous, at one point comparing the Sony Reader (and by extension, all eBooks) to a frikkin luxury book with a price of — I. Am. Not. Kidding. — $155,000!

One book.

How many people have $155,000 libraries in their homes?!

There’s also a video, which should be watched instead. Although he raises some valid points about screen glare, it does seem as if he goes out of his way to find negatives.

He never points out, for example, that the text can be enlarged!

He also, in the video, makes the point about the Sony Reader being dropped in water or being a magnet for muggers.

Perhaps so. But what really can’t be ruined by water? He actually drops a printed book in water. As if he’d want to read the crinkled and bloated pages afterwards! Yeah, right!

And muggers will target people for any reason. But I think they’d especially target someone carrying around a $155,000 book!

What I suggest some of this latter resistance is about is the price of the Sony Reader. I want to see it at an impulse-buy price of US$99.00.

I’m hoping — probably beyond all hope — that on October 2, Sony will announce a new version of the Sony Reader. And also announce that the current model will remain on sale but with a true slashing of its price (down to US$199, at least — but US$149.00 would be thrilling!!).

And the last point raised in the video is just exasperating. He bemoans the disappearance of shelves of print books in homes.

Question: Did he make the same stupid complaint over music from iTunes downloads replacing shelves of Compact Discs?

Reviews like these are based in nothing more than fear. Fear of the future.


OMFGZZZZ!!!! eBooks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111

How Print Publishers Are Killing Writers

September 19, 2008

App Store is a Goldmine: Indie Developer Makes $250,000 in Two Months

Trism has made $250,000 for its developer, Steve Demeter, in just two months. A simple game, it looks to be as addictive as Tetris*, and it hits the right spot for pricing: $5.

[. . .]

[I]f you can generate a modest hit, you’re not going to care. Remember, Tris is the work of one man. If the game keeps selling at this rate for a year, he will have made $1.5 million.

Emphasis added by me.

I’ve said in Comments elsewhere that no matter what, devs will claw their way into the App Store for the simple reason it will make some of them millionaires. I wish I’d bothered to state that here in my own blog too!

And unwired view adds some more thoughts:

The combination of an easy way to pay (credit card/iTunes GC) and an easy way to install (app store) makes customers more comfortable at purchasing programs for their iPhones (and iPod Touch). At the same time, developers have it easy when it comes to iPhone app development. From getting started, actual development, and final deployment to the public through the app store, Apple provides the simplest of set-ups.

Let me add something else here that’s a factor being ignored: the Apple brand name.

Sure, all these are the products of different companies (I’d say “individuals,” but you need the correct business Taxpayer Identification Number from the IRS to do this; your Social Security Number won’t do; so in IRS terms, you’re a business, which is why I say “companies”), but everyday people have the reassurance of Apple selling it.

I’ve called for Apple to get out of sales and turn iTunes into an eCommerce platform.

That is where things can get dicey for individuals; creators as well as buyers.

“Come buy my app at Mike’s website” doesn’t have the same appeal. In fact, I can foresee outright scams taking place that way. It’s inevitable. Millions and millions of cellphones that are eCommerce-enabled just like the iPhone are a magnet for fraudsters. That kind of fraud would be more likely when iTunes is a platform instead of an entrance to a single marketplace overseen/refereed by Apple (or Google or Palm or Nokia).

But that’s a risk that’s run right now, with anyone who risks buying from an individual website. The safeguard against that are people alerting everyone else — via blogs, via Twitter, via other means — to steer clear of the fraud.

iTunes becoming an eCommerce platform is something that will happen. Because if Apple doesn’t do it, Google will for Android. And if that happens, then Microsoft will jump in, as will Nokia. As will every cellphone carrier. But Apple has a chance to set an eCommerce platform standard that could richly reward its bottom line and lead to an explosion of eCommerce.

Now to tie this into eBooks and writers.

There are millions of iPhones out there now. All of them have the possibility of reading the standard the dying dinosaurs of print have rallied around: ePub. The Stanza eBook reader can do ePub. Publishers should have been flocking — should be flocking — to the App Store to sell ePub-formatted eBooks. How can they ignore millions of potential customers like this? It verges on the criminal!

Waterstone’s in the U.K. makes it a point — and so does every publisher offering DRMed ePub files — to tell people they need to get Adobe Digital Editions to complete the sales process (ADE is required for DRM activation) for Sony Reader eBooks. But not every publisher is hampering their sales with DRM on ePub files. Pan Macmillan isn’t; theirs are free of DRM. So, it’d be very easy for publishers selling DRM-free eBooks at the App Store to tell people to download Stanza (it’s free!) in order to enjoy their purchases. It’s trivial!

The other point here is the price of that Trism game: five dollars. Would it have sold if it had been priced at $12.95, $15.95, or $19.95? Would it have even made six figures of sales if it was priced at ten dollars?

I doubt that very much.

It was priced as an impulse buy.

The same way eBooks must be priced.

While the small snooty We Know It All clique of meganational print publishing cries over their martinis at the Four Seasons, the people who actually create what they are supposed to sell are being killed by their inaction, by their stupidity, by their desperation to ignore the future.

Sony Reader Revolution Campaign

September 19, 2008

Weirdly, clicking on a link in a French newspaper that I thought would lead to Sony France bounced me back to America’s SonyStyle site for the Sony Reader.

There I found out they’ve launched a very … sad … promotion for the Sony Reader called the Reader Revolution. (Why does this seem like it’s been done before? Has it? Did they do it before?)

This leads to a splash screen …

Click = large sadness

… where there is actually a point to this (see red underlined text):

OK, I like that sentiment. So, I did the video. And it’s not one of those things you can shunt off to the side and let run for its two minutes. No. There is interactivity:

Click = big

However, I was dumb enough to believe in a selfless act. No. Sony wants your email address in order to actually count your viewing as one-fifth of a five-view donation. So, I did that too:

Click = big

Then they wonder if you will let them spam invite four other people:

Click = big

Yeah, well, OK, it’s for The eBook Cause. So I did that too!

As it turns out, there’s more to this than just this silly retro- barfable- pathetic online campaign. There’s actually going to be something happening at some stores that sell the Sony Reader. Click here to see Upcoming Tour Dates. You can get away with just putting in a zip code and area radius for store listings (if any) and a map.

In New York City, it seems that every Borders Store will be having an event on this Saturday, September 20th, from 11:00AM to 5:00PM. Check to see if that’s the case where you live too.

Anyone who wants to see eBooks flourish: Go ahead and view the video and spam invite four friends. You — and they — can always opt-out of Sony spams emails after the first one arrives.

In the meantime, you’ll be helping to get eBooks out there where the non-Internet everyday people can encounter and maybe even use them.

Reading and eBooks: A Revolution I Can Get Behind!