Borders, Sony Team Up to Expand Sales of E-books and Sony Reader
Borders and Sony are teaming up on a partnership that the companies hope will help ignite e-book sales in the United States.
The agreement includes a new, co-branded version of Sony’s online store for e-book downloads, which is expected to be launched in October. In addition, Borders will expand the sale of the Sony Reader––the e-book reading device launched by Sony about 10 months ago––to more than 500 of its stores nationwide beginning next month. Currently, the Reader is on sale in approximately 270 Borders stores.
The announcement comes at a time when e-book sales are booming in Japan, but remain underwhelming by most accounts in North America. The sale of e-books for mobile phones grew 331 percent in Japan from 2005 to 2006, according to the Digital Content Association in Japan.
“Embracing technology as a path to differentiate Borders is a key part of our company’s strategic plan,” says Borders Group Chief Executive Officer George Jones. “Sony’s long history of innovation and pioneering efforts in establishing the e-book as a format, we believe, will be of growing importance to our customers in the future, and this agreement is a big part of our plans to make Borders a true cross-channel retailer, fulfilling our mission as a headquarters for knowledge and entertainment.”
Sony has consistently declined to reveal sales figures for the Reader, sparking speculation that the device has not been embraced by American consumers. This latest agreement with Borders comes just as Amazon is set to launch its own e-book device––the Kindle––in October.
The new, Sony–Borders co-branded online store will offer digital downloads of more than 20,000 books written by bestselling authors including Dean Koontz, Khaled Hosseini and Michael Connelly. Borders also said the store will eventually be integrated into its soon-to-be-relaunched Borders.com.
The companies plan to collaborate with publishers to significantly increase the number of titles available as e-books, particularly by including more backlist titles by popular authors and more titles from small- and mid-sized publishers.