Earlier this year, Sony decided to bring their giant 13.3-inch E Ink PDF reader to the United States after an initial release in Japan, but when they did so they opted to only sell them through third-party vendors.
Sony has added three resellers to their list over the past few months, but they all seem to require some secret handshake, a legal degree, or masonic ring to buy one.
For years, people have been forecasting the death of the e-reader. Ever since more flashy, multi-function tablets became mainstream - prompted by the launch of Apple's iPad in 2010 - black-and-white e-readers with their matt e-ink screens have come to be seen as poor relations.
Indeed, earlier this year, Sony was forced to admit defeat in the e-reader market, withdrawing its Librie series of devices from stores in the US, then from Europe and Australia, and finally its home turf, Japan.
Sony has confirmed today that they will not be making another ebook reader - not even for their sole remaining market in Japan. There will be no PRS-T4, and lesen.net reports that the remaining stock of the Sony Reader PRS-T3 will be sold until it runs out. That device was was launched last fall in Europe but never shipped in the US, so I'm not sure how many people actually have one.
TBH, this comes as no surprise. After Sony first pulled out of the North American ebook market
Amazon has been locked in an epic battle with publishers for control of ebook prices for years now, and the fight has lately taken a nasty turn. Among other things, the retail giant has recently banned pre-orders of Hachette titles, including JK Rowling's next mystery novel, and today it appears that it's done the same to Warner Bros movies, refusing to take pre-orders of The Lego Movie.
This is obviously irritating for publishers - and authors, as Stephen Colbert's amusingly rage-filled reaction highlights - and it has implications for readers too
Whether they come from Goodreads, iDreamBooks, or Amazon, book reviews make the ebookstore. For the longest time now Kobo has lacked book reviews, but in the not too distant future that is going to change.
A few days ago Kobo announced on the Kobo Writing Life blog that they are growing their own review section:
Kobo has confirmed that it will supply eBooks to the Sony Reader and some Xperia smartphones in the UK when the Sony Reader Store closes on June 16.
The same move has already been implemented in the US and Canada, as part of Sony's business restructuring plan.
Users in Germany, Austria and Australia will also convert to the Kobo digital reading ecosystem, which includes a catalog of more than four million eBooks.
In Invasion of the Space Invaders, Martin Amis's 1982 treatise on the emergent video game medium, the British author wrote: "The video game tells a story. The better you get, the longer the story lasts. And we all know how children feel about stories." In the early 1980s, video-game stories were laughably straightforward: the aliens die in Space Invaders, the dots are eaten in Pac-Man, the ball is batted in Pong.
Once again, the Japanese electronics giant has come up with a terrific piece of new technology — a breakthrough product that lots of people might want.
And then it has done its level best to strangle the product in its infancy.
A short while ago I sat down in Boston with Giovanni Mancini, director of product development at E Ink, and got an early peak at Sony’s new “Digital Paper” product. This is basically the closest anyone has yet come to a digital piece of paper.
When e-book service Entitle launched last December, one of the main selling points was the idea that subscribers truly own their books. Now the company says it has given users even more control by allowing them to transfer books to their Nooks, Kobos or Sony Readers.
Sony has released what will very likely be the second to last firmware updates for the Sony Readers.
As part of Sony's plans to shut down the NA branch of the Sony Reader Store and transfer customers to Kobo, they issued an update which replaces the ebook store integrated in the Sony Reader PRS-T1, T2, and T3.