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back to article Sony readies Reader e-book app for iPhone

Sony has taken a leaf out of Amazon's e-book and is preparing e-book reader apps for both the iPhone and Android. The app, simply called Reader, will be out next month. It presents a similar UI to that employed by Sony's Reader line of e-book readers, and also presents the Reader Store, Sony's own online bookshop. Sony Reader …

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FAIL

Fixed it for ya

Sony readies Reader e-book app for Android

Coming to iPhone too

Clearly now that Android is bigger than iOS, your reporting needs to change.

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FAIL

Sony is dead in the water

As far as I am concerned eBooks are dead in the water.

Last Christmas the missus bought me a £250 Sony Reader. I then bought a few books for it and paid what I considered to be a ‘reasonable’ price. Not reasonable when you consider that I don’t own them, can’t sell them or even loan them, but reasonable as in well, its a new thing, prices will only come down. Did they heck.

What the **** is wrong with the UK publishing industry? I am sick to my core with the current pricing structure. Try to buy an eBook with price parity a paperback. You can’t do it. In some instances, these robbing bastards want twice what you would pay for a paperback. Yes, twice to have something that has no physical substance and is gone in the blink of a hard drive crash or lost bit of kit.

Never have I felt so let down by a ‘new’ technology. EBooks promised that you could have ‘an entire authors library on one device’. Not at these bloody prices can you. I sent a letter of complaint to Waterstone’s, the reply said that I was ‘looking for niche products’. Niche? It was Peter F Hamiliton for fooks sake! Not ‘the Philosophy of Life’ by Mickey bloody Mouse.

I can think of no other technology where there has been such a concerted effort to strangle the industry at birth by fleecing the customers to such a degree. Even mp3 downloads don’t come close. At least there is near parity between a CD and a download.

I love reading. It is such a harmless yet rewarding hobby. I know what these bastards are trying to do. Introduce a new price point, get people used to it then quietly drop paperbacks. Before you know it the £15 eBook is established and there is no going back. I have never felt such contempt towards an industry (apart from those that peddle non-working mobile phones and say ‘tough’ you are on a 2 year contract’).

When did consumers become so pliable that we accept this kind of crap? I am back to paperback and the Sony can go in the bin.

(Any chance you can do a bit of investigative journalism on the great eBook rip off please please Reg?)

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Bronze badge
FAIL

It would appear....

...that El Reg is planning exactly that investigation of which you speak.

I read a while ago that it's possible to strip the DRM from these books, and then use them as you wish. I don't know if it's true, but at least it means that you can move them from device to device once you have paid once. I'm not suggesting copying them for others, just fair use.

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Grenade

What utter rot

I've just gone through my Amazon wishlist changing all the physical books for Kindle editions. Twelve titles, six works of history (3 HB, 3 PB), the rest paperback novels. All, ALL cheaper in Kindle edition and to the total tune of £13.65! And that saving is before I factor in the two dozen completely free classics I have in my Kindle account. The Dickens alone would have cost me more than £40 in Penguin Classics!

Like all things you need to shop around, but to argue that eBooks are excessively expensive is just plain wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

Rot?

Try downloading a Kindle eBook and putting it on a Sony. Can't (legally) be done.

I am happy for you and your Kindle. Don't get me wrong, I like Amazon I buy loads from them but your Kindle books won't be that price for ever...

Look at Waterstone's. Look at WH Smith. Look at how you cannot download from the USA where prices are cheaper. Open your eyes and look at the disparity between a paperback and an eBook. Then tell me I am talking rot...

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FAIL

RE:Sony is dead in the water

Aree with you there.

I was going to get a Kindle. Ao looked at the price of books.

How can they justify either charging more or just a few pence less than a 'Real Book'

There are:

No printing costs.

No paper costs.

No transportation costs.

No warehousing costs.

Have I missed anything?

I did point out to Amazon that this attitude will push people to crack ebook DRM and to 'share' their books.

Reminds me of the music industry.

Charge a resonable price and people will buy and not try to find a way around unnessecary copy protection.

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Flame

Costs

This idea that most of the costs in publishing are in manufacture is just ignorant and wrong. It's been put about for years by those with an agenda to push, and been debunked just as often by those who actually work in the industry.

It's pretty obvious - few industries could cope with manufacturing costs that were 80% of the retail price, and publishing is no exception. Generally, manufacturing, distribution etc. make up less than 30% of the retail price. That's why most publishers list ebooks from 30% of print price.

But don't forget that ebooks are liable to VAT, which print isn't. That pushes the price back up again.

Unless you want for some reason to suggest that publishers ought to make less money from ebooks than print? And that sounds like an agenda rather than sound business to me.

(I work in publishing, in case you hadn't noticed, and this isn't a rant at the specific commenter. I just get annoyed by this idea that, just because there's no physical product, ebooks ought to be almost free.)

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Anonymous Coward

Cheers

I genuinely did not know that eBooks are VAT liable and paper copies are not. Sometimes its a funny old world we live in.

I sincerely do not think that eBooks should be almost free. I enjoy my reading hobby and for the many, many hours escapism I receive I think the author, publisher and distributor should be fairly rewarded.

The point of my initial post was the disparity between the price of a paperback and the price of an eBook. All I ask is that they are of parity. Anything else is blatant profiteering in a price fixed anti-competitive market.

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Anonymous Coward

Remember...

Was like when DVDs first came to market. More expensive than the equivalent VHS even though the cost of manufacturing a pressed DVD compared to a relatively complex VHS tape was/is peanuts.

They justified the extra cost by selling you a 'better' quality product etc.

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Bronze badge

DVD was a bit better

In many cases (though there were some abymal early digital transfers) DVD is a better quality product than VHS.

However, with eBooks, not only are the technical restrictions more onerous than DVD regions, but often the quality of the product is pretty poor too. Many books have shocking proofing errors (which may well be true of the printed editions, but isn't always), not to mention page or section breaks messed up.

And of the 51 books I have in Digital Editions on my computer here, 21 don't even have a front cover illustration, preferring just a generic page with a publisher's logo and some text. Most often that's titles from big publishers like HarperCollins, Hachette and RandomHouse.

Small wonder many readers feel they're getting less for their money with eBooks.

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Pricing

Really needs some work. Okay eBooks are VATable unlike books, and yes, the cost of the paper and the binding are actually a relatively small share of the final sale price; and yes you still have to pay advances, editing and page-setting costs; and obviously there are hosting and bandwidth costs associated with delivering a book - but how do they calculate these prices?

Waterstone's regularly charges more than the hardback price for an eBook which no matter how you look at it, just seems bizarre. Even when the eBook is no more than the paperback edition, it is always discounted less. And they never try to match Amazon.

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Whose fault?

"Waterstone's regularly charges more than the hardback price for an eBook which no matter how you look at it, just seems bizarre."

Absolutely right. I find this bizarre, too, but remember that retailers have different levels of control over the pricing of print and ebooks. It may be that they discount the print but can't discount the ebook, leading to odd disparities.

But notice here that the disparity is not the publisher's fault, as many seem to assume. Rather, it's a result of the _retailers_ manipulating prices.

"And they never try to match Amazon."

No, but they don't do that for print, either. They're different businesses. Big surprise.

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Alert

Rot??

Easy to generalise, how about some solid examples.

First example I looked at - Lord of the Rings complete eBook from Waterstones in the UK - £9.99, paperback of same £16.99 (usually £19.99, £3 off at the moment). Best that Barnes and Noble in the USA can offer is each volume eBook at $9.99, so around £20 for the set.

Amazon's prices for same - £9.99 in the UK, $16.99 in the USA making the UK a little cheaper.

Bottom line, shop around and make your choice.

As for Kindle books not being "that price" for ever, please share how you have the inside track on Amazon's medium and long-term pricing strategy, we'd all love to know.

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Troll

Who said the art of discussion was dead?

I started to look up solid example. I found loads. I really can't be arsed looking further. If you wish to do so, knock yourself out...

It is true that some older books are actually cheaper in eBook format. I have never argued that this isn't the case. Shop around you say. Questionable advice given the DRM restrictions placed and the lack of competition.

I very much doubt that 'we'd all love to know'. In an effort to Troll you place too much emphasis on others interest in my opinion. Just between you and me I think once Amazon have you by the short and curlies with their restricted format the price will go up. But that's just my opinion mind, nothing to loose sleep over.

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