back to article Sony plots death of Amazon Kindle

Sony - a company that has struggled to establish itself as a dominant player in the world of ebook readers - is anxious to remind you that the ebook market is still in its infancy and that the Amazon Kindle is far from winning the battle. In fact, Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division, thinks Jeff …


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  1. Andres


    "Exclusive and proprietary, that is a concern," he says, alluding to Amazon."

    I had to re-read the article 12 times to confirm that this was a quote by a Sony president. Then I remembered that the latest Sony ebooks use MemorySticks and everything returned to normal.

  2. GregC

    "Exclusive and proprietary, that is a concern"

    Coming from _Sony_!! That's more than a bit rich, from the company that tried to force Memory Stick, MiniDisc etc on the market....

    1. Chigaimasmaro

      couldnt stop laughing

      That line made me almost pee myself laughing. Sony has even tried to use their sucky ATRAC codec on their music store!! They'll beat the kind when they stop being two-faced.

  3. DrXym Silver badge

    Proprietary devices need to die

    I really do not understand people who buy a Kindle. It is incredibly shortsighted to buy a device for reading books which is tied to a proprietary format and tied to a single store. It's not like the Kindle is even cheap compared to other ereaders and has some serious shortcomings such as its lack of support for other common formats.

    Sony hardly has a clean record either but they seem to have snapped out of the delusion that they can dictate formats or standards (Sony formats and standards). The Sony reader is priced about the same as the Kindle but works with lots of book stores. Not only that but it works with various open and closed formats too, such as PDF & epub.

    I really hope the industry sees some sense. People are scared by proprietary formats. The reason ebooks have been so down in the dumps for so long is because proprietary readers and formats are ten a penny. Microsoft have had a go, Sony has had a go, Adobe has had a go. People are scared, confused or sitting on the sidelines. The industry needs to rally around a single open format and endorse devices which support it. Open doesn't mean without DRM, but there should be a single DRM that applies to all stores, and all devices, one that is optional and allows reasonable fair use and for people to back / manage their files.

    1. Bassey


      "Sony hardly has a clean record either but they seem to have snapped out of the delusion that they can dictate formats or standards"

      Really? Blu Ray ring any bells?

  4. Neil Paterson

    Memory sticks

    In reply to the previous 2 posts about Memory Stick Pro, the PRS 300 and PRS 600 both take SD/SDHC cards too... maybe Sony have given up on trying to create a standard?

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Proprietary stuff

      They also gave up on trying to force a proprietary E-Book format since they are now moving from their own BBeB (LRF/LRX) to the open standard EPub format, and this despite some users complaints that BBeB is a superior format which they promptly move their Epub books back to after liberating them from the Adobe DRM.

  5. Darren Wheatcroft

    Not 9.99 per book, and it reads more than just kindle books

    Sorry, but a tiny bit of research on the Amazon website should show that not only does it read PDF, MOBI and many more different file types, but that the price of books is not $9.99 each:

    Yes, some books do cost a tenner. One even costs $140. But I have bought many books for far less than that, and uploaded PDFs, Word documents, audiobooks etc to it easily.

    And it works in the UK just fine, even wirelessly over 3G.

    Its a great piece of kit, not without its flaws, but it is still worth a look, and even a tiny bit of fact checking would have helped the reporter not spread FUD from Sony about it.

  6. Eddie Edwards


    ""If you don’t allow the content out there, people will find a way to get that content," Haber says. He adds that publishers cause piracy by delaying the release of books in digital formats and that their businesses will prosper if they embrace ebooks."

    Oh yeah, this rampant piracy of hardbacks. They're all over the Torrent sites, so I hear. Nothing more fun than scanning 500 pages of a weekend.

    I'm sure publishers should be rushing to digitize their books and put them online, where copying is *so* much harder.

    Props to Sony for managing to find such an utter moron to run their eBook division.

    1. Richard Lea

      Funny you should say that

      was speaking to a guy from my company in Russia and he had an ebook and was asking him about it.

      Anyway cut a long story short but in Russia most books are all free cause of the piracy

  7. James Halliday

    Kindle model is very similar to Apple and iTunes

    I believe it can can display PDFs, in the same way that your ipod can play MP3s.

    Kindle integrates very nicely to the Amazon store and lets you buy books in their own DRM'd format very very easily... at a mainly fixed price.. again, this is sounding quite familiar.

    I can't believe Amazon haven't looked at Apple when building this setup. I wouldn't have thought Apple is too fussed about other people selling books for less. What they care about is that they are the easiest option. Sure you could save a dollar or so hunting about, but I want it now *click*

    And once again, once people have got their pile of Kindle-chained reading material they'll be on kindles for the rest of their lives. They'll buy their children/spouse a Kindle so they can share books (ebook sharing is not because they like us).

    You buy a Kindle now. A nicer device comes along - your electronic library going up in flames isn't going to make you wish to switch.

    This is still just the start of the market though. As with downloaded music, we'll get the waves of rival devices, rival stores - until the point where everybody has an ebook reader and their given away pennies. We'll then have the backlash against the DRM kicking in. Then the disruptors will wade in and the DRM will start to go away once more. For example Amazon now let you buy from them, at less than iTunes and it seemlessly adds itself to your itunes (and therefore ubiquitous iPod). It'll take a few years - but all these devices will start opening up again.

  8. Leo Maxwell

    It is all academic

    Until they start selling unDRMed ebooks for less than paperback prices anyway.

    I can buy a hardback (why would I want to unless it was the only version available), or 4 months later the paperback for a lower price (see above)

    Or an ebook for a price usually between the two.


    I only ever read a book once, in any format. I get hardbacks of the latest release of my favourite authors as gifts. I would rather read them as ebooks, but they cost more than the hard copy, and I can't resell or lend them!

    Ebooks will take off when the hard copy finally dies (which is probably closer then most people think)

    What is the point of shelves full of transient art.

  9. Kevin 6

    sounds familiar

    "Sony - a company that has struggled to establish itself as a dominant player in the world of ebook readers - is anxious to remind you that the ebook market is still in its infancy and that the Amazon Kindle is far from winning the battle."

    Didn't they say something similar about Apple and its Ipod few years back?

  10. Neoc
    Thumb Down


    "Sony - a company that has struggled to establish itself as a dominant player in the world of ebook readers "

    Yeah, struggling so hard it's NOT EVEN SELLING THEM IN AUSTRALIA. Try to talk to Sony here and they look at you blankly and tell you there's no such product as the PRS.

    C'mon, Sony. Australia is known as a continent full of gadget lovers (assuming a decent price). We'll embrace new tech faster than you can ship 'em. So why is it that we always seem to be at the bottom of the "release" list?

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  12. The Evil One

    The PC, Windows, Mac or Linux can be the ereader for those that have them.

    Why can't ebooks be stored in a PC or laptop and displayed on it.

    The PDF format is already available. IBM has for years been distributing its manuals as book reader files on CD. Now I believe they are switching to PDF. I have several IBM mainframe libraries on sets of CDs that would if printed use up all the wall space in my house as bookshelf space.

    Perhaps some people would like a more compact device but why can't it be PC based, the still to arrive tablet PC.

    If publishers restrict their e-books to particular hardware format then they are shooting themselves in the feet. The fact is that no one will want to lose his e-book library when the proprietary reader breaks down, everyone will want to be able to transfer libraries from one device to another perhaps made by a different manufacturer. if someone makes e-books that will not work on my PC, I will not be buying them.

  13. raving angry loony


    For me, the Kindle just doesn't have the feature set I'm looking for in a reader. Sony is right - there's a lot more work to do. The illiad iRex had SO much promise. Oh well, they lost the plot.

    What's strange to me is that SONY, of all companies, claims to realize that proprietary isn't the way to go. Unless they're just saying that it's only "proprietary they don't own" isn't the way to go? That's more likely. Any other interpretation would just be too weird.

  14. MJI Silver badge

    Sony proprietry formats

    I have used a few and I see no problems.

    Memory Stick is as usable as any other card design, all card readers seem to handle it.

    Minidisc was brilliant, I still have a Walkman and a player in the car.

    ATRAC - at least that was better than mp3

  15. lukewarmdog


    I just bought a load of books online secondhand.

    Paid more postage than for the product.

    Now if ebooks were the same.. less the postage cost then I *might* buy some hardware to support it. Thing is I got a trilogy and two cycles for less than a single ebook it appears.

  16. Ben Rosenthal

    torrent sites?

    eww, that's like so late 90's :p

    don't most modern books start off in a digital format, before they ever get near to a piece of dried wood pulp these days?

    I'm as shocked as the next guy about how much I've agreed with in this statement from Sony, maybe there are not totally beyond hope after all!

  17. CN Hill

    Price of ebooks

    I would think that every manuscript received by a publisher in the last 20 years has come in digital form. How long does it take to reformat it? 3 hours max? And then you stick on a server. And they can't make a profit at $9.99? Someone needs to look at their business model ...

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