New Sony Reader, same old busted strategy

“Sony has a new e-reader out”:http://techcrunch.com/2011/08/31/sonys-latest-kindle-killer-is-worlds-lightest-ereader/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29 and it seems to be very nice hardware, I’d love to buy one. Let me check out their reader store and see what their book inventory looks like these days:

Oh. And this kind of sums up Sony’s strategy. Nicely designed premium hardware, but off in their own software and service planet, which is not well executed. I’ve tried to give Sony the benefit of the doubt — I owned the “first Sony Reader back in 2007”:http://theludwigs.com/2007/01/im-a-sony-reader-convert/ — but they have failed to act on the big picture here. A big part of the Kindle’s awesomeness is the great store backend, the seamless download experience with the store, and the availability of Kindle software on every device on the planet so that I can read my purchases on my PC, my Mac, my phone, my Kindle, my iPad, on the web, pretty much anywhere. Sony totally whiffs on this total experience. It is kind of sad because I would love to see a first rate competitor to the Kindle, and Sony has some great assets to bring to bear — retail stores, solid hardware design skills.

In the long run, Amazon wants to sell digital goods, Sony wants to make great devices — I have to wonder why Sony doesn’t abase themselves, drop their own store, let Amazon run the backend for the Sony device, and make the Reader the best Kindle-compatible device in the world. Any other strategy just seems pointless.

Permanence of ebooks

So I am starting to read a new book on my Kindle and just after the Library of Congress info I see that:

“The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences–Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.”

Good to know.

The Nook dude at the Barnes&Nobles looked forlorn today

How bad would it be to be a Nook pusher right now? The Kindle has its adherents, the iPad is out there, why would anyone buy a Nook? I have to think that B&N is going to bail on this strategy at some point.

Amazon on the other hand I think is playing its hand well. At the end of the day, I doubt that Amazon cares that much about maintaining control over the Kindle hardware — it was just a vehicle for jumpstarting ebook sales. If people prefer to consume ebooks on phones or iPads or PCs or whatever, Amazon is there with the Kindle software and nice sync’ing of state across all your bookreading devices. I’d expect to see them continue to invest in the software and service asset, and it wouldn’t shock me if they sold the Kindle asset to some hardware company at some point.

Apple faces an interesting conundrum — why would you buy a book in the Apple store which can only be read on the iPad, when you could just as easily buy it in the Kindle store and read it in a dozen places?

Another thought — so many people look at the Kindle vs iPad battle as if it is some head-to-head winner-take-all cagematch. In fact tho, as the cost of electronics keeps driving down to zero, I’d suspect that rather than one unified device in my bag, I’ll have many smart devices all sync’ing to shared data in the cloud. Magazines, books, and newspapers all coexisted just fine in the old world, I carried them all in my bag. No reason why I won’t carry several different smart devices in my bag with different form factors and benefits. As long as they all sync data to the cloud, I’ll be happy (again, nice job Amazon).

Douglas Preston and entitlement

“Preston is exhibiting that he knows deeply what it means to feel ‘entitlement'”:http://chamberfour.com/2010/02/11/on-the-word-entitlement/. My reaction when I read Preston’s quote was exactly the same as this writer. Fortunately his books are throw-away fluff, and not even good throw-away fluff, so I will miss nothing if I never buy one again.

Skiff — huh?

“Skiff e-reader targeted at magazines and newspapers”:http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/technologybrierdudleysblog/2010697015_ces_lg_sprint_launch_skiff_new.html — OK I love gadgets and will try darn near anything, but this is a headscratcher for me. I love my Kindle because a) it is way easier to travel with than 5 books, and b) the e-books are generally cheaper than print books, and as a heavy reader, this is hundreds of dollars a year. I get huge payback because of these facts.

What payback will I get from Skiff? It won’t be any easier to travel with than 5 magazines really — magazines don’t take much room, and I dispose of them as I go (to the degree that I read any magazines at all anymore). And magazines aren’t that expensive, there is no way I can save that much money.

I understand the publishers are casting about for a lifesaver but this seems like a waste.

Haven't signed up for the KindleDX yet

Official launch of the Kindle DX – Core77. I bought the Kindle and Kindle2 the instant I could. I am holding off on the DX.  Why?

* It is not clear to me that it enhances recreational reading at all — and in fact the size makes it less convenient

* The cost savings on textbooks aren’t large enough for me to get excited yet

* And more importantly the usage model of a textbook is different than that of a recreational book. Lots of flipping to sections, flipping back and forth, index usage, marking places, etc — does the device make this better?

* Can I use it in an open book exam setting?

So I am not sure yet. Eventually the weight savings may compel me but I am not there yet.

New Kindle is mostly awesome

Screen much sharper, controls much better, lighter, thinner, ui better.

But guys, why f$&k with the keyboard shortcuts? Why change the Alt-TextSize shortcut for toggling awake? The key combo doesn’t do anything useful now. And why drop the Alt-t shortcut to show the time? Again it does nothing now.

Nits I know but annoying.

Trying to force textile to point to kindle editions

I use textile to create all my book links in the blog. as a reader pointed out, this unfortunately doesn’t link very directly to the kindle edition of books. So experimenting with textile below:

* “The Story of French”:amazon — this is a textile generated link just using the title
* “The Story of French (Kindle)”:amazon — a text with some kindle wordage. oops doesn’t work, when you paren a word it shows up as alternate text and is not sent to amazon as part of the search string
* “The Story of French — Kindle”:amazon — another kindle test. this one takes you to a search results page with Kindle edition first
* “The Story of Frennch, Kindle Edition”:amazon — another kindle test. blows chunks, doesn’t find any edition of the book

ok so i guess pattern 3 is the best. it is too bad that pattern 2 doesn’t work.

Kindle reset

5 months into Kindle use and I had to reset it for the first time ever, it locked up this morning and was unresponsive to every button. To reset, you take the back cover off and there is a Reset hole to stick a paperclip in. A few minutes to reboot and good as new. I guess once every 5 months isn’t terrible.

The Kindle — changing my life.

Excellent review here — agree with most of it. The integrated wireless and the Amazon.com integration make this thing sing. It has completely changed my reading and my buying habits — if a book I want doesn’t have a Kindle edition, i save it in my wishlist for later, and I’ll probably only buy it once a Kindle version shows up. And the Kindle disease is spreading, I just learned that Dad has one as well!