Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sony eReaders, & Why they might win the “war”

From an article by Larry Dignan, forZDNet, on Sony’s devices reading multiple eBook formats:

Does Sony need a partnership with other e-book stores? Mullin said Sony’s plan is to support multiple stores and be wherever consumers buy and use books. Sony sees beyond its SonyStyle.com stores to libraries and other outlets. However, Sony’s store supports its own format while Google features PDFs and e-books on the ePub standard. Mullin said Sony will support them all. “Sony Reader supports ePub and plenty of stores support that format,” said Mullin. “We’re agnostic and encourage the bookstores in the market to provide content in an open format.”

Also, on the subject of colour screens, Mullin (Dignan’s source at Sony) had the following to say:

“When color is brought to market it has to be brought in a way that meets consumer expectations. There’s a tradeoff between readability and color. It’s also a tradeoff we’re not willing to make at this point.”

I’m with Mullin. A lot of people are asking where the colour is in eBooks. Well, it’s not necessary at the moment (in my opinion, because of what I read, it probably won’t be a deciding factor for me). If all you’re reading is text, then why do you need colour? So the cover images aren’t in colour, so what? Doesn’t ruin reading the book. If they could improve the focus of the text (resolution?), though, that would be nice.

On the PlasticLogic front, I’m disappointed to learn that they are going to be licensed exclusively through Barnes & Noble – another reason I think Sony’s got more of a chance in winning the “eBook Wars” (quite why everything has to be a “war” and not just competition is beyond me, and rather too martial and melodramatic for my taste) – by accepting/running most formats (or at least more than others), they have the greater potential. I’ve get eBooks from the Sony eBookstore and also Waterstone’s, and they are different formats and work perfectly. I’ve not bought any eBooks from B&N, but I’m going to check to see if they would work, first.

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