August 13th, 2009

Sony reader

eBook wars

This morning when I opened today's Style section of the Washington Post, what should I see but a full page ad for the new Barnes & Noble ebook store. The ad explains how easy it is to buy their ebooks, which can then be read on PCs, Macs, iPhones, and Blackberries. Each device was shown in full color— naturally, none of them was a Kindle— and $9.99 is listed as the price for "bestsellers."

Then when I checked the NY Times online, they had an article about how the new Sony eReaders will support only EPub format. These will not be DRM-free EPub files, mind you. Sony is changing their DRM software, but not doing away with the idea. Further, the article says that Sony plans to launch a third new eReader by the end of the year, in addition to the two launching very soon, and that this third eReader will have wireless (no mention whether it will be wifi or 3G or both).

So, Sony is clearly nor rolling over and playing dead. Kindle may have jumped ahead on popularity, but Amazon has made a few mistakes, and it looks like Sony is loading both barrels and is coming out shooting. Likewise, Barnes & Noble is not ready to yield ground to Amazon, either.

By selling both the eReader and the ebooks, Amazon has two sets of competitors gunning for it. And the eReader side is getting crowded already. I wonder if the ebook side will heat up, too?

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