With Mother’s Day this Sunday, retailers are pushing tablets, and especially e-readers as gifts for dear old mom. There are ads for the Amazon Kindle, which can be found in Staples, Target and Best Buy, the Barnes and Noble Nook Color, which are at Barnes and Noble and Best Buy, as well as tablets from Apple, Dell, Motorola and Samsung. But you don’t see anything for the Sony e-Reader.
With Mother’s Day this Sunday, all the ads lately have been about what to get Mom. One common element I’ve seen (beyond the usual of appliances, jewelry, and gardening) is e-readers. Amazon.com has the Kindle on their front page again, touting how it’s the perfect gift for Mom. It’s $259 for the 6″ screen, and includes a wireless connection to Amazon for instant downloading (and gratification).
Sony, maker of the e-Reader, has been pushing it’s low end reader, the Pocket Edition, which has the least number of features. You can find this device at Office Depot, Staples and Best Buy going for $149 through Mother’s Day. You have to connect it to a computer to get the e-books on it, but it also now comes in a “special” pink edition. Ooooo…. Yeah, I’m not impressed by that either. I’ve looked over the Pocket Edition, and wasn’t really impressed with it compared to it’s price. But it’s the least expensive e-ink device out right now.
Then, I found out about a new device. The Aluratek Libre e-Reader. It’s a low tech e-reader, that’s also low priced. Online it can be found for around $150, but K-Mart will have it for only $120 through this weekend. It has all the basic function of an e-reader, but the big difference on this device is that it doesn’t use e-ink. It’s actually a black & white LCD screen they call e-paper. The plus about this is that there isn’t the flash that e-ink devices have on page turns, and it’s still fairly quick. It also can view images and play mp3s, even while you’re reading, something the other don’t do. It comes with a 2Gig SD card with 100 public domain books on it to start. It’s rather stripped down like the Sony Pocket Edition. What makes this a better device (to me) is the SD card slot, and lower price. With the Libre, you can have different SD cards for different reading material. One for e-books, one for images (or comics), and one for audio books (or mp3 if you perfer. That makes this a more versatile device, even if it can’t go online.
For someone that just wants to read ebooks and doesn’t need a backlit screen, dictionary, make annotations, or go online, you know like the experience a paper book gives you, this actually looks like a pretty good deal. It’s not difficult to use, so non-tech savvy moms that want to get in on the e-book revolution can with little work. Aluratek also has a step-by-step guide to getting books from ebooks.com, and comments on product reviews of this device suggest that it will read ebooks borrowed through libraries. Here’s a fairly thorough review of the device:
Think carefully about what your Mother would want and/or could handle. Don’t buy what you think she would want. An e-Reader is a personal device, much like a book. It needs to be tailored to the reader’s needs. Don’t go for all the bells and whistles just because that’s what YOU would want. You want what you give Mom to be used and appreciated, and not left in the box, stuffed in a corner of the closet because she doesn’t want to hurt your feelings by returning it or giving it away. It’s Mother’s Day for a reason. Make sure it’s something she wants.
We knew it was in the works, and now Sony has unveiled it. The third e-Reader in their hardware line, the Reader Daily Edition. Sony announced the new device on Tuesday at a press conference. The Daily Edition is different from it’s older brothers in 2 important ways. One, it has a larger touch screen, coming in at 7 in. And two, it has built-in wireless capabilities, provided by AT&T. Finally, Sony has a device that can truly compete with the Kindle! ….Maybe.
Sony, in an attempt to be competitive with the Amazon and it’s Kindle, announced this week it would be releasing two new versions of it e-reader and a price drop on it’s books. The Reader Pocket edition is slightly smaller than the original e-Reader, with a 5 in diagonal screen, and a price point of $199, $100 lower than the Kindle 2. The Touch Edition will have the standard 6in diagonal screen and has a touch screen with virtual keyboard. The touch screen will give the reader a more book like experience with page turns and the ability to highlight and add notes with a finger or stylus. And Sony will now match Amazon’s price on new, bestsellers of $9.99.
While the drop in prices are nice, and may attract more people to Sony, it still doesn’t have a wireless connection. Users of the Sony E-Reader have to download their books to their computers and then upload them to the E-Reader. After Amazon’s “1984” fiasco, is that really a bad thing? Sure, it might be convenient to be able to download a book anytime (in the US only), but Amazon has shown it can and will take back books from the Kindle. Even though they’ve said they won’t do that again, can they really be trusted?
I think Sony marketing should grab up this ball and run with it! Turn the lack of Whispernet into an advantage, instead of the disadvantage everyone keeps making it. “The Sony e-Reader: No Takebacks.” Push that the user has control over the device and what goes on, AND comes off it. I personally prefer to have control over the content I buy and put on the hardware I buy. I’m enough of an adult to take responsibility for what I download and install, and don’t need a “big brother” looking over my shoulder. If Amazon wants to be another Apple, then Sony should try to be a Google.
While looking around for links to add to my e-reading section, I stumbled upon these posts about putting manga on the Sony E-Reader. They feature the PR-500, but the current, less expensive version, the PR-505, is essentially the same. These include an extensive comparison of color comics, scanalated manga, and Tokyopop manga available through Sony’s store. There are also links to a conversion guide to convert scans to a format optimal for reading, and Manga2Ebook, and RasterFarian, programs used in the conversion guide.
Here are some videos as well, showing manga on the E-Reader:
You won’t have to turn your head sideways for this one:
I don’t hang out at Tokyopop.com anymore, but I still get all their newsletters, just to keep abreast with what’s going on. In the newest newsletter, there is a poll about e-books. Which would you prefer? Apple iphone, Sony e-Reader, Amazon Kindle, or none, reading paper books. Accompanying this in the newsletter is a video of a comparison review of the e-Reader and the Kindle. Viewing the video shows Tokyopop’s bias for the e-Reader (as that is where they have OEL manga available). The influence of this video seems to be reflected in poll, as the e-Reader has the second most votes, and most for a digital device.
I have to hand it to Tokyopop for continuing to show some support for ebooks and the e-Reader. With it’s recent problems, publishing books electronically can be a good call to keep the fanbase happy while Tokyopop struggles through these tough times. It could also help to grow ebooks, in the same way that they did with OEL. If they would keep their books updated and make them easy to get, they might just make ebooks successful.
Earlier this week, I ranted about manga publishers and their head-in-the-sand attitudes toward digital distribution of books. One of their seemingly cited reasons for not supporting digital books is the lack of e-readers in circulation. Sony and Amazon seem to be trying to rectify that.