Thursday, October 4, 2007

On ebook readers (again)

For a couple of years now I’ve really wanted to buy an ebook reader. Living outside the U.S. makes it very hard to get the books I want, when I want them and at a good (or at least fair) price.

My big problem with ebooks is that I can’t afford them LOL, but a couple of days ago I saw this post, over at The Book Binge, and this ebookwise looks pretty interesting and affordable. I’m doing some research on it and will probably buy it after I get home.

In the mean time, Sony has a new ebook reader out; pretty much the same thing as before and just as expensive, both the device and the ebooks. I don’t know how they plan to make a niche for themselves in the market selling at such high prices. I’d rather have a physical book for $6.99 than an ebook for $6.25, or something like that. The cost vs. value on this is pretty ridiculous if you ask me.

Sony has unveiled a new version of its Reader e-book, and the gadget press is respectful, noting that the device is slimmer and has a better screen. But Sony’s e-book still suffers from the same flaw that plagues Amazon’s rumored ebook: A lousy consumer proposition.

Sony is still charging a lot of money ($300) for a device that doesn’t really solve any problem for readers—or provide a real economic incentive to buy digital books. Sony’s Connect store does offer some books at a discount—a bundle of 3 titles from Dean Koontz’ back-catalog go for $19—but most titles are priced close to the physical product. Sony is selling a digital version of Bridge Of Sighs, Richard Russo’s new novel, for $14.36—just an 11% discount of off Amazon’s $16.17 hardcover price. If Sony, Amazon, or anyone else is going to make ebooks work, they’re going to need to solve the pricing problem. Otherwise the gadgets will remain a novelty item.


9 comment(s):

Blogger Midas said...

I think what we need is a iBook. What the hell is that?

Actually, I prefer book to electronic book...but I understand about not having the book available where you are. I used to be in the Philippines in the 80s and could only salivate over Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High series.

10/04/2007 07:25:00 AM  

Blogger Terri said...

My Hubby hasd the Sony Reader which is a REALLY nice unit. Although the price is close to a regular book it is still cool as you can carry around like 1000 books with you at one time in a little package. I would use it mostly for e-books from Ellora's Cave, Changling and the likes, but he like that he can have a few books on there and he can sneak it into work as well as it is MUCH thinner than a real book.

10/04/2007 08:47:00 AM  

Anonymous Sarah McCarty said...

I have the ebookwise and love it. It sits very comfortably in one hand and is operable with that same hand. I went into the store and picked up the Sony reader and beyond the fact that it's not as sophisticated feature wise as the eookwise which is many years older, I thought it was horrible ergonomically. Really horrible. Hubby thought so too it requires two hands to hold and the buttons are placed bizarrely.

IOW- I'm still waiting for a better ebook reader than what I have at one third the price. When they make it, I'll be all over it.

10/04/2007 03:01:00 PM  

Blogger Isabella said...

When is Amazon going to release the kindle? Now that is an ugly ebook reader. Though, if they are going to give big discounts on ebooks and if it's easy and comfortable to use, I guess that's something.

10/04/2007 04:17:00 PM  

Blogger Jordis Juice said...

You know what dissuades me about buying an ebook reader? Ebooks cost MORE than a hardcover! WTF. Seriously. I know there are advantages of ebooks - less space, easy to carry, etc - but why would I buy an ebook (and the ebook reader) when I can get the REAL books cheaper?

10/05/2007 02:05:00 AM  

Blogger Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said...

I'm reading almost exclusively ebooks - I find them much cheaper than buying books in Italy in English!

I used an old Palm Zire at the beginning, and now I've moved on to a HP Jornada. I like the Jornada since I am able to install eReader, Microsoft Reader, and Mobipocket on the same device.

It's smaller than a book, but not uncomfortable for me. I'm waiting for the the ebook war to settle down a bit and for some standard to "win" so we can focus on the devices getting better and not about what format we have to buy!

10/05/2007 06:35:00 PM  

Blogger Jolie said...

What I want in an ebook reader: backlight, color, search feature, touch screen, virtual highlights, bookmarks. Asking too much? This is the reason why I keep putting off buying an ebook reader. Unless they come up with all the things I want, I will not buy one. What's the point? I can read the damn ebooks on my laptop anyway.

Also, the prices of those ebooks are very expensive. I just think if they want to attract more patrons, they will lower those prices. I for one will always buy paperbacks because there is nothing better than the real thing.

I've been hoping that Amazon will come up with some creative marketing. Though, looking at that kindle... oh well.

10/06/2007 05:09:00 AM  

Anonymous Rizza said...

Like Sara, I'm from Italy, too. I have the Sony reader (the old one) and although it is not as attractive as the new version, I have grown to love it. It's hard to acquire some titles in my area so I resort to ebooks. I think the ebookwise is good but more and more companies are releasing ebook readers, better ones. I'm waiting till the prices drop down to replace my old reader.

10/06/2007 08:14:00 AM  

Blogger Holly said...

What I want in an ebook reader: backlight, color, search feature, touch screen, virtual highlights, bookmarks.

the ebookwise has all of that..with the exception of color. But it has the backlight, virtual highlights, markups, bookmarks, etc. I love it.

I'm not sure where some of you are getting your info about the cost of eBooks, but depending on what format you buy them in and from what website, a lot of times they're cheaper than print books. For example: I just bought Sea Swept by Nora Roberts from Books on Board ( and it was 6.27. On Amazon it's 7.99. That's reasonable, I think.

10/07/2007 07:10:00 PM