I first heard about the Sony Reader sometime last year and was immediately excited. For a while I wanted a device that
would simply read e-books and .pdf files, and nothing else. There are several excellent writers out there, such as Cory Doctorow, who have released their novels in .pdf format, and it would be nice to be able to read these novels without having to be sitting at a computer. I do most of my reading in bed before I go to sleep at night. I would much rather have something like the Sony Reader to read these files, rather than a laptop computer. So, when I first heard about the device, I thought my prayers were finally answered.
Unfortunately, my excitement was over when I heard the price of the device. Sony launched the Reader in September at a price of $349.99, or roughly $200 more dollars than I can justify spending on a device for reading in bed. I could buy a lot of paperback books for $349. According to PublishersWeekly.com, here is a quote from Sony’s Ron Hawkins concerning Sony’s target audience:
Heavy readers who are frequent flyers and technology enthusiasts are our target audience,” said Hawkins.
In other words, their target audience is nerds and rich book readers. Imagine if their target audience was simply people who enjoyed reading books and their target price was $100-$150. The Sony Reader could have revolutionized the way we read books like the iPod changed the way we listen to music (or made it more mainstream). This doesn’t even touch on the fact that the only e-Books the Reader works with are the proprietary Sony e-Book format.
So for now I will stick with reading paper books and reading e-Books on my P.C. Maybe someday, a company will launch an affordable, portable e-Book reader. However, I’m pretty sure it won’t be Sony.