Sony to re-launch its e-readers in JapanBy
Sony might be charming book lovers the world over with its alluring range of e-book readers though strangely, the same couldn’t be said of its own backyard. The electronics behemoth had pulled back its e-readers from the Japanese market in 2007 citing lack of adequate demand and had set out in search of greener pastures.
However, now with as much water that could flow under the bridge in three years time, Sony is claiming to the market to have matured and expanded enough to warrant re-launching its e-readers once again. Perhaps the meteoric rise of the new age gadgets like the iPad or the Kindle range of e-readers has something to do with the change in user preference of the usually tech savvy Japanese consumers that has led to wider acceptance of these devices. And now, Sony too wishes to have a pie of the lucrative market and has set itself a rather ambitious target to control at least 50 percent of the booming tablet and e-reader market. In numeric terms, that turns out to anything in excess of 300,000 e-reader shipment each year.
“Electronic books represent the biggest change since (Johannes) Gutenberg invented the printing press,” stated Sony Electronics Senior Vice President Fujio Noguchi who is the man in charge of the company’s e-reader business and further added: “We want to take advantage of this opportunity to spread Japan’s book culture to the rest of the world.”
Sony will start off December 10 when it will make available its Reader Pocket Edition with a 5 inch display which has been priced about 20,000 Yen or $240. The larger device with a 6 inch display will cost about 25,000 Yen or $298. Sony’s earlier attempt at the domestic e-reader market had bombed as the LIBRIe e-reader that it had launched had failed to click with consumers.
However, Sony is not the only one eager to catch on with the rise in demand for e-book reading devices as other players too are set to storm the segment. So while Samsung is readying the Galaxy Tab for a market assault, Sharp too is getting into the act with its Galapagos range of tablet/e-readers while NEC Biglobe Ltd. will be launching its Smartia tablet on the 6th of December. While most of Sony’s competitors are entering the fray with tablet PCs that also include e-book reading functionality, Sony, on the other hand, is relying on its e-readers to do the trick for it.
“We have pursued readability with the Reader. Many people say that they want a specialized terminal for reading,” said Noguchi.