Sony to make an e-reader comeback in Japan
After a three year hiatus, Sony plans to offer e-readers to its home Japanese market as the company seeks control of the growing industry. Sony hopes to have a modest sales goal of 300,000 units during the first 12 months of release with two initial models — and hopes to control 50% of Japan’s e-reader market in two years.
Starting on December 10th, the Sony Reader Pocket Edition will be sold in Japan, using black and white e-ink technology rather than color e-ink used in some other devices. The new Sony e-reader is smaller and lighter than a previous model that was available to Japanese consumers in the past.
Roll out will begin with the Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition in 300 stores across Japan, with prices of $240 and $300 USD (20,000 yen/25,000 yen).
The Japanese electronics company will also have an e-book store to debut with 20,000 e-books available for purchase. Sony will have to compete with the Amazon Kindle, the most popular e-reader in the US, while other companies carefully monitor Japanese interest in e-readers.
In the US market, Sony slashed e-reader prices to help generate sales as additional rivals hit the market.
The Japanese market loves consumer electronics, and the addition of new Sony e-readers could lead to a balance of power. It’s not uncommon to see mobile phones and handheld game consoles used on the street and on the subway in Japan — but a void left in the e-reader market could now be filled.
Sony left the market in 2007 because consumers had more interest in reading books and comics on mobile phones. However, the rise of the Apple iPad tablet, Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader, and other products has caused a shift in interest while e-readers continue to develop in popularity. The iPad is a unique case, but tablets still aren’t expected to kill off e-readers any time soon.
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