[NTLK] Was "origami": Sony Reader

From: L.W. Brown <lwb_at_mac.com>
Date: Tue Apr 04 2006 - 19:00:02 EDT

Barnes & Noble Spurns New E-Book Device
Apr 4, 5:23 PM (ET)

NEW YORK (AP) - Barnes & Noble Inc. (BKS), the nation's largest
bookstore chain, is spurning the Sony Reader, a new electronic device
cited as a potential turning point for the tiny e-book market.

"We have sold e-readers before and they haven't done particularly
well," Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said Tuesday in
response to a query from The Associated Press.

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), the leading online book seller, also has no
plans to sell the device, according to its manufacturer, Sony
Electronics Inc. Amazon did not immediately return calls seeking

On Monday, Sony announced that Barnes & Noble's rival chain, Borders
Group Inc. (BGP), would be selling the e-reader at about 200 stores
around the country, starting this summer.

"Borders is committed to helping our customers enrich their lives
through knowledge and entertainment," Bill Nasshan, Borders' senior
vice president of trade books, said in a statement. "We are adding an
exciting, new book format that gives those who are passionate about
reading another way to indulge that passion."

Ron Hawkins, senior vice president of Personal Reader Systems
marketing at Sony Electronics, Inc., would not comment Tuesday on any
discussions with Barnes & Noble or Amazon, but said Sony was
impressed with Border's enthusiasm.

"Borders is the outlet where discussions really jelled into something
material," Hawkins said. "This is something that has to be sold. You
can't just hang it on a peg and expect it to sell itself. We're
working with retailers who will put that extra effort into promoting
the product."

Besides Borders, Sony will be selling the Reader at 30 Sony Style
stores nationwide and on its Web site. According to Sony, the Reader
will cost from $299 to $399.

Most e-books now are read on personal digital assistants, or PDAs,
with prices ranging from under $100 to more than $400.

Ever since they emerged in the late 1990s, when they were widely
labeled as the future of publishing, e-books have suffered because
there was no popular device to read them on. Previous readers have
been criticized for being difficult to look at and for lacking the
intimacy of a bound paper text.

According to the International Digital Publishing Forum, U.S. sales
for e-books were between $12 million and $15 million in 2005, a
fraction of the multibillion dollar publishing industry.

With its soft cover, high resolution and ability to last for hours on
a single charge, the Sony Reader has been praised by e-book advocates
as a breakthrough. The Reader was highly publicized at the
International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year.

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Received on Tue Apr 4 19:00:05 2006

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