Adherence to e-book standards would help, too, in terms of encouraging school and library purchases. One solution to facilitate this would be for the IDPF to pick up the OpenReader specs while having more reliable enforcement than OpenReader standard has had so far. I’m skeptical that Sony will get too far in the long run with its proprietary BBeB format, which Adobe’s Bill McCoy has correctly warned will be left behind by a reflowable XHTML-based standard.
Q: Could you give us an update on the Sony Reader?
Stringer: We are very happy with it. It’s selling as fast as we can make it. We’re not making enough. We’ve been very cautious in launching it because, as you know, it failed in Japan two years ago. This is a totally different version with totally different economics and software, and we understand that Amazon is also coming on with something in the relatively short term. So, we need to get a second reader out. We probably need a Wi-Fi component.
But we’re very pleased that the acceptance from the consumer is unusually strong. I don’t want to be a salesman, but people love the device. How many ultimately can be sold is a question mark. I think the next iteration will be the educational marketplace. We’ve sent some to England. I haven’t heard back from the English publishers that I’ve sent them to, but clearly there is a component in the English-speaking world where you can stack so much educational content that kids can take [the entire content of] their whole [collection of] textbooks [in their Sony Reader].
We didn’t go there [into education] at first because there was a lot of caution. A lot of my contemporaries in Japan weren’t sure about this. This has been a peculiarly American dynamic. We’re well aware of the potential publishing costs and paper costs, and it has a unique ecological advantage.
Detail: While the Sony has lived up to my expectations that it would be a successful niche machine, remember that it is a long way from a mainstream product with an iPod level of popularity. A successful school and library push could be just what Sony needs.
(Via Fugubot at MobileRead.)