sony-readers-leaked_01 Our sister blog Gadgetell reported yesterday on some new Sony Reader devices Engadget turned up in a slideshow presentation. The 5” Pocket Edition and 6” Touch Edition will reportedly introduce new clear touchscreen technology (no more glare like on the Sony PRS-700 Reader I reviewed!), 2 gigabytes of internal storage, a faster page turn, and increased battery life offering “up to 10,000 page turns on a single charge”.

sony-readers-leaked_02 There is no information on price (though Sony famously said it was going to compete on quality instead of trying to match the roller-coaster drops in other readers’ prices), or on the rumored addition of 3G to Sony Reader models.

Are these new readers going to be enough to bring Sony back into the game? They’ve largely dropped off the radar in the current flurry of bookstore e-book reader launches. Without a big-name bookstore partnership of its own, Sony is at a serious marketing disadvantage.


  1. A previous post suggested Teleread (Aug 16) was not going to spread rumours on the Sony release but stick to facts:

    Sony has invited TeleRead to a presentation, at the end of the month, about the future of the Sony Reader and when we get some real stuff we’ll let you know as soon as we can.

    While the SonyInsider and Engadget claims may be credible, they are not in sync either. Notably: is there WiFi in one or both units? Is there 3G? what about Pearl eInk — or is contrast improved through a firmware update just as Amazon applied to its Kindles in June with 2.5.3?

    So, why continue to report rumours if Teleread will have access to the real info shortly?

    If there IS some news here, I’d point to the total silence from any vendor on Pearl eInk, which appears to be an exclusive screen for Kindle in the short run and possibly through 2010.

  2. Chris Meadows’s Sony post should remain up, despite the overlap with the earlier item; and please don’t remove this comment, either. Thanks! Chris does include material not previously in TeleRead, such as artwork said to be promoting the new Sony models after their unveiling.

    Now—a discussion of the greater issues. Reputable news organizations, including the NYT and WaPo, constantly carry word of selected rumors.

    Regardless of the details of which model will or won’t have WiFi and so on, it’s useful to alert TeleRead community members that new Sony e-readers may be on the way—especially if these members are about to buy—and if art is available, then so much the better.

    Should potential shoppers wait until the end of the month in the case of the Sony models? I’d have been very POed at TeleRead if it had withheld the widely circulated information, report, rumor, whatever you want to call it, that the models were coming. Editors are not gods.

    The Sony-related tidbit qualified for mention in the opinions of major sites such as CrunchGear (see URL below from Techmeme), as well as CNET (noted by Paul in his brief mention of the anticipated Sonys preceding Chris’s own post). In such a situation, TeleRead can report that a post or article is unverified but that other sites are linking to it. With careful handling, TeleRead could even have been the first to pick up the initial lowdown from Sony Insider—while using a question mark in the headline.

    Even in Chris’s place, with others having gone before him in picking up the Engadget-related info, I might have used more question marks than he included. But he definitely did far more good than harm in alerting shoppers of the new models almost surely on the way.

    TeleRead readers are not babies. They can judge for themselves, just so they know about the unknowns. So why not carefully convey news in a timely way—especially in a forward-looking area like e-book technology where consumers constantly worry about their buys becoming obsolete?

    Last I knew, Sony did not own TeleRead. Many excellent people work for the company, granted, and Sony deserves fair treatment; but TeleRead’s major responsibility is to readers. Its credibility for advertisers and potential advertisers reflects readers’ trust. Advertisers are readers, too, you know. Ignoring widely distributed accounts in TeleRead’s area of coverage would be a disaster in that regard and maybe even hurt advertising sales. If nothing else, TeleRead and similar blogs have a duty to comment on these accounts if writers and editors question the facts.

    Apparently the people at Gadgetell, also owned by NAPCO, agree with WaPo, the NYT and TeleRead as it operated under me. Chris’s very first sentence in his post cites Gadgetell’s pickup of the Engadget information.

    I’d much rather not get involved in journalistic decisions, now that I’ve sold TeleRead; but this one is at the heart of TeleRead’s mission—to increase “ordinary” readers’ access to information, just so it’s presented in context.

    Bottom line: Keep reading TeleRead. And don’t inhibit Chris or anyone there from offering thoughtful commentary on forthcoming products. This is an e-book blog, not a museum.

    David Rothman,
    Founder, TeleRead

    Techmeme link to mentions of the Sony report:

  3. Just to clarify, I did not suggest Chris’s post should be removed. Nor do I believe Teleread readers were “in the dark” as the rumour had already been posted in the thread I referred to. This same rumour is all over the map and boils down to two sources: SonyInsider and Engadget, each with somewhat different slants.

    What I WAS asking for was something more — analysis, perhaps — and I offered a tidbit: it’s striking that neither rumour includes Pearl e-ink which implies that Kindle may have sown up this technology through the Xmas selling season of 2010.

    What I value about Teleread is the generally sane, level-headed reporting of the facts and the analysis (although that’s not always so level-headed; that’s another story).

    I’m delighted Teleread will have a direct feed from Sony shortly — and that we know that’s coming. If there’s more in the meantime, let it be insight based on what we know and not more spinning on the rumours.

  4. Many thanks for your note, Alexander. I’m delighted that you yourself don’t want Chris’s post pulled down. The problem is that the current rumor policy leaves up open all kinds of interpretations, regardless of your own wishes. Ideally management will now understand the intimidation potential that arises. Chris was clearly worried.

    Yet another consideration is that TeleRead has enjoyed a rep for thorough coverage of e-book news, and, yes, there are people who at least in the past have relied on this site as their main or even only source on this topic. If nothing else, intelligent comment on current rumors is a useful way to keep things in perspective whether or not people read other sites. Keep in mind the English majors who would rather focus on editing books—or overseeing this activity—than on following all the major e-book and tech blogs. Great if they have time. But many may not.

    I couldn’t agree more with you on the importance of the Pearl screen or the lack thereof. But Chris may have been thinking, “Maybe the leakers simply chose to save that fact until later.” Perhaps he could have shared with us his full thoughts and noted that he could only comment on the known rumors, not the entire truth. But hindsight is easy, no?

    Like you, I’m eager for TeleRead to get the details from Sony directly (ideally with comment on the Pearl situation!). I just don’t want everything on hold until the Sony light flashes green. All TeleRead has to do is be transparent and let readers know, for example, that it lacks confirmation of the reports from elsewhere.

    Transparency is a great thing; in the Net era, editors and readers are in this all together, and I think that’s terrific. When a TeleRead headline is inaccurate and a commenter picks up on the error, for example, the editor should not just quietly change the headline. Rather the editor should acknowledge the mistake—I made my own share!—and thank the reader for the catch. I love the idea of TeleRead having thousands of “editors,” aka community members. Do your part and keep commenting, whether on the inevitable errors or to share your own analysis, since even the best writers and editors can’t think of everything!


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