Sony announced today that they’ll be selling a new e-reader with a touch screen and wireless capability (obviously to rival the Kindle) for $299. This new Sony e-reader, coming on the heels of the release of their Reader Pocket and Reader Touch Editions which lacking wireless capability, will be available in December and is being called the Daily Edition. Meh, to the name. Though it does make me think of some kind of cross between The Daily Show, the Daily Planet and NPR’s Morning Edition, all good things.
Is it just me or are the price tags for all these e-readers — Kindles, Sony, what have you — just still unappealing? $299? I don’t have that just lying around. Oh, I know it’s not ridiculously exorbitant. You can’t feed a third-world nation with that money, or even buy a decent lcd tv. But it’s not peanuts, at least not to me. And yes, I know, I was willing to shell out that much for my iPhone, but, well, it’s an iPhone. It calls people, and plays music, and goes on the Internet, and has games, keeps my calendar, gets me places, and makes the world generally a better place. The Daily Edition will just store books for me to read, and that’s it. Technically my iPhone (and yes, that’s as in “my preciousssss) can do that, too. And, you know, I may not have $299 lying around, but I do have all these books, old-fashioned and all, sure, but lying around already paid for, and waiting to be read. I can just keep reading those, and buying some new ones every now and then (most of them cost much less than $299) and even borrow them for free from the library. A lot of us reader-folk aren’t that annoyed by having to carry a book around, and most of us, when struck with the sudden urge to read a particular book, can wait the very short time it would take us to acquire it, should we so desire. (Amazon and Barnes & Noble both have pretty fast shipping. And again, the library.) My point is, the price tag is just too high. You’ve already got to convince me to change the way I do something, the way I read, something that’s fundamental to my life. Making it pricey just isn’t going to sweeten that deal… especially since, and I’m one of those gadgety people, you actually haven’t yet convinced me it’s worth doing at all.