Sony eBook Store Pricing Expedition

The Sony Book Store

I wanted to have a look around, price things, yah? I really liked their eReader so was very interested to know how much they were charging for eBooks. Guess what: still a little high.

New Moon: The Twilight Saga, Book 2 by Stephenie Meyer
eBook Publish Date: August 07, 2007 Filesize: 2.28 MB
List Price: $10.99 Save 10.0%
You Pay: $9.89

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
eBook Publish Date: September 29, 2008 Filesize: 1.51 MB
List Price: $17.99 Save 33.0%
You Pay: $11.99

ALSO: BESTSELLERS pricing ranged from numbers like $7.19 up to $11.99.
For example: Ken Follet’s World Without End they list at $22.00 and after a 46% discount sell it to you for $11.99.

So, okay. I know, they’re trying. They’re making the attempt. But it’s still a lot of money per book, don’t you think? You always have to figure in the $400 for the machine to read it.

How the Sony eBook Store Works

Click the above link for the complete “how to.” It looks pretty straightforward. You’ve got to set up your account at the Sony eBook Store. Then you buy the eBooks you want and download them to your PC. You upload them to your Reader from there.

There’s special eBook Library software (a.k.a. “EBL”) you have to use to create and access your account information and to purchase, download, and transfer eBooks to your Reader with the same software.

It’s all there at the link–definitely a nice set up, but I’m going to harp about the prices again. We need cheaper eBooks!

Readius – the first Pocket eReader

redius2Ok, this is coming from Readius.

I was doing some research and stumbled upon this thing. I have no idea how durable it would be with a rollable display, but man. Don’t you just want to up and marry a cool looking piece of tech like this? I mean, Spock would have one of these tucked into the back pocket of his cutoffs. Wouldn’t he?

Click the picture for the full animation. I don’t know when it’s available or what it costs, but I’m in love. I know, shallow.

Redius Demo

A Kindle Store Visit

I popped into knowing that industry leaders would be sharing the wealth right? We’ve been over the Kindle Wireless Reading Device here.

So here’s a brief overview of  Kindle Books:

I found some fairly sensible prices:

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) by Stephenie Meyer (Kindle Edition – Aug 8, 2007) – Kindle Book
Buy: $6.04 Auto-delivered wirelessly to Kindle
The paperback sells for the same Price $6.04, so the purchase of a Kindle wireless reading device doesn’t pay.

I found that their average price for a Kindle book new release was in the $9.99 to 11.99 range – still too high, if you ask me; but you can see that they are giving this some serious thought. Considering you’re paying roughly the same price to buy the paperback, there is little incentive to go eBook or lay out the green ($359) for a Kindle.

For example:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (Kindle Edition – Sep 30, 2008) – Kindle Book
Buy: $9.99 Auto-delivered wirelessly to Kindle

versus the book:

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean (Hardcover – Sep 30, 2008)
Buy new: LIST PRICE: $17.99 AMAZON PRICE: $12.23  Eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.

So, buying the eBook (Kindle) saves you $2.24 but you still have to put out $359 to read it. Doesn’t make sense to me.

The pricing does suggest they’re beginning to think this stuff through. Especially when you think back to its origins and Stephen King’s Plant dollar a chapter buy…

It’s such a big audience and a new market to develop, you’d think they’d lower the price to promote lots of sales. If ever a business wanted to shout about VOLUME! VOLUME! VOLUME! It would be on the world wide web.’s Kindle Store

A pricing expedition to’s Kindle Store yielded interesting results. More soon…

eBookwise – 1150 eBook Reading device

The eBookwise-1150 eBook Reading Device from eBookwise, (a fictionwise company) is certainly priced to sell. At $115.95 with free U.S. shipping, it looks like a nice starter unit at first pass.

It has a backlit screen, and from the image provided is reminiscent of those old handheld video games. So, it’s anybody’s guess how that would be for extended reading. (These companies really have to start leaving a few of these devices around for people to play with…)


The 1150 eBook Reading Device boasts 4MB ram, 64MB internal Flash for program and content storage. Which, keeping today’s memory hungry designers in mind, must be a tight fit.  An indicator of this is the expanded content storage option on SmartMedia Memory Cards, up to 128MB. That looks like a cap on storage, but it still equates to a hundred books or so, which at today’s eBook prices represents a thousand dollar library, yah. Wow! Don’t want to lose track of these babies.

I say it ‘looks’ like an excellent starter unit, because they do not offer a currently supported method for transferring Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format files to the eBookwise-1150. I don’t know how anybody could market a device that does not offer this. You can’t swing a dead digital cat these days without hitting a PDF formatted file.

Rich Text Format (.rtf)
Microsoft Word (.doc)
Plain Text (.txt)
Rocket eBook Editions (.rb)
HTML (.htm or .html)

Has anybody out there tried the 1150? The price is right so that has me worried.

I’m not cheap, just realistic. eBook readers will not take off without reasonable prices for books and readers. It’s early in the story, so we’re bound to see some wild price fluctuations. Considering the amount of R&D going into handheld devices these days, it’s amazing they haven’t broken the $99.95 line yet.

Oh, and we need an eBook reader that’s omnivorous–able to crack any eBook format. Anything else leaves too much power in the manfacturer’s hands. They’d get to call the shots on what we read, how much it costs and where we can get it. I like options. The digital age is all about options.

Happy New Year!

Here’s a great way to start 2009. An eReader that lists for under $150.00! I stumbled on it while researching eBook prices at Fictionwise.

More on the story shortly.

Barnes and Noble’s eBook Store is Closed

I took it for granted that every modern bookseller would be moving into the eBook market by now. I visited Barnes and Noble to dig around their digital book bag and see how they’re pricing eBooks. (I know’s over there breathing heavily, but they’re so integrated with KINDLE it’s hard to mention one without the other…and I already mentioned Kindle in the eReader section—more about Amazon later…) I was surprised to find that Barnes and Noble’s eBook store is closed. Check the link to see for yourself. Unbelievable! They discontinued sales of eBooks back in 2003. Apparently, they’re still expecting the eBook and eBook market to go the way of the dodo—maybe they think all these newfangled computers are marked for extinction too. And they’re still out of it! I’ll give them marks for consistency, if a failing grade for lack of imagination. They have since bought Sterling Publishing, and have got a publishing service going. (I noticed they do not receive electronic submissions from authors either, so you can tell they’re keeping up with the times. Yah! Consistent…)

First Stop:

I was hoping to start some serious conversations about eBook pricing, so I began my research digging around a bit over at and focused a search on fantasy and scifi, thinking those readers would be most likely to dig reading eBooks in the first place. You know, the whole future tech, I’m a silicon zombie kind of thing. And that being the case, I thought I’d find the best prices…since they represent a market that is already sold on tech and most likely to buy in…

There was the hint of realistic pricing in the FANTASY section:

Dark Desires After Dusk
By: Cole, Kresley
Published by: Pocket Ebooks  Price: $6.99

But it suffered ridiculous mood swings:

From Dead to Worse
By: Harris, Charlaine
Published by: Ace   Price: $24.95

And under the science fiction section I found one price closer to the mark:

Alien Assignation
By: Redmond, Jeffrey – Published by: Double Dragon Publishing   Price: $5.99

Everything was going well until:

By: Clarke, Arthur C.; Baxter, Stephen – Published by: Ballantine Books  Price: $25.95

WOW… Jesus, Arthur C.! Isn’t that a lot of money for an eBook, a digital file, a megabyte of information? When you figure in the cost of the eReader…

Merry Christmas from!

In keeping with the season, I’m doing a virtual shop over the holidays. I’ll be checking out eBook specs at online eBook stores and posting my findings over the next few days. Feel free to add your own experiences. If you know any good places to check out, let me know.

Remember, I’m looking for reasonably priced eBooks! That’s the only way the marketplace and new reading technology will thrive.

The Kindle Post

Kindle: Amazon’s Wireless Reading Device 
A quick check at Amazon shows it’s sold out, as usual; but that doesn’t really mean much when you figure that says the same thing about Print-on-demand books that they never stock. I think what they mean is they’re saying “Sold Out” until they get enough orders to warrant building a bunch of new Kindles. Anyway, whatever you might think, Kindle is going to be a contender. Amazon is in a prime position to put an eBook reader on the market. In fact, if they don’t manage to nail a solid foothold, then something’s very wrong.

Wireless Reading Device

Wireless Reading Device

“Kindle’s” a catchy name, and that’s good because it’s sure not helped out by its descriptive subtitle. Is it just me, or does the phrase “Wireless Reading Device” sound like something a robot might come up with after about two lazy attempts. Not very imaginative or ‘user friendly’ in the name department. I know they’re trying to keep the door open to downloading newspapers and magazines, but Wireless Reading Device is never going to roll off the tongue.
A step or two away from the comfort level afforded by “eBook Reader,” or “eBook,” yah? Anyway, it’s clear that Amazon is giving it a major push. They’re also involved on the publishing end, doing what they can to put a camel clutch on the eBook, Print-on-demand and traditional publishing marketplace. So they’re in a hell of a position to dominate.
So it makes you wonder why Kindle isn’t tricked out to read pdf files. You can convert them, but it seems like a hell of an oversight. More likely it’s some kind of power play. Adobe’s probably playing hard to get or they’re making their own Reader. They’ve got the software. They just need the hardware. Anybody know more about that?
Kindle’s specs are interesting, no doubt. And they’re using an “electronic-paper display’ that sounds similar to the Sony product.
They’re selling New York Times® Best Sellers and New Releases for $9.99, (unless marked otherwise), so that’s still a bit of a bite financially for a digital file, since they brag about these things downloading in less than a minute using their wireless wispernet connectivity. You just have to think about the price there. That’s the same as a paperback, minus all of the physical reasons for adding cost, shipping, storing, displaying etc. It’s a digital file that is copied. Doesn’t seem to warrant the price.
I mean the Kindle costs you $359 and then you have to paperback prices to read books on it…doesn’t make a lot of sense.