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Sony announces motion-sensitive Harry Potter spellbook for PlayStation Move
June 5, 2012 | 7:11 pm

WonderbookIn case you were wondering, Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling isn’t finished innovating in digital storytelling with Pottermore. At E3 yesterday, Sony announced an interactive storybook/game called “Book of Spells,” first in a series of interactive storybooks called “Wonderbook,” with all-new content written by Rowling. The game turns Sony’s PS Move motion-sensitive wand into a Hogwart’s-style magic wand, used for performing spells from a Hogwarts spellbook. The trailer is a bit misleading, showing a kid opening a book and it animating and magically transporting him into a wizard’s castle. The video from CNet of the E3 demo is a...

Sony e-reader sells 500,000 units in Europe
May 29, 2012 | 12:14 am

French book news site ActuaLitté reports (in French) that Sony’s PRS T1 149-Euro touchscreen e-reader has sold over 500,000 units in Europe—reportedly not far behind the sales of Amazon’s Kindle. It’s a little tricky to make sense of the Google-translated text, but ActuaLitté seems to report that the Sony’s biggest problem is the lack of a library integrated into the device. The existing store is slow, but Sony says it is seeking a partner who can meet Sony’s performance demands. Meanwhile, competitor Kobo is invading Europe, and a possible Barnes & Noble European expansion could be on the...

Used games killing game industry, game developer claims; what about used books?
March 28, 2012 | 11:39 pm

Here’s another story of a developer railing against used video games. Although it may not seem to have relevance to e-books at first, I think this story demonstrates the way the gaming industry and the publishing industry are struggling with some similar issues in the digital age. In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Silicon Knights head Denis Dyack states that used games are clobbering the game industry, cutting off the “tail” of sales that used to support game studios well after games’ original release. Without that “tail”, Dyack says, game companies can expect to receive almost all their sales...

CNET video briefly compares tablets, Kindle as holiday gifts
November 22, 2011 | 11:37 pm

CNET has a 3-minute video that bills itself as a “Buyer’s Guide” for tablets and e-readers, though it primarily focuses on tablets, and mostly the more expensive tablets—the iPad, the Galaxy S, and Sony’s Android tablet (which I hadn’t heard of before). It paints this trio of $499 tablets as the main attraction for buyers this holiday season, then spends a little time discussing the Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire as alternatives. In the video, CNET’s Donald Bell refers to the Kindle Fire as a “good enough product”—essentially a device that will work well as an e-reader and...

New Kindle price model may present quandary to competitors
September 28, 2011 | 7:33 pm

Yesterday, perhaps hoping to stage a preemptive strike on Amazon, Barnes & Noble announced a new cooperative venture with self-publisher Lulu.com, which is supposed to make it easier for Lulu customers to get their books published as Nook e-books. However, given that B&N was already partnering with Lulu on self-publishing e-books, it is entirely unclear how it was harder before and how it will be easier now. And this bright bundle of glittering generalities does not seem to have helped in the end. Barnes & Noble’s stock was down by as much as 13% after Amazon’s Kindle announcement today,...

Sony Reader Wi-Fi available for pre-order
September 24, 2011 | 10:41 pm

For those who favor the Sony Reader, Engadget reports that the latest version, with wi-fi and a Pearl e-ink touchscreen, has just become available for pre-order for $149.99 from Sony’s website. The device will ship sometime around October 16th. I have my doubts that Sony is going to have staying power in the e-reader biz for much longer, but perhaps it will surprise me. At any rate, if you have a thing for the Sony Reader, have a blast....

New Sony Reader includes wi-fi, free Harry Potter e-book
August 31, 2011 | 10:33 pm

sony-reader-wi-fi-oMore details are coming out about Sony’s latest entry into the e-reader market, the T1. At 168g (5.9 oz), the device is touted as the lightest e-reader ever, with a 6” touchscreen display, stylus, and built-in wi-fi access. The wi-fi will allow purchases from Sony’s on-line bookstore, and also borrowing e-books wirelessly from libraries that support it. The US cost of the device will be $149. Available in red, white, and black colors, the black version (but not the other two) will include a coupon for a free download of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone “while supplies last”....

New Sony e-reader spotted on Dutch website
August 29, 2011 | 1:47 am

sony-ereader2Seemingly relegated to the also-ran position by Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and possibly even Kobo, Sony is still not giving up the e-reader fight just yet. Engadget reports on finding a new wi-fi-equipped Sony PRS-T1 e-reader for sale on a Dutch webpage. The device hews to the standard black, angular Sony style, and Engadget speculates that it might be Android-powered just based on what its control buttons look like. The device costs €165 (equivalent to $240 US) on that website, and will probably be a bit cheaper when and if it’s introduced here—but can it be cheap...

More signs that Sony is about to launch a new ereader model
August 1, 2011 | 11:13 am

Nate Hoffelder at The Digital Reader has been tracking signs of new ereader activity coming from Sony, and despite the company disavowing its own executive's slip-up it looks like a new device is on the way. The first clue is that a device called the PRS-T1 Digital Book Reader was found last week on the FCC website. The second clue is that several ebook models are showing up as out of stock or discontinued on the Sony Style store. Via The Digital Reader ...

Wall Street Journal covers Amazon Android tablet plans
July 17, 2011 | 6:15 pm

The Wall Street Journal has covered Amazon’s much-rumored plans for a tablet, with a long and thoughtful article considering how such a device might affect the sales of Amazon’s Kindle, and what Amazon’s competitors in the e-book and digital media marketplaces are doing. The piece has some interesting information from anonymous inside sources about what features the tablet will offer: Amazon's tablet will have a roughly nine-inch screen and will run on Google's Android platform, said people familiar with the device. Unlike the iPad, it won't have a camera, one of these people said. While...

Sony says reports of new Sony Reader devices are “inaccurate”
July 16, 2011 | 5:28 pm

Just a few days ago, Sony executive Phil Lubell told Bloomberg that the company has two new ereader devices launching "probably" in August. Now the company appears to be backtracking on that statement, according to a response it sent to VentureBeat today. VentureBeat's article, published yesterday, looked at Sony's poor performance in the ereader wars compared to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, despite having a head start. There's not a lot of new information for the Teleread audience. However, Sony took issue with the article and responded with this: It is true that Sony is committed to the Reader category and believes...

Sony: Hey, we’re bringing out new ereaders and tablets, too
July 14, 2011 | 10:50 am

Although Sony has long offered some nicely designed, feature-packed E Ink readers, the company has trailed Amazon and Barnes & Noble for a while now in both sales and media coverage, and this week is no exception. Yesterday, while Amazon sucked up all the media attention, Sony Electronic's vice president of digital reading Phil Lubell told Bloomberg that his company plans to introduce two new Sony Reader models "probably" in August, and is currently working on two tablet devices for release later in 2011. The article doesn't provide much info in the way of hardware specs, but it looks like prices...

Apple deadline passes, major ebook apps still unchanged on App Store
July 1, 2011 | 9:57 am

Update: Macworld just posted that an unnamed Apple source says Apple is currently working with developers to bring their apps in line with the new guidelines, and that we can expect to see modified app updates appearing in the coming days or weeks. [Original post follows.] Despite all the threats, blog outrage, and speculation around Apple's new rules for content apps over the past several months, as of this morning the three major ebooksellers' apps already available on Apple's App Store—Kindle, Nook, and Kobo—remain unchanged and available for download. (Sony never got a chance to play.) Kindle and Nook both offer a...

Apple clarifies Sony Reader rejection, demands cut of all e-book sales
February 1, 2011 | 1:14 pm

In an update to the story I posted earlier today about Apple rejecting Sony's Reader app, Ars Technica has now heard a response from Apple, and it comes with some pretty dire implications for other e-book apps. It seems that Apple is no longer going to be content to allow apps to access content purchased elsewhere unless it comes with an identical option to purchase the content from within the app as well. The rub here is, of course, that Apple takes a 30% cut of any purchases made within the app itself. And since agency pricing (which Apple...

Apple rejects Sony Reader iPhone app over in-app purchases (UPDATED)
February 1, 2011 | 7:46 am

sonyreaderiphoneRemember my concern that Apple’s new rules for in-app purchases might imperil e-book reader apps other than its own iBooks? It looks like the process may be beginning. Sony has been trying to bring a Sony Reader e-book app to the iPhone (only arriving about three years late to the party—seriously, why did they wait this long?), but Apple has told them nothing doing. Sony writes on its e-book store site: Unfortunately, with little notice, Apple changed the way it enforces its rules and this will prevent the current version of the Reader™ for iPhone® from being available in the app...

Early computer virus was meant to be DRM
January 27, 2011 | 7:03 pm

Now here’s something I didn’t know, but that will undoubtedly not surprise many. In the New York Times, cyberpunk author William Gibson writes that an early PC virus started out as a fairly primitive attempt at DRM, created by a couple of sibling programmers in 1986 to protect their heart-monitoring software from piracy. Computers that ran their program, plus this new bit of code, would stop working after a year, though they cheerfully provided three telephone numbers, against the day. If you were a legitimate user, and could prove it, they’d unlock you. Computer...

Record labels to start selling songs as soon as they hit radio
January 17, 2011 | 3:34 pm

Here’s another one of those cases where publishers could stand to learn from the music industry. The Guardian reports that Universal and Sony Music have decided to start selling songs immediately after they go on the air. Formerly, songs could get as much as six weeks of radio play, called “setting up” a record, before being released for sale to consumers. This would let songs debut on sales charts in high positions, by building demand. However, times have changed considerably since the days when the only way to hear music you didn’t own was over the radio. ...

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