image The Sony eBookStore shown here has been around for a few years for Sony Reader owners.

But now comes word from BusinessWeek that Sony will also sell e-books elsewhere—in the new Sony Online Store, the current name.

This one will sell music, movies and downloadable apps, too. The feeling among Sony watchers is that the new Sony store will use an iTune-ish approach.No startup date has been announced. 

I’m curious if or how the new Sony store may works with the existing eBook Library software. What’s more, might the current eBookStore vanish? I don’t think so, but who knows?

Is Sony in time going to do the e-book-capable multimedia table that Apple is supposed to offer us? That certainly would jibe well with Sony’s history as a hardware company and the store’s multimedia approach. I’m just extrapolating and guessing. But if you work for a publisher and need to anticipate future possibilities, add this one to the brew.

Also, what e-book format will the new Sony store use? ePub? And what about the DRM situation? Will Adobe-DRMed ePub be the norm? And what if publishers don’t want DRM? Will Sony in fact offer publishers a choice, as I believe it’s indicated?

Apple has backed off from DRM in the real iTunes Store, at least when it comes to music (it is selling “protected” books in the ScrollMotion format). Sony should do the same with e-books.

Perhaps social DRM could be a compromise. I’ll query Sony to see if it has any word on the DRM and format issues and other book-specific details.

Related: Techmeme roundup and Google News roundup.


  1. I think a web-based Sony media store would be a great improvement over the functionality and throughput of the current app, which has a really clunky UI and poor search capabilities.

    Since they’ve already announced that they’re going to convert everything in the eBookstore to Adobe DRM ePub, I assume that this would be the plan for any online offering.

    Clearly, the ebook industry has much to learn about DRM from the music industry. Quite frankly, however, it seems that the industry is more intent on doing a DRM “re-run” to get to the the same place that iTunes, Amazon, and other services have already gotten to with music. Reinventing the wheel doesn’t make much sense to me, but my experience is that some industries will just do what they think they need to do inside their private vacuum, and there’s not much advocates for change can do to influence the decision makers if the advocates for change are not actually decision makers themselves, or in a position of great power somewhere in the industry.

    Some people may think this means I’m resigned to the status quo. I prefer to think of it as politely advocating change from within the status quo by following the rules (like buying DRM’d ePub and not jailbreaking my iPhone), while voicing my opinions regarding the need for change directly to people in the industry, when given the opportunity.

    I would like to think ideally, that since I am showing publishers and app providers a sign of good intent to play by rules, that the powers that be might take notice of my voiced concerns about said rules more easily, and take these concerns more seriously than if I were to be more extremist in my actions and position on the topic. This is not to say that people who are more outwardly vocal than myself on the subject won’t be taken seriously, just that I know from past experience that _I_ personally, will not be taken as seriously. It’s all in the vibe of the advocate, and I apparently do not have a vibe that is conducive to convincing people that I have a point when I try to go outside the boundaries of “good, compliant customer, with some real concerns that really need to be considered” approach.

    In short, I’m trying to advocate for change while from a “do no harm” to the cause POV. I also think that my approach puts me in a better position to actually negotiate a conversation on the subject, when given the opportunity (which admittedly, has not be frequent since I no longer work directly in the publishing industry).

    I think that change to the current DRM approach will come – but more because publishers will have analysts do reports that show them exactly how much money and time they are losing backing an unpopular approach to protecting intellectual content. If it can be proven in real dollar numbers that current DRM schemes are detrimental to a publisher’s ROI in said schemes, management teams are more likely to explore the question of “how do we do this necessary thing for less money and greater customer satisfaction and compliance…?”

    Since I’m writing about my opinion and approach to the problem as I understand it, I admit that this post does not introduce anything to solve the eBook DRM issues of 2009. The whole issue of copyright and intellectual property is entering a new kind Wild Wild West era. It will probably take just as long for book publishers to come to the same conclusions that music publishers came to regarding severely limiting DRM schemes, so long as the industry continues to ignore what the music industry learned, and until they’ve been in the business long enough to be able to produce the ROI reports mentioned above.

    Efficient? No. Will publishers eventually come to the same conclusions as music execs? Probably. It’s just a matter of when – and the resounding opinion amongst most ebook advocates, such as myself, with whom I am familiar, is “not soon enough.”

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