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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Kindle Faces Major Competition Internationally

While the Kindle name is practically synonymous with eReading for many people, it has been confined largely to the US for a rather long time now and as such Amazon may have lost a chance to build the same momentum in other markets.  Much of what made them so successful was being the first company on the scene ready to get eBooks out there when customer interest began to stir.  The situation will be a bit different moving forward.

When it comes to international market coverage in eReading, Kobo is the name to reference.  They haven’t had the same impact in the US that Amazon has managed with the Kindle, but the Kobo Touch eReader has been available in areas where a Kindle was hard to come by for quite a while now.  They have recently partnered up with WHSmith in the UK in an effort to gain more coverage.  The Kobo Vox, essentially their attempt to match the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet, is just £149.99 (by comparison, the Kindle Fire is not even available).  That’s not to mention the fact that Kobo devices are already available in 190 countries with expansion still ongoing, or the newly revamped  self-publishing platform that they are having some success with.

Sony is also making something of a comeback.  While they were possibly the first company to launch a major eReader line with the Sony PRS series, they have failed to stay relevant in recent years.  Their new Reader Store has finally opened (months behind schedule) in the UK and they have a fairly substantial presence in select other markets where the Kindle is just beginning to move in.

Even Barnes & Noble is going to be something of a threat, potentially, in specific international markets.  Well, one specific international market if they’re lucky.  The much-reported partnership that the company has with Waterstones has produced very few results so far.  The partnership is still likely to happen, but they are taking their time about it.  This is most likely a matter of developing relationships for content to fill UK eBook stores with and could be held up at least partially due to the chance of the Agency Model being abolished in book publishing by ongoing lawsuits.  This would naturally have widespread implications.

None of this is to say that the Kindle won’t be able to make it outside the US.  If anything, the international launch of the Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G enjoyed such popularity that even Amazon was shocked.  Since the creation of a real, local Kindle Store in any given market is likely to be a major undertaking, however, anybody who has already got their store and device out there for customers is at a distinct advantage.  Amazon certainly has enough weight to throw at the problems they encounter, and they will do so without much hesitation as the recent small publisher negotiations prove, but it may be a long process at best with all the other big names already at work.

Sony Dumps Old Readers For Rumored New Generation

Fans of the Sony Reader line, the earliest and at one time best eReaders brought to market in the US, may be somewhat disappointed to head that the current generation of Readers has been cut in its entirety.  While they have not been replaced at the Sony online store, all are listed as out of stock and there is a clearance sale going on for the few remaining accessories they have around. Admittedly this most recent Sony eReaders have failed to keep up with more functional competition like the Kindle and Nook, but an abrupt withdrawal from the market like this was unexpected.

The last few Sony eReaders have been comparatively basic models for the asking price.  The PRS-350, otherwise known as the Reader Pocket Edition, boasted a smaller screen (just 5″), shorter battery life, no wireless functionality, and a price $65 higher than the current least expensive Kindle model.  The more impressive Reader, the Daily Edition, actually managed to improve on the Kindle in a few small ways, but still suffered from shorter battery life and a price nearly three times as much as the basic Kindle.  Tie this together with an unimpressive associated store and little in the way of media promotion for the eBooks themselves and it isn’t hard to see why popularity has seemed to taper off.  Still, in large part due to the ability of the Sony Reader line to participate in library eBook lending thanks to its EPUB support, there have been occasional resurgences in interest in these as valid Kindle competition.

What we can look forward to now, hopefully, is a more current and modestly priced Sony Reader.  While there has not been any official word on the future of the product lines, unofficial comments from Sony executives have indicated that a new set of eReaders is in the works, with equivalents intended for the old PRS-350 and PRS-650 models.  Aside from the fact that they will finally have 802.11n WiFi capability and will continue to have touchscreen interfaces, nothing is known.  There is a good chance that we will at least hear announcements by the end of this year.

It would be great to see a Sony Reader able to directly compete with Amazon’s Kindle after all these years.  Their older models went a long way toward setting expectations for customers new to the field.  Sony clearly has at least a pretty good idea how to make a really useful eReading product, so anything that can come in under $150 without sacrificing functionality would gain them some traction.  The same would be true of a higher priced option with color E INK.  If they can come up with an improved store, or make a deal with an alternate eBook vendor, so much the better.

As tight-lipped as the company has been about their plans, we have only speculation, “leaks”, and an FCC filing to go off of for the moment.  With luck, they won’t wait too long to get something back in the stores.

If you are a Sony fan, you can still find the PRS-350 refurbished in stock at the Sony online store for just $152.99 as of the writing of this article.

Sony Planning August Reader Release To Compete With Amazon Kindle

Long before the Kindle had a firm grasp on the eBook market, and even before the term eReader had much meaning in the minds of the public, Sony had started up their line of Sony Readers.  They were the first company that not only did the job, but did it well.  In time, unfortunately, they seemed to fall behind.  Too many other consumer choices and an ongoing failure to present competitive prices have led to the whole product line struggling to expand its business.

Recent information reveals, however, that Sony is definitely not at the point of giving up just yet.  A Bloomberg report provided indications that Sony will be upgrading its current line with both hardware and software improvements, probably before the end of August.  There are no indications at this time to indicate that price drops will be accompanying the upgrades, but it can be assumed that if there are any, they will be small.  The upcoming release of the new Sony S1 and S2 Tablet PCs will be intended to target “a more status-minded customer”, according to a recent CNN report, and it is likely that they will similarly weigh the prestige of owning a Sony Reader as a more important factor than matching the price of the increasingly inexpensive Amazon Kindle.

Both eReader and Tablet ownership continue to rise and are expected to continue doing so through the immediate future, but it remains to be seem whether or not Sony can grab a piece of this momentum.  There will likely be two major factors contributing to their success or failure.

The biggest thing that they have working against them, aside from unit price, is their eBook store.  Unlike the Kindle and Nook, each of which is coupled with a truly impressive selection of titles available for purchase, the Sony Reader Store has not developed an impressive following.  The selection has gotten better over the years and, thanks to the Agency Model of eBook pricing, nobody has a significant advantage over them when it comes to prices.  Nothing has made their store particularly unique, however, and without some sort of reason for it to stand out, the Reader Store is just another random eBook store among many in the eyes of the potential customer.

On the other hand, the hardware will likely be a major advantage.  Say what you will about the Reader line, Sony has proven willing to experiment and innovate.  They not only essentially started the eReader business as we know it, they made many of the mistakes and some of the successes that have made eReaders into what we know and love today.  The first touchscreen eReader was a Sony, I believe, even if they didn’t pull it off quite right.  Their early PRS-505 model was impressive enough that a reasonably cheap copy of it with a more modern display would immediately be a step up from many of the recent options we’ve seen, even years after it became officially obsolete.

It will be interesting to see if there are any really significant updates in the latest batch.  The Kindle Competition has been great lately and it’s nice to see some truly superior options make their way to the top.  I’ve always loved my Sony Readers.  A comeback at this point is more than welcome.