PoeticaL
cluttering the net since 2001

dear sony....e thinks me write companies more often

Monday, Apr. 26, 2004

A few weeks ago I discussed a new product being released by Sony.  The E-book LIBRIé.  It is an e-book reader.  While it appears to be an awesome product and will in my opinion revolutionize e-ink, and e-paper for that matter, it is being released with much confusion about the availability of ebooks and user ability due to the publishers of this world insisting that they somehow be the controllers of the written word rather than the public at large having the ability to retain ownership of sorts to paid for text.

 

I whined, complained, bitched and basically went over this back and forth with Bryan because Bryan’s the one who showed me this new product that was recently released in Japan…due out in the U.S. on an unspecified date.  Bryan told me to write an email to the powers that be over at Sony. I scoffed.  I put it off all weekend.  He kept on me about it and then he critiqued the hell out of my email and I eventually tired of it and just emailed it off.  It went like this….

 

(check out the actual reply I received below that!!!  I suppose it pays to make your opinions be known to the powers that be…even at freakin Sony!!!)

 

 

 

From : 

PoeticaL GirL <poeticalgirl@hotmail.com>

Sent : 

Sunday, April 25, 2004 10:38 PM

To : 

##@eink.com, #####@eink.com, ######@philips.com, ######@philips.com, #######@philips.com, #######@am.sony.com, ####@am.sony.com, ######@eu.sony.com, #####@jp.sony.com, #######@jp.sony.com

Subject : 

The Sony LIBRIé

 

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Dear Sony and all Affiliates Pertaining to the LIBRIé,

I would like to share a few of my thoughts regarding your new technology and the ebook world at large.

As a consumer who spends on average of 15% to 20% of my annual income on books and book related items, I fully intended to buy your product even though there is conflicting and unclear information all over the Internet about your new technology.  While I agree hands down the technology is amazing and “kudo’s to you for that achievement”.  I am quite concerned about the “ownership” laws and issues surrounding ebooks themselves.

There is no clear dividing line between “renting” and “owning” ebooks and the laws that surround ownership of said materials.  My understanding is that your device only allows the end user access to books on a rental basis.  I see this as a great disadvantage being the end consumer.

If I want to “rent” books I can go to the library and pocket the nearly $400 that your device is currently retail listed at.  Why pay a rental fee for the same book’s I can access for free at the local library?  While the cost per rental book appears to be somewhere around five US dollars and this is fair pricing, I do not see this fee as being equivalent to the non-existent fee at a library where I can re-check out a book for no cost and have adequate time to read it.

Also, once I purchase a book at the local bookstore, it is mine to do with as I please. If I want to lend it out, that is perfectly legal since I have paid for the product once and can only be charged once. I can resell this item at a lower cost and use the proceeds to again purchase another book thereby giving my money to the publishers for another book while also getting a big selection of items to read.

I can pay for ebooks on sites like amazon.com and the like thereby paying for the item one time and retaining personal ownership of that book for an unlimited amount of time.  I have read that your LIBRIé will only provide the end user access to a specified amount of books for only a specified amount of “rental time”.  While I’m all for rental books, I have never been a big fan of libraries since I like to read at my own leisure.  As a consumer of books on a very frequent basis, I am looking for choices, lots of choices.  I want to be able to read magazines, newspapers, fiction, non-fiction and any and every other choice in the word world.

It is my ferverant hope that all of the hard work towards the e-ink technology and the LIBRIé, doesn’t go down the drain to poor end user satisfaction.  I want to read the Wall Street Journal on my e-book device.  I want to be able to read on the LIBRIé in the same manner at which I can currently read and access documents and books on a Sony Clie’.  I cannot imagine for a minute that I am alone with my feelings on this matter.

Furthermore, I believe there are wonderful things that can be done to protect the publishers as well as the end user from the nightmares that Napster’esque sites could create for the publishing world at large.  I believe there is a certain segment of the consumer population that will not easily drop their addiction to paperback books at the drop of this new technology.  But I see all new technology as a movement into the future with better products that give us more options and choices.  I am upset that I can have these choices with PDA’s that Sony developed but I cannot have these same choices with the new Sony LIBRIé.  I want unlimited choices in format as well.

I am excited about your new technology.  Just as excited as I was when I was 15 years old and bought my first Walkman.  That device changed the way I listened to music.  It was revolutionary and I feel the LIBRIé has the capability of doing the same thing to the book world.   I will most likely buy this device if I have access to newspapers, PDF formats and PDA similar software that allows me to read mobipocket and the like formats.  But if you intend to segregate my readability to your “rental” option only, then why should I buy a LIBRIé and not a Sony Clie PDA that will allow me to not only read but own what I pay for?  The average PDA is of course not up to par on the reading quality but I would own a book once I pay for it.  If I go to the bookstore and buy a book I can give it away, I can donate it to charity, I can do what I wish with it.  And I can certainly read it at my own leisure without fear of losing access to what I have paid for after a mere 60 days.

As long as the powers that be try to control my personal ebook ownership then even if I do own a LIBRIe’ is it then only one giant glorified library card/pass??  That’s a scary thought.  I’m buying into being controlled by a higher power? Why not then call it what it is and be fair to the public at large.

I admit there’s a lot of confusion surrounding your new device and I’d just like to say….

Can someone please explain…before I lose interest in your product.

 

Sincerely,


Kristy
Book Consumer

 

 

 

 

 

From : 

Albohn, D <######@am.sony.com>

Sent : 

Monday, April 26, 2004 3:29 PM

To : 

"'Poeticalgirl@hotmail.com'" <Poeticalgirl@hotmail.com>

Subject : 

Greetings from Sony

 

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Dear Kristy,

 

Thank you so much for your substantive and passionate letter.  I would like very much to speak with you and share a little bit about what we are doing in the USA regarding this initiative.  You touch on several very important topics, and you can be assured that I am grappling with these as Sony considers how best to go forward with such business in the USA.  I would very much value your input and would enjoy speaking with you at your convenience.

 Please send me a phone number and suggested times to call.

 Best regards,

 

Dan Albohn

Manager, New Business Development

Sony Electronics, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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