Sony quits the eReader device market

by Mark Tyson on 6 August 2014, 14:15

Tags: Sony (NYSE:SNE), PC

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Sony has revealed that it has decided to quit the eReader business and has stopped production of its last Reader model, the PRS-T3. It signalled that it is withdrawing from the eReader hardware market permanently. Surrendering and admitting defeat in the eReader battle against Amazon, the Japanese company has made the decision as the product line is "no longer economically viable".

Sony had its Librie e-ink device available in the market for a whole three years ahead of Amazon's first Kindle, which was launch in 2007. However, Amazon's huge range of (e)books made Sony's library look pretty limited in contrast. Unable to compete with the cheaper entry point of Amazon's hardware and its vast library, consumer attention quickly shifted away from the Sony eReader hardware. Amazon currently has around 90 per cent of the dedicated eReader market in the UK, according to The Bookseller, reports the BBC.

Sony pulled out of the eReader market in the U.S. earlier this year, then it recently followed suit in Europe and Australia. The company has since been directing its users to the e-bookstore of rival Kobo, owned by Rakuten. So although the eReader market withdrawal announcement has just been made the writing has been on the wall for months. "Final production of the current Reader model, PRS-T3, was made at the end of May," a spokeswoman for Sony told PC Advisor in an email. "The product will continue to be available until inventory supplies last, which differs by country."

Earlier this year, the company shedded its Vaio PC business, selling it to Japan Industrial Partners Inc. (JIP), as part of a restructuring effort. A quarterly net profit of ¥26.8 billion (US$261 million) was also reported thanks to its hit PlayStation 4 console, but it left unchanged its forecast for the current fiscal year, expecting a loss of ¥50 billion.

HEXUS Forums :: 19 Comments

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Sony had an e-reader?
Sad to see another ereader go. Would be nice to see someone actually compete with Amazon/Kindle but can't see it happening. Anyone interested will already have a kindle so it would be very hard to break into the market and I can't see anyone with enough clout attempting it (except maybe apple but they'd rather sell you an ipad with an LCD screen :( for 4x the price )
Sad to see another ereader go. Would be nice to see someone actually compete with Amazon/Kindle but can't see it happening.

Problem with the Sony readers - as I see it - were that they were priced ridiculously and just didn't have the support that you get with Kindle and Nook. Does leave me wondering though what Amazon's reply would be if someone like Sony had said that they wanted to do an ereader that hooked into Amazon's ebook store. After all, it's not as if Amazon is losing out on the “consumable” sales… ;)
We do have a Kobo in the house, didn't even know sony did e-readers.
Sony had an e-reader?
Yup, and they're pretty good, too. It was touch and go for me between the Sony and Kindle, for my first. What swung it was mainly that the Sony was dearer, and I just couldn't see what I was getting that justified that. What didn't help was, having been burned by atrocious customer service in the past from Sony, I wasn't exactly motivated to give them preference over an alternative, and convincing offering.

But Sony never seemed to be exactly marketed in the EU, certainly not in the UK. They were available, but never seem to have been pushed. I suspect that, being pretty popular (surprise surprise) in Japan, they thought they could rest on that, and the ‘Sony name’ and not ‘lower’ themselves to actual compete with upstart Amazon.

Oops. ;)

All that said, I'm sorry to see them pull out, at least of the non-Japan market. Sorry, but not surprised. The more competition there is, the more honest it'll keep the big players. Now, effectively, we can choose … Kindle or Kobo. At least, until the next technical innovation comss along and blows things wide open. Again.