Sony launched it’s Reader to strong reviews a year before Amazon brought out the Kindle.
But it’s the Kindle that now stands out as the e-reader of choice.
Kindle sales could reach $1.2 billion by 2010, AdAge says, citing numbers by a Citi analyst; and Sony reported sales of 400,000 Readers to date in January 2009.
Better marketing, says AdAge.
Sony spent more than twice of what Amazon spent on measured media, but it lost mind share by not sustaining its marketing, and failing to highlight its product superiority. It also didn’t cash-in on its first-mover advantage, AdAge says:
Sony was “the pioneers … and then Amazon came along and said, ‘A-ha, we understand readers — people, that is — better, and we can create something better for them,'” said Peter Glaskowsky, analyst for the Envisioneering Group.
“Sony never offered a compelling reason to buy, there weren’t enough titles, and their store was not that easy to use,” said Alan Siegel, chairman-CEO of Siegel & Gale. “Kindle jumped them with a wireless product with a larger array of titles available, backed with strong advertising and good PR.”
Sony has learned its lesson, and has all new product and marketing initiatives planned for this fall, says AdAge:
- Will lower price of the Reader Pocket to $199 by end of August. This will make it the lowest price e-reader in the market.
- The fall marketing campaign will include television and online advertising; and interactive kiosks and stand-alone displays at retail stores like Best Buy, Borders and Walmart – a definite edge over Amazon’s online-only store.
- Entered a deal with Google Books to offer 500,000 ebooks free to Reader customers.
- Plans to convert the Sony eBook Store to the ePub format, an open standard that might appeal to those wary of locking into proprietary technology.
- Free ride on Kindle’s success. The Kindle has created a lot of awareness about digital reading. So Sony does not have to focus its marketing efforts on that area, and can instead spend all of its efforts on its Reader.
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