It all started in 2008 when Sony rolled out its "Reading Revolution," to spark the imaginations of young readers and engage the public in digital reading. However somehow along the way, Sony lost its steam and Amazon's Kindle seized the moment to become the dominant force in the burgeoning e-Reader industry. Now late in 2009, the Sony Reader is re-engaging its marketing prowess to beat down its competitor and regain prominence.
Oprah vs EllenAs to which demographics favor which product, while Oprah endorses the Kindle and is one of the reasons why they have scaled as rapidly as they did, Ellen DeGeneres promotes the Sony Reader in give-aways on her TV talk show.
With a marketing spend of more than two to one to Amazon's Kindle, Sony invested close to a half million dollars in promoting the Sony Reader in the first quarter of 2009. However it still trails Amazon in sales, even though its selling price is $100 less per unit on its entry-level model.
According to an AdAge article, "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."
On August 26, 2009, TechViShow discusses the e-Readership market, and the current distinctions between the Sony Reader and the Kindle products.
In addition to coming in at a lower cost, the Sony Readers have a couple of features that Kindle lacks. While many readers desire the tactile touch of a print book, Sony's touch screens become a suitable consolation. The Touch Edition and the Daily Edition, have this feature, while users of the Amazon's Kindles are required to push buttons.
While Sony uses open file formats and public domain books versus Kindle's customized software,Public Domain Libraries Sony's essentially guaranteeing that your digital library will always have a home. Kindle's proprietary format on the other hand restricts you into becoming a slave to Amazon's products and purchases only.
Sony's Daily Edition reader is also connected to a social network called "Words Move Me," where people can post and share their favorite book passages. If an e-reader's going to connect to the Internet, having an accessible social network is a bonus and a great way to interact with like-minded folks who are just as interested in e-readership as they are.
All told, Sony has a shot at making a comeback. However, it will all depend on how they go about getting this message out to the public. Presently bloggers like myself can only do so much in spreading the word. And while Sony's ad spend is significant, it will probably take a whole lot more to chip away at Kindle's share of the market.