Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sony Say Yes to Japan (Again) But No To Denmark

The news that Sony was going home to Japan to launch its latest devices in Japan this month along with a dedicated virtual library brought back fond memories of our visit to Kyoto this year and the pieces we wrote on the country that rewrites the rules.

Sony left the Japanese market in 2007 after seen a poor response on their initial ebook reader push. Since then the success of the iPad and Kindle has sent electronics makers scrambling to gain a slice of the growing tablet computer and ereader market. Sony will also open a digital bookstore offering some 20,000 titles for download, but does anyone care and will it make an impact second time around?

Sony predicts it will sell 300,000 e-readers in Japan next year and expects to get 50% of the Japanese market share by 2012.

However their move is not an exclusive as Sharp has also confirmed that it will launch its Galapagos e-reader tablet device on the Japanese before the end of the year along with their own online store. The online shop which is to be a partnership with the Culture Convenience Club Co, which operates the Tsutaya book and music chain, will offer 20,000 books and magazines by the spring will be expanded to also include video and music content.

Sony unveiled their latest devices in September and expanded their availability to Australia, China, Italy, and Spain as well as the United States and UK, but some will ask is that enough and why only this small handful of countries?

When Sony first blew its trumpet in the UK, a deal was put in the table to tie the devices to the Danish digital public library service. It was envisaged that the libraries would offer the devices on loan along with the ebook. The offer was turned down as it was unsupportable so the danish just bought them from Waterstones in the UK. Now Sony have stopped the sales and we have discovered that German Cash&Carry giant Metro is now selling Sony readers in its Danish outlets even though the Sony devices are still officiallly unavailable in Denmark.

The situation where some countries are seen as viable and others which border on them aren’t, appears to be a joke in this global world. How can companies such as Sony be expected to be taken seriously when they still only operate is a handful of countries and yet are a global electronics brand and organisation. It clearly shows that to buy local may be an unwise move.

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