Building a Kindle Killer. Or Several of Them

By  |  Friday, August 28, 2009 at 3:46 pm

Sony vs. KindleSlates Farhad Manjoo has a good story up about how Sony in particular and e-reader makers in general can build an e-book device that’s better and more popular than Amazon’s Kindle. One graf that left me mentally applauding:

I’d counsel Amazon’s competitors to embrace openness even more. In particular, they’d be wise to let people trade eBooks. They could do this even while maintaining copy protection—you could authorize your friend to read your copy of The Da Vinci Code for three weeks, and while he’s got it, your copy would be rendered unusable. (I’d prefer if eBooks came with no copy protection—as is the case with most online music—but many in the publishing industry would never go for that.) Kindle’s rivals could also get together to create a huge, single ePub bookstore. Publishers would have a big incentive to feed this store with all their books—if they provide books only to Amazon, they’d be helping to create a monopolist in their industry, and that’s never good for business.

Manjoo says he hopes that Sony and/or other players provide with intense competition. So do I, for the same reason–I don ‘t want Amazon or Google or anyone else to dominate electronic books any more than I’d have been happy if Random House (say) had cornered the market on dead-tree tomes. Right now, Sony seems like the best hope for a strong Amazon alternative (Plastic Logic is a fairly promising dark horse). The upcoming Sony Reader Daily Edition leaves me cautiously optimistic, but I’d love to see more companies leap into the action…

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