Sony's 2 Readers Compete With Amazon's Kindle

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Sony Corp. introduces two new devices to the world of digital book readers on Wednesday. Company officials say they hope to put Amazon and its Kindle on the defensive. Sony's two new e-book devices are the Reader Touch Edition and the Reader Pocket Edition

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

Amazon will also be facing pressure from Sony. Today, Sony is introducing two digital reading devices: the Touch and the Pocket. They'll compete with Amazon's Kindle.

NPR's Lynn Neary reports.

LYNN NEARY: The Touch has a touch screen panel with a built-in dictionary and sophisticated note-taking capabilities. But it's the pocket that's likely to stir interest. Its screen is five inches, smaller than other devices, and at $199, less expensive, too. Sony Vice President Brendan Mullen.

Mr. BRENDAN MULLEN (Vice President, Sony): At 199, we hope to really break a new barrier in terms of pricing and hopefully make digital reading available to a larger audience.

NEARY: Sarah Rothman Epps, a media analyst for Forrester Research, says the $199 price is a coup for Sony. But, she adds, the market for these readers is still limited.

Ms. SARAH ROTHMAN EPPS (Media Analyst, Forrester Research): This is not Joe Schmo on the corner. These are for people who really love to read and read a lot of books. And for that segment, 199 is a great price point.

NEARY: Sony is also bringing down the price of books available at its e-book store, from 11.99 to 9.99 - the current price of a book at Amazon's Kindle store. And through a partnership with Google, Sony's customers will have access to a million public domain books for free. But the Sony readers still won't have the same wireless capability that the Kindle has. Sony Vice President Brendan Mullen says they're working on that.

Lynn Neary, NPR News, Washington.

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