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13.3” Writing Slate and Indie Bookstore’s Refusal of Amazon Source

Posted on 2013-Nov-08

by BB eBooks Staff

PDF Writing Slate from Sony


Back in May, the prototype of a 13.3” writing slate was revealed on The Digital Reader. The unusually large screen nearly caused a positive landslide victory filled with praise from general users who wished to make the most of digital documents. For instance, a musician will not have to make do with sorting the sheet music while they are performing. Students might be able to benefit from basic note-taking functions in their class as they jot down specific formulas. The expectations were running high but the missing information about price and availability buried any fanfare that anyone should be interested in the gadget.

Fast forward to Nov 7th, the official launch of Sony 13.3” writing slate in Japan gets the comments started. Instead of following the trend of courting eBook readers, Sony focuses on appealing to the corporate sector and educational institutions by setting the price as sky-high as $1,000. Specs-wise, the 13.3” e-Ink writing slate codenamed “DPT-S1” packs quite basic features that you might expect to see in most current eReaders on the market. The catch is the higher-res screen that will fully display your entire document page. The writing slate is meaningless without the stylus that serves as a pointer to navigate the page and handwritten gesture to edit the documents. The screen refresh rate is nearly on par with LED, eliminating the frustration of small delays when you click on an e-Ink’s screen: Kindle Paperwhite 2012 for instance.

While price seems to be the troubling turn-off to kick start a snowball of negative feedback, PDF-support-only is another great challenge that one user feels confused about the missing compatibility with other Office-type formats or even popular eBook ones (e.g. EPUB and MOBI).

On second thought, the longer battery life, portability, and considerably sizable screen can be the most desired advantages for certain industries in real world applications. With direct comparison to a tablet or laptop, the higher power consumption of color-screen devices may limit productivity. Say, for example, in a production plant that the content needs to be accessed read in color, large screen writing slate can be optimally used to read operation manual, technical spec sheet, etc. BB eBooks can provide the best solution for your digital document to be presented on any device. See our portfolio .

The Rift between Amazon and Indie Bookstores


Amazon Source is the latest attempt from Amazon to offer discounts on the price of their products for U.S. Booksellers and electronics/general retailers. For booksellers, they can earn extra commission from their customers who buy the eBook in the participated store or the one bought from Kindle devices sold by the store. Sounds good in theory. Whatever customers cannot find in print, they can check out on an online catalog; the more they contact the store to buy books, the higher chance they will come back for more shopping. But, that is not what many bookstore owners see.

The consensus throughout the independent bookstore’s community voices disapproval of Amazon’s latest affiliate program. Amazon source’s advertisement “The Best of Both Worlds” does not seem to live up to its full expectation, especially when the other world tries to shoot down Amazon’s attempt to enter the indie bookstores. Despite having two allies—University of Puget Sound Campus Bookstore and JJ Books—listed on their Testimonials page, the voices of dissent keep multiplying and their word choice is seasoned with moody temper.

There is no way I will promote Amazon products in my stores after the havoc they have wreaked on our industry as a whole. Sorry, Jeff. I’m not buying it,” says Suzanna Hermans, co-owner of Oblong Books & Music and president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association. The tax avoidance issue is being repeated too many times among the booksellers who think that Amazon’s latest offer will not be welcome by most bookstores. Melville House goes the extra mile to collect signatures from indie bookstores and show their disagreeing thoughts. The gif image toward the bottom of the page clearly represents the feisty disagreement with the sarcastic sense of humor to reject Amazon’s request to sell Kindles in their store.

Undoubtedly, the booksellers can hardly find a good reason to like and welcome Amazon’s presence inside the shop, likening the program to Trojan Rabbit. Each owner is entitled to their own opinion when it comes to the speculation how feasibly Amazon can steal their customers inside their shop. However, according to The Digital Reader’s comment section, perhaps this program might work for certain types of bookstores or outlets that need to get into the book business. Just because bookstores refuse to sell eBooks or eReading hardware, customers can always figure out a way to shop online due to their smartphones’ always-on integration to look for their favorite titles.

What Amazon is trying to accomplish through ‘Source’ seems to present many problems in both worlds. While the bookstores can get discount or commission when customers buy a Kindle device or eBook from the device purchased in the store, there is no guarantee that customers will be loyal to come back to their store once they shop online. eBook lovers may not find enough reason to visit bookstores unless they want to preview the tangible copy of their book or window shop the potential item for their eReader; still, physical shelves cannot accommodate the virtual copies on the cloud that are systematically categorized and curated. Perhaps, residents of both worlds want to cling to their own individual choices as long as they are comfortable with their shopping preference.

Niche Market and Amazon’s Obstacles


Although there are interests to see a much bigger screen eReader, the limited support and hefty price of Sony’s writing slate clearly do not indicate the company’s focus on general consumers. Since there are a lot of eReaders out in the market, perhaps Sony wants to carve out a niche market to meet their potential corporate clients’ needs. According to the video demonstration of the product in courtesy of Good E Reader, it seems the official launch of the Mobius screen can be the closest thing to paper. Speaking of paper, Amazon Source is off to a rocky start due to the landslide negative feedback from several independent bookstores. It will be interesting to see how Amazon will convince the bookstores to join their program and buy their devices.

Label: eBook Industry News

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