November 19, 2009, 9:16 AM — Remember back in August when Sony announced the Reader Daily Edition e-reader? At the time $400 for a 7" touchscreen and 3G connectivity seemed a tad high but not extravagant. To refresh your memory, back then there was no Barnes & Noble Nook and the Amazon Kindle 2 (with its 6" non-touch display) was $300.
But that was then and this is now, and yesterday Sony started accepting pre-orders for the Daily Reader [press release and more details], and they're sticking to the $400 price point. That's quite a bump up from the $260 you'd now spend on a Kindle 2 or a Nook. For an extra $160 you get a touchscreen that's an inch larger than the (non-touch) screen of the Kindle 2 and Nook (though the Nook has that secondary color touchscreen) and access to a public library e-book lending program (and granted this last factor could be significant if your local library supports the system).
The price seems much too high to me, but according to Bloomberg sales are exceeding expectations. Yahoo news says Sony expects shortages for the holidays. Of course, without knowing what expectations were or how many of the devices Sony has stockpiled, neither of these news blurbs say much about hard numbers, and it seems particularly fishy that the Bloomberg piece was posted the same day pre-orders went on sale. Orchestrated short supplies, perhaps? Call me a cynic, but that turn-around from "You can pre-order starting today!" to "Oh noes! We need to make more!" seems mighty quick.
On the other hand, perhaps I'm just not the target audience. Maybe that extra inch of display space is really significant to people or maybe for a certain type user (students, perhaps?) being able to jot down notes right on the screen is very important. Maybe those features really are worth another $160 to a lot of people? What do you think? Is the Daily Reader worth the extra $160, or is this another case of Sony being over-confident that its brand will sell a device?