Sony aims for "affordability" with new e-readers

<p>Sony is to launch two new e-reading devices at the end of August, which will retail in the US for $199 and $299, the <em>New York Times</em> reports.</p><p>They are called the Reader Pocket Edition and Reader Touch Edition. </p><p>Sony had planned to unveil the two new Readers later this month, but images of the devices were posted on gadget blogs this week after one retailer prematurely added them to its online store, the <em>NYT</em> said.</p><p>The company is also planning to reduce the price of its e-books from $11.99 to $9.99, meeting Amazon&#39;s prices. The price of the Kindle was recently dropped to $299.</p><p>Steve Haber, president of Sony&rsquo;s Digital Reading Business Division, said: &quot;The e-book industry has not hit the mainstream yet. We are focusing on affordability.&quot;</p><p>He added: &quot;We have to offer value. It&rsquo;s clear e-books should be less expensive than regular books, with the savings on printing and logistics getting passed on to the consumer.&rdquo; </p><p>Although the <em>NYT</em> report stated &quot;publishers will still retain their traditional cut of every e-book sale&quot; it highlighted some concerns from stateside firms.</p><p>Jonathan Karp, publisher and editor in chief at Twelve, an imprint of the Hachette Book Group, said: &ldquo;$9.99 has now become the effective price for e-books in August of 2009. Let&rsquo;s just take a breath and see how long this lasts.&rdquo; </p><p>The paper also reported that some firms were considering postponing the release of the digital version of any given title, to ensure the lower-cost e-book would not be competing against the hardback. </p>