4.0118 Sony Electronic Books (Cross-posting) (1/84)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Wed, 23 May 90 20:18:06 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0118. Wednesday, 23 May 1990.

Date: Wed, 23 May 90 08:12 CDT
From: Bob Boynton <BLABYNPD@UIAMVS>
Subject: Sony electronic books
Forwarded by: Michael Hart <HART@UIUCVMD>
Cross-Posted to: GUTNBERG; MBU-L; OBI; PACS-L

The Washington Post had a story a week ago on Sony's "electronic book."
That is the only place I have seen it mentioned. It is not a whole lot
of information -- Bob Boynton

Sony to Make Electronic Books
'Data Discman' Player Will Use 3-Inch CDs

David Thurber

Tokyo, May 15--Sony Corp., the brains behind the ubiquitous Walkman
stereo, said today it will introduce an "electronic book" system that
uses a palm-size player for reading books recorded on 3-inch compact

Sony's "Data Discman" player has a screen that displays text recorded on
CDs called Electronic Books that each can store about 100,000 pages of
text--more than 300 paperback books, Sony officials said.

"The purpose of this product is to create an entirely new market.
Instead of having to go to a library or bookshelf for information,
people can have access to it anytime and anywhere," said Sunobu
Horigome, head of Sony's General Audio Group.

If successful, Sony's reward could be big. In two years, the Japanese
market alone for CD information discs, including the new CD books, is
expected to grow to about $2.6 billion, according to Hideo Nishikawa,
general manager of new media development for the publishing house Iwanami

Sony said it plans to begin marketing the machine in Japan on July 1 for
about $380. Overseas sales are expected to begin in less than a year,
after arrangements with local publishers are made, officials said.

The Data Discman comes with a CD containing five different English and
Japanese language dictionaries and can be plugged into a regular
television screen to create a larger display. Users also can listen to
regular 3-inch audio CDs with an earphone.

A small typewriter-like keyboard allows a user to select particular
entries or portions of the text.

Twenty-eight Japanese publishing companies have formed an Electronic Book
committee that cooperated with Sony in developing the format, said

Eighteen CD Electronic Book titles will be released at the same time as
the Data Discman. Titles will include reference books and guides to
medicine, movies, travel and entertainment, he said. Electronic Books
are likely to cost an average $20 to $33, Nishikawa said.

"Novels are certainly possible, but the question is how successful they
will be because of the small screen," a Sony official said. The screen
can display only 10 lines at a time, but can be "scrolled" up or down.

Both the CDs and player will be sold through regular bookstores.

The player's built-in software allows it to display indexes and quickly
find particular portions of the text.

Compact discs use digital codes to record information ranging from music
to computer programs or databases. Those that contain data used by
computers are called CD-ROM--CD read only memory--because they generally
cannot be altered or re-recorded.

Washington Post May 16, 1990 pp. D9,D13