Offering competition in the marketplace is the American way–and the Japanese way too, apparently.
Sony has just announced that it will be adopting an open e-book format (called ePub) to help counter the early lead Amazon’s Kindle proprietary format has taken in the market. Those who buy e-books on Kindle can only read them on Kindle (or iPhone). The open ePub format will allow readers to buy e-books and read them on the device of their choosing.
David Pogue also brings us up to date on Barnes and Noble’s plans to compete with Amazon. He’s not very complementary–but he forgets that with B&N you don’t have to spend $300 or more on a new device. You can use the Blackberry or other screen you already own. So paying a couple extra bucks a book is not that bad a deal. You’d have to buy 150 e-books to make up what you’d spend buying a Kindle.
I mentioned here before that the e-book market needs more players in it than Amazon. Seeing Sony and Barnes & Noble in the mix is a healthy sign.