Confirmed: The Sony PRS-T3 Won’t Be Released in the United States

Sony PRS-T3 Release

I’ve got some disappointing news to report today. Earlier in the week I reached out to the Sony Reader division in the United States to inquire about the Sony PRS-T3 ebook reader to see if and when it was coming to the US. As it turns out, the PRS-T3 will not be released in the US.

I knew something was fishy after Sony released it in Europe and Canada earlier in the month, then 3 weeks went by with nary a mention about in the US, where the Sony website still advertises the PRS-T2 from last year.

I sincerely hope this doesn’t mean the beginning of the end for the Sony Reader. It sounds like Sony would rather focus on tablets and phones moving forward.

Judge for yourself. Here’s the response I got from Sony about the PRS-T3:

Sony will not be offering the Reader PRS-T3 in the United States. In response to the region’s market changes, Sony will be focusing instead on mobile and tablet devices, including the Xperia Tablet Z and Xperia Z smartphone. Digital reading and eBooks remain an important priority for Sony. Reader Store will still help book lovers find and read their next story, anytime and anywhere, and customers can continue to expect new and exciting features and discovery tools. Reader Store will continue to support previous Readers as well as other compatible devices via the free Reader apps for PC, Mac, Android and iOS.

What’s interesting about all this is that Sony clearly intended to release the PRS-T3 in the US at some point in time because it went through the FCC. There’s no reason to submit a device for testing otherwise. Something made Sony change their mind since then.

I can only hope this is a one time move and that future Sony Readers (if there are any) don’t get snubbed from the US marketplace. It seems like such a strange move for Sony to release a new ebook reader in some countries where they don’t even sell ebooks, and then they elect not to release the new device in the US where they do sell ebooks.

It was clear from the early leaked details and reviews coming out of Europe that the PRS-T3 was disappointing. There’s no frontlight. It doesn’t use the latest E Ink Carta screen technology. There are only a couple of new features. It’s basically a re-done PRS-T2 with a slightly new design and built-in cover.

But the fact that the PRS-T3 isn’t coming to the US at all is even more disappointing. Not so much for the missed opportunity, but for what it means in regard to the uncertainty of the future of Sony ebook readers. I’ve reviewed every Sony Reader since the PRS-600 and PRS-300. It will feel weird not to be reviewing the PRS-T3.

16 Responses to “Confirmed: The Sony PRS-T3 Won’t Be Released in the United States”

  1. Does it not stand to reason that those that choose to read on dedicated eReaders would be those that purchase more eBooks? Sony should cater to that group, if only at the very least by releasing the T3 in limited quantities in the U.S.

  2. Nathan, I wouldn’t give up yet. Maybe Sony will release a different e-reader here, maybe based on newer technology that would be competitive for this market. My guess is they are probably not happy with the decreasing margins.

  3. This is a sad day in general for e-readers. With the move to the Pearl HD and Carta higher resolution e-ink screen technologies all e-readers are getting more expensive in general.

    If Sony does does stop selling e-readers it will be a huge loss. I love my PRS-T1 reader with its physical page turn buttons and expandable storage. Sony is selling PRS-T2’s in their Sony Store for $99. Maybe I will pick one as a backup. Although the PRS-T1 is such a well made device that it should easily last me a few more years.

  4. Nathan please do not be attached to bad products and let them die.
    Do not worry, there be plenty of others to go on this market.

    • How do you figure that? Amazon has scared all the competition out of the US. There used to be lots of choices for eBook readers. Now all that’s left is Kobo and Nook, and the latter is on life support. The future of E Ink eBook readers looks bleaker than ever.

      • Well here is my reasoning.
        No one can beat Amazon in the cheap and acceptable category.
        A higher end category might be reserved for other companies, but the problem is that nobody can produce a much superior reader than Kindle. Yes some readers have some advantages, but also huge disadvantages.
        So as fast the shitty readers die and there will be only Amazon, than might a smaller and dedicated company might be tempted to go for a niche quality product.
        You will not be able to drive a market with an abundance of low quality products.
        However I could be wrong…

        • Nobody as really tried, either.
          Everybody seems hung up over beating Amazon at their own (high volume) game.
          And the irony is that selling readers at near cost wasn’t Amazon’s idea: they used to sell their readers at a hefty Apple-like markup until B&N started the four hour price war and showed them the virtues of near cost pricing. And, even more ironic: B&N did it thinking the price fix conspiracy would guarantee them a fat margin on ebooks forever.
          Gotta love the law of unintended consequences.

        • Lazlo – The problem with a high end niche e-reader market developing at any scale is price pressure from low end tablets. If anything the high end e-reader market will at most be a small high-priced niche market.

          On your analysis of the Kindle I’ll have to disagree. The four major e-book manufacturers all produce excellent e-book readers with slightly different pros and cons. In fact, I absolutely refuse to buy or gift any Kindles because Amazon refuses to offer what I consider one of the most valuable features – “expandable memory”. Don’t get me wrong the Kindle is a good product — but until they offer a microSD card slot or some other form of expandable memory I will NEVER buy one.

  5. Lazlo, I agree with Nathan. This is not a good thing. The problem is a strange one. E-ink e-readers are getting more expensive and low end tablets are getting less expensive (due to economies of scale).

    If this trend continues Nook and Kobo may drop out of the U.S. market as well.

    I like the Amazon reader except for one very major issue — No expandable storage (for that reason alone I absolutely refuse to buy a Kindle).

    And if the Amazon Kindle becomes the only e-reader in the U.S., then without competition there will be very little innovation moving forward with e-readers.

  6. Hi,

    I was in Montreal on Friday (27 Sept 2013), and the PRS-T3 was available at the Sony Store in the Eaton building.

    L.

  7. Let’s take a glimpse to other markets e.g. Germany – There is a competition, besides tablet-stuff, e-ink-Readers: Kindle, Kobo, Tolino, Pocketbook 623, Tekstor, Onyx Boox, SONY T3,Bookeen Cybook

    • Yeah there’s all kinds of competition in Germany now. Makes me jealous. We’re down to only 3 brands in the US, Kindle, Kobo, and Nook. The Nook is on life support and nobody really cares about it anymore (a reflection of B&N’s attitude towards it themselves). Kobo ereaders are only available online, with a few random independent book stores carrying them. It’s pretty pathetic.