The Sony eReader will compete with the Kindle 2.
There are some aspects to this device that may be positive for school districts.
1. The device allows the user to type in a zip code and obtain virtual copies of books from the local library branches.
2. The device is not tethered to one single distribution center like the Kindle 2.
For a review of what one school district is considering, check out this comment from Matt Mello, technology director at Holly Area Schools:
Would be great if the Sony solution permits single point of administration of content for their wireless eBook readers. Its quite apparent that Amazon does not have this capability.
We're evaluating eBook readers as possible replacement for our school district's textbooks. We purchased several of the larger Kindles and though a great reader for individuals / consumer market, Amazon does not have a solution for distributing and controlling a volume of eBooks devices.
It is clear that Amazon doesn't even have a strategy for this, based on experiences of calling their customer support. They had no information to offer, either now or in the long run. Their only solution is to have an individual email account tying each Kindle to an end-user. This is very problematic to manage for several thousand students. Also, you cannot speak directly to a Sales or Technical Acct Exec for Kindles at Amazon. Only someone who has general information.
I hope Sony develops such strategies as central point of administration for managing a volume of wireless eBook readers and have an organizational account structure where there is an individual / team with whom we can speak directly on product features or support.
I think these strategies would be key selling points and allow widespread adoption by educational institutions.