Google and Sony announced that Google would make its free public-domain eBooks available on the Sony Reader. With Sony's eLibrary now increased to more than 600,000 volumes, Amazon and its Kindle eBook reader are potentially faced with some serious competition, and the Kindle may become more open as a result.
announced that Google's library of public-domain eBooks would now be available
for free on the Sony Reader, increasing its library of titles to more than 600,000
and putting pressure on Amazon and its Kindle eBook reader, whose library
totals 245,000 volumes.
This marks the first time that Google has made its scanned
books, which can be downloaded in PDF format, available specifically for an
eReader in ePub format.
In what is perhaps a bid to make its device more
competitive, Sony also lowered the price of its PRS-700 reader by $50, to just
under $350, bringing it to a price point slightly under that of the recently
released Kindle 2, which retails for $359 on Amazon.com.
The older iteration of the Sony Reader, the PRS-500, is not
compatible with Google's library, according to the Sony eBook store.
however, will work with both the PRS-505 ($300) and the PRS-700; users will
need to set up a Sony eBook Library account in order to access the volumes.
Among those volumes are classic works by Dickens, Twain and
other literary luminaries. In addition to English, certain titles are also
offered in French, German, Italian, Spanish and other languages.
"We founded Google Book Search on the premise that anyone, anywhere,
anytime should have the tools to explore the great works of history and culture, "
, product management director for Google Print said
in a statement. "We believe in an open platform for accessing and reading
A report by The Wall Street Journal mentioned no immediate
plans by Google to sell ads through the Sony Reader. Financial
details of the deal between Sony and Google were kept under wraps.
the Kindle 2 on Feb. 9,
Amazon has found itself generating both massive
amounts of publicity and also a bit of controversy. Amazon
disabled one of the Kindle 2's new features,
a text-to-speech reader, after
the Author's Guild complained it could potentially affect royalties of
On March 4, Amazon
announced a Kindle App for the iPhone,
expanding the market for its
proprietary eBooks. Such moves boosted hopes for the Kindle 2's penetration
among the general population; the first Kindle has been a strong bestseller for
Amazon, particularly after a November 2008 endorsement by Oprah Winfrey.