Sony-Google Deal Adds 500k Public Domain Books to E-Reader

Sony is adding 500,000 public domain EPUB-based titles to its Reader catalog through a partnership with Google. Paul Biba at Teleread examines Sony’s rationale:

Sony’s apparent intent, meanwhile, beyond adding value to the Reader, will be to use public domain books in ePub to entice people to install its software and in time buy its reader devices.

In the exclusive TeleRead interview, Steve [Haber, President of Sony’s Digital Reading Division] emphasized that this program is part of Sony’s commitment to an open platform, as opposed to the closed platform of its major competitor (hint, hint, the name starts with an A). The ePub conversion is being done by Google itself, as noted; and Sony and Google are exploring ways to make copyrighted ePub material available.

Catalog expansion and mobile devices are propelling recent ebook/e-reader announcements. Google Book Search opened mobile access to its archive of public domain books in February, and Amazon recently made its Kindle titles available to iPhone and iPod Touch users through a free iPhone app.

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