Last week, Barnes & Noble announced its own device-independent electronic bookstore, offering broader range of titles than that available to owners of Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader…thanks in no small part to hundreds of thousands of public domain titles via the Google Books project. Not to be outdone, Sony has now announced its own deal with Google, making more than a million public domain books avaiable to owners of its Sony Reader device through its own eBook Store.
“We are committed to ensuring our customers have the freedom to discover and read content from the widest possible range of sources,” said Sony eBook Store director Chris Smythe, in a statement. “We’re proud to offer access to the broadest range of eBooks today—from hot new releases, to New York Times Best Sellers, to classics and hard to find manuscripts such as those available for free from Google.”
The public domain books are available in Epub format and are optimized for current Sony Reader models; with the addition of these public domain titles, the Sony eBook Store (however briefly) takes the top slot among ebook retailers, with a selection of more than a million titles. Amazon currently offers about 300,000 titles to Kindle customers; Barnes & Noble’s currently offers about 700,000 titles. Amazon has not indicated whether it plans to add public domain titles to its catalog.
Sony currently offers two eReader models, the PRS-505 and the PRS-700; each feature a 6-inch eInk display, with the 700 being snappier and featuring touch-screen capabilities. They’re available at prices starting at about $280 and $350, respectively.