Sony Reader Takes a Page From Google Books

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The ebook market may be fixated on the Amazon Kindle at the moment, but that doesn’t mean Sony is giving up on its own Reader Digital Book: the company announced today that it has partnered with Google so its own eBookstore now provides free access to more than half a million public domain titles via Google Books. The move boosts the number of titles available from Sony’s eBookstore from just over 100,000 to over 600,000, and includes many classics from authors like Mark Twain and Jane Austen, as well as a number of titles, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and other languages. Users with eBookstore accounts will be able to download the titles to PRS-505 or PRS-700 readers at no cost.

“We have focused our efforts on offering an open platform and making it easy to find as much content as possible—from our store or others—whether that content is purchased, borrowed or free,” said Sony’s Digital Reading Business Division president Steve Haber, in a statement. “Working with Google, we can offer book lovers another avenue for free books while still providing a seamless experience from our store.”

The move is the latest salvo in Google’s efforts to make its collection of public domain content available to a wide range of users; the company has always touted Google Books as an open platform. Google has announced plans to bring Google Books to the iPhone, and Amazon has indicated it plans to bring Google Books to the Kindle. Amazon currently offers about a quarter million book, magazine, newspapers, and blogs for the Kindle.