Sony Reader gets 500,000 e-books from Google

Half a million books are to be made available for free by Google on Sony's e-book reading device, according to the Associated Press.

This is the first time Google will have made it's vast collection of scanned public-domain books available to an e-book reader, a move which sees the Sony Reader's available book collection expand to about 600,000 books - far more than the 245,000 available on Amazon's Kindle.

The scanned books, which are not protected by copyright, were all published prior to 1923 and includes classic fiction novels from the likes of Charles Dickens as well as non-fiction work. All of the books are already available to download for free in the PDF format, however Google will provide the books to the Sony Reader in the EPUB format, which works much better on e-book readers. Amazon's Kindle uses its own format, although unencrypted EPUB files can be converted to the Kindle's file format through PC software.

Google spokeswoman Jennie Johnson said, "Really our vision is: any book, anywhere, anytime and on any device. We want to partner with anybody who shares our vision of making them more accessible."

Earlier this month Amazon released a free Kindle application for the iPhone and found itself in hot water over the Kindle 2's new text-to-speech feature.

While the Kindle has a wireless connection to its e-book store, users of the Sony Reader who wish to download the books must first download them from Sony's website to a computer, before copying them across to their Sony Reader.

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the kindle INCLUDES 3G wireless in the cost... you basically get cell access to the amazon site for free (well its included in the price of the device) for its life

Yes, but the cell service can only be used to purchase items from their store. I can't create an app that gets me web content and feeds it to my Kindle... can i? (Please tell me I'm wrong)

I have an old RCA eBook that uses the Gemstar software. I download stuff from Project Gutenberg all the time and convert it. I guess Google is building the books for you?

It's cool being able to read all the H.G. Wells stuff free.

Copyright is only suppose to be limited, to allow creator a window to profit, but then has to give it up to not rest on there past work to force innovation and not resting on laurels.

It's recent that copyright keeps getting extended to years and then there the question of the owner being a company vs a person.

Nice. I've been giving serious thought to a Sony Reader in the past few months. We have a Manhattan apt which is full of books, and it would be nice to keep those books digitally and gain back some of the space. Before I moved to NYC from Seattle I converted my CDs, Tapes and vinyl (over 1000) to MP3. Sony needs to drop the price to $99 ...ok, maybe "need" is too strong a word... but it would allow them to gather serious market share. I also wish Sony's had WiFi. That way I could create an app that surfed specific sites, pulled down the pages and converted them, then passed that onto the device automatically.