By Edward Nawotka
Sony is capturing many of the trade headlines with the news that it will offer a new $399 seven-inch, 3G enabled wireless e-reader with a touchscreen in time for Christmas in the United States. Dubbed the Sony Daily Edition, the device will use the EPUB format and, according to Gizmodo, will only be able to download books from Sony’s proprietary ebook store. What’s intriguing is that the device will also allow users to link to their local library and, provided the library works with Overdrive.com, allow a user to “check out” books and download them to their device. Like a normal book, the reader gets 21 days to read the book before it “expires.” No word yet on how a reader “returns” the book or whether the libraries will be able to charge fines (a major source of income for many).
What’s even more intriguing is that for the first time Sony has agreed to work with a variety of independent book retailers, allowing them to sell content to owners of Sony readers. These include Booksonboard.com and, dramatically, some 200 independent booksellers and members of the American Booksellers Association — who refuse to be left behind by the digital juggernaut. Book critics will also be happy to note that, starting today, NetGalley will also offer review copies as protected PDF files for users of Sony Readers (Finally!).
Meanwhile, the UK is simply excited about finally getting two new Sony devices into stores — the five inch “pocket edition” and the six inch “touch edition.” According to The Bookseller, Waterstone’s is trying to lure buyers for the devices by bundling a copy of Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol” with the device — a digital copy that is. Of course, it won’t be available until September 15, but still…
Meanwhile, in the US, the Dutch iRex company announced a plan to bring its new 3G enabled 8.1-inch e-reader to the US later this year and offer wireless access to Barnes & Noble’s newly minted online bookstore for purchases and downloads.