Google and Sony Partner for 500k eBooks Deal
In an effort to squash competition from Kindle 2: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation), Google and Sony have struck up a deal to put over 500,000 eBooks on Sony Connect eBook store for FREE. Granted, all of these books are public domain, but they’ve been specially formatted for Sony Reader.
Ars Technica weighs in:
“Sony’s Readers have long allowed users to read PDF and text files on the devices (see our review of an early Reader and of the newest model for more details), and they can be easily synchronized with specific directories on a PC. The Connect store has always been present, but it has been expensive and not particularly well-stocked in the past…”
“Both devices are now capable, good-looking products, and today’s announcement is a reminder that content—and easy access to it—will be a key area of competition. With support for newspapers, blogs, and books, Amazon looks to be building a juggernaut, but Sony hopes that easy-to-access public domain content will give it an edge.”
The name of the game when it comes to portable eBook readers is Readability. If the device makes everything not purchased from the proprietary format store look like crap, there’s no chance people are actually going to buy and keep that device and actually use it. I’m already sort of against the whole idea of a portable eBook reader to begin with. Whatever happened to actual books? I know they can get worn out and damaged, but that’s the whole point of owning a book. You get to be the one to wear it out.
Reading a book is a largely tactile experience, and while to some degree holding the book and flipping the pages can become arduous or boring, it loses all the ambiance when you try to translate the experience to a digital device. Books on a shelf can be comforting, decorative, or even fulfill some people’s A.D.D. (try organizing your books by color!).
What do you think? Are eBooks worth your time, or do you love the experience of reading a real book? Is it all about the content and not as much the presentation? I could see for reference books (or even Dungeons and Dragons books) how an eReader might be utilitarian.
Chime in with a comment and let me know what you think.