Google has released 500,000 books for use in Sony’s eBook reader. The non-copyrighted works (all with expired copyrights) will vault Sony to the head of the pack when it comes to what is available on an eBook reader, giving Sony users access to about 600,000 books. All 500,000 books are free. By comparison, Amazon only has 245,000 books available, the majority of which cost at least something to buy.
Google has simply offered its current stock of scanned books in a format that electronic text readers can use. The same library has already been available for free through Google as PDF’s, which don’t work with most electronic book readers, but work well on computer screens.
“Really our vision is: any book, anywhere, any time and on any device,” Google spokesman Jennie Johnson said. “We want to partner with anybody who shares our vision of making them more accessible.”
Amazon continues to lock down their format so that it can only be used on the Kindle, while Sony has subscribed to policy of more openness when it comes to what can be put on its reader. The electronic book publishing industry, for the most part,uses EPUB for the format of electronic books. Unlocked EPUB files can be used on the Kindle, but only with a bit of a workaround. In Sony’s case, locked and unlocked EPUB files are both easily used on their reader.
The cost for the Sony eBook reader is priced between $300 and $350 depending on the model chosen.