Tomorrow Is U.K. D-Day For Sony Reader

September 3, 2008

Waterstones will be selling the Sony Reader beginning tomorrow, the official launch day.

This is what the pre-order page looks like:

Click = big

It looks like a single color is being offered: Silver. I always thought that, paradoxical as it sounds, Silver offered better contrast to the eInk screen than the Deep Blue color.

Pre-orders have apparently been going very well:

This is Sony UK touting it on their site:

The fine print says it will have a tan cover — as in the U.S. — not the black one shown (which is an additional purchase).

This is interesting:

1. When you buy a Reader, install the supplied software on your computer, connect Reader to it with the cable provided and voila! Create and manage your eBook library on your PC and transfer your eBooks to Reader exactly like you do with your music on your mp3 player.

2. Need a new book? Thousands of titles will be available from the online store of Britain’s best-loved bookseller. Simply buy the ones you want and import them into your PC’s Reader library.

Emphasis added by me.

This brings up some interesting questions:

1) What file format will be the file format of the eBooks sold by Waterstones? Sony’s BroadBand eBook (BBeB)? ePub?

2) If ePub, will Adobe Digital Editions be part of the software included with the Reader?

The one false step I see is that “Windows-only” is not prominent anywhere. It’s not until someone goes to the Sony Reader FAQ that we see:

18. Can I use Reader with an Apple Mac?

Reader is only supported on Microsoft® Windows® XP and Microsoft® Windows® Vista™ operating systems. If you are not sure whether Reader will work on your PC or laptop please check out the system requirements.

That lack of Mac compatibility is just stupid and stubborn on Sony’s part. And I can envision some people opening their brand new Reader and only then discovering it won’t work with their Mac!

Here’s an idea for Sony. With the introduction yesterday of the Google Chrome browser, why not think Cloud Library? Why not ditch your current Windows-only software and find a way to make it cross-platform via the Chrome browser? There will be a Mac version of Chrome. I’m sure the plug-in architecture for it will be cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux). This could be a great big opportunity, particularly with Google already having a ton of eBooks online. A Google-Sony eBook alliance could stand up against both Amazon as well as Apple. It would also be huge leverage against print publishers and could help lower eBook prices faster as well as garner big press attention for eBooks.

Six Free eBook Excerpts From Penguin Books

September 3, 2008

What a shock came through via Twitter today:

Penguin Books using Twitter to announce something that’s actually book-related (unlike last time!).

Penguin eBook Tasters

eBooks are Back!
Welcome to the relaunch of Penguin eBooks. By the end of this year we’ll have thousands of titles available in the shiny new ePub format for you to buy and read on your Sony eReader, your PC or Mac and other devices soon to launch. Penguin’s own eBooks area will also be opening its doors in a few weeks, but if you can’t wait until then, we’ve got some eBooks Tasters for you to try right now.

Simply click on the title you want to read and download the file to your computer. You’ll need to have Adobe Digital Editions installed on your computer to read the sampler on your PC or Mac.

If you’d like to read it on your eReader, connect your device and add the .ePub file to your library, more information here.

Happy reading

The following are available:

God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin – 10 pages

The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope – 11 pages

The Stories of English by David Crystal – 18 pages

King Dork by Frank Portman – 17 pages

King of Swords by Nick Stone – 10 pages

Things I Want My Daughter To Know by Elizabeth Noble – 38 pages

All in glorious device-independent ePub file format!

Note: If you want to sample these on your PC or Mac using Adobe Digital Editions, I hope you have some heavy-duty hardware. It’s a bear to use on my decrepit PC (which, I’ll repeat, sings when using Google’s Chrome browser, so not everything can be attributed to my hardware!).

Anyone with a Sony Reader should be able to drop them in to read just fine. Leave a Comment and let me know how the operation went.

Click for them.