Sony has unveiled two new electronic book readers that allow users to carry hundreds of novels with them on the go.
By Claudine Beaumont, Telegraph Technology EditorPublished: 25 Aug 2009
The Pocket Edition has a 5in screen, enough storage for about 350 books, and users can operate it with one hand. Both devices use eInk technology to create a natural reading experience that won't cause eye strain.
“Since last year’s hugely successful launch of our first Reader in the UK, we have watched the ebook market go from strength to strength,” said Omar Gurnah, a senior manager at Sony. “We now have the most accessible devices on the market and our goal is to get these devices into the hands of as many people as possible, enabling them to read the content they want, when they want it – whether they buy it, borrow it, or get it for free.”
Waterstone's, the high street retailer, will be selling the new ebook readers in-store and through its website. The bookseller predicts that e-books are set for an "explosion" in popularity over the next year.
"These new devices can only bring more people to digital reading," said Neil Jewsbury, commercial director for Waterstone's. "We have nearly 13,000 titles available for download, and sell an ebook every two minutes. We predict that we will sell our one millionth ebook in 2010."
Users of Sony's new Reader devices will be able to download hundreds of classic books for free on the internet, including The Jungle Book and Pride and Prejudice, as well as choose from best-selling titles. The Pocket Edition and Touch Edition are both compatible with EPub, the industry-standard format for electronic novels, which means users will be able to download books from a wide range of online stores.
Amazon is widely expected to launch its Kindle ebook reader in the UK in the coming months. The Amazon device can wirelessly download books over the mobile phone network, a feature that Sony's new ebook readers lack.
Some analysts believe the launch of the new devices is actually designed to counter the threat posed by Apple's iPod touch device, which doubles as a touch-screen ebook reader as well as a personal media player and portable web browser.