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March 19, 2009

Google and Sony take on Amazon’s Kindle

Talk about a smart move for Sony. It’s made a deal with Google that will allow all Google’s public domain (expired copyright) books to be read on the Sony reader, the Kindle’s biggest rival.

Amazon requires that all Kindle books get purchased through Amazon and appear in its proprietary format. Sony doesn’t require you to buy all your electronic reading material for its reader from it and, as far as I know, never has. But that difference hasn’t been publicized. Or, if Sony has tried to publicize this, the media haven’t covered it.

Getting access to all the public domain classics that Google has scanned gives it a publicity boost. (I believe owners of Sony’s e-reader can already use the Sony devices to read many if not most of the same public domain classics via Project Gutenberg).

– Anita Bartholomew

UPDATE: My colleague, George Sheldon, pointed out that, on the Kindle 2, you can read Word documents, not just documents prepared in Kindle’s proprietary format, and the device has the ability to convert other formats to its own. Like Sony, it can access Project Gutenberg public domain books.

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