Sony reader gives e-books a boost

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Sony reader gives e-books a boost

Has paperback publishing found its very own iPod?.

The electronic book equivalent of Apple's iPod may have got underway in the US last week with the launch of Sony's paperback-sized Reader device and an e-book download service at Sony's Connect online shop.

But UK and other European consumers may have to wait a long time to see the device, as Sony has no plans to launch here yet.

"It normally takes months to evaluate the success of new products in the US and Japan before we can decide whether to roll them out in Europe," a spokesman told "We have no plans for a European launch of the Reader at all."

The Sony Reader has been designed to resemble a paperback in weight and size. It has a six inch screen that uses E-Ink Corporation technology to emulate more closely the look of print on paper.

Users can view text from many angles, and resize it to make for easier reading. The device can hold up 80 books, and has sufficient battery power for 7,500 page turns.

Sony Connect has inked deals with many major publishers, including Penguin, Random House and Simon & Schuster, and blockbuster titles like The Da Vinci Code are available immediately. Several out-of-copyright classics, like George Orwell's 1984, come preloaded.

But Sony's Reader may not have iPod levels of uptake in the US. The high price of the Reader (US$350) and uncertainty around digital rights management (DRM) issues, may still produce consumer resistance.
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