Google gives Sony’s e-Book reader an additional 500,000 books

Mountain View (CA) – Sony Corp’s e-Book reading device is expected to be announced today, but already it’s received a huge set of copyright-free books, courtesy of Google. The 500,000 book injection adds to Sony’s existing library, raising its total to the single largest repository available at around 600,000 books, more than Kindle’s 245,000 titles.

Google’s book collection comes from scanned public-domain books currently available at books.google.com. The books are free to download in PDF format.

A Google spokeswoman, Jennie Johnson, said Google’s desire is to make the books as widely available as possible. “Really our vision is: any book, anywhere, any time and on any device. We want to partner with anybody who shares our vision of making them more accessible.”

According to reports, the publishing industry has united around the EPUB file format for e-Book distribution, though Amazon has retained its own incompatible proprietary format for Kindle. There’s a PC software program available that can convert EPUB files into those readable by Kindle.

Sony’s e-Book reader has a slightly more bulky process to download books, however. The books must first be downloaded from Sony’s website to a regular computer. From there they are uploaded to the reader once it’s connected.

Sony’s e-Book reader comes in two models, selling for $300 and $350.

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