New Sony Readers for Pre-order at Waterstones UK

If you didn’t already know, I come from the UK, so you can imagine my delight when I saw that the two new Sony Readers (Pocket Edition & Touch Edition) are on pre-order over at Waterstones UK and W.H.Smith.co.uk. I fully expected that us Brits would have to wait another year before being able to buy them, but it seems that Sony have done the right thing!

For those of you who have not already heard, Sony are releasing three new eBook Readers. They are all e-paper devices that can read ePub books. The Pocket Edition has a 5″ screen. The Touch Edition is 6″ like the PRS-505, but with a touch screen. The Daily Edition, which was announced just today, has a 7″ tall touch screen and wireless connectivity via AT&T. At the moment the Daily Edition looks like it will only be released in the U.S.

The costs of the readers over at Waterstones is £179.99 for the Pocket Edition and £249.99 for the Touch Edition. Keeping in form with the PRS-505 prices, these are yet again much more expensive than our U.S. counterparts can get them for; $199 (~£120) and $299 (~£180) respectively.

Waterstones does not have the Daily Edition reader for pre-order and I wouldn’t hold much hope either that it will be released in the UK this year; Sony would still need to find a mobile provider who would allow them to piggy-back on their cell service. The general assumption is that Amazon have been trying to arrange this on their Kindle for quite sometime, without success.

Oodles of commercial ePub books…but not from Waterstones!

During 2008 the EPUB eBook format gained huge acceptance and we heard rumours touting that there would be 20,000 available EPUB titles by the end of the year. Waterstones were saying this prior to the release of the Sony Reader in the UK.

As we head into 2009, Waterstones still shows less than 7000 titles in their catalogue, when viewing all available eBook titles. However, I get the feeling that this will change quite soon.

A few days back BooksOnBoard made an announcement on WebWire that they now have 30,000 titles available for the iPhone. After doing a search on their site I found that almost 20,000 of those are in the EPUB format. Great news for ePub fans, but we need more. Still, BooksOnBoard was the first retailer to make commercial ePub formatted books available and their entire online eBook collection consists of almost 300,000 titles. Perhaps they will be the first to reach 100,000 ePub books!

No doubt other online retailers such as Waterstones will be soon following suit – will 2009 be the year of the EPUB format?

Sony Readers are coming to every town!

If you’re lucky enough to live in the U.S. then you have plenty of options when it comes to a dedicated eBook reader. For those of us from Europe however, the pickings are much slimmer. That is until now!

In case you’ve been living under a log – come this Thursday we in the UK will have our very own Sony Reader Digital Book (PRS-505)!!

According to the SonyStyle.co.uk website; they will start shipping the new Readers on the 4th September 2008. The regular shipping takes 5 working days but pay an extra £13 and you’ll receive it within 24 hours. Just think, you could be reading on your very own Sony Reader this weekend!

What do you get for your £199 (+ shipping)

I’m sure you all know the details by now so I’ll be very brief;

  • 6″ E-Ink paper like reading screen
  • Space enough for 160 books (10,000+ if you use the memory slots)
  • 6,800 continuous pages turns (avg. users may charge just once every 2 weeks!)

And What About Books?

  • Tens of thousands of bestsellers from the Sony Book Store and Waterstones (plus many others websites.)
  • 100,000+ Free public domain books via sites like Project Gutenberg (H.G. Wells, Jane Austin, Alexandre Dumas, etc.)

Now, if you’re thinking about ordering a Reader from the Sony website why not use my link below. By clicking on this link I will get a chance to win my very own PRS-505! Yep, those great people at SonyStyle.co.uk are running a competition and for me to be in with a chance of winning, I just need to place their link on my website and hope some of you lovely people will click it before ordering.

If I do win, I will however be putting the Reader to good use – I am currently developing tools to convert the Project Gutenberg txt eBooks to the ePub format and expect to start releasing them for free on ePubBooks.com before the end of the year. Having a Reader to test them on will be a big benefit! So…[link removed]

What About Other European Countries?

As the title of this post indicated, it seems the UK is not the only country that will be receiving a Reader release this year. MobileRead.com user doctorow posted on the site that perhaps Germany will also be getting their own Reader before the year is out. According to Spiegal.de (written in German) they have spoken with Sony Germany and there are plans for a release there. Perhaps an announcement will be made during this year Frankfurt Book Fair.

There is also speculation that France will follow suite before the year is out.

UPDATE: We’re now hearing that Waterstones book shops in Amsterdam and Brussels will be stocking the Sony Reader.

This could be an interesting year for us Europeans.

Sony Reader now reads ePub books!

Very early this morning, 12:01 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time to be precise, TeleRead.org broke the news that Sony are officially releasing a firmware update allowing the Sony Reader Digital Book PRS-505 to read the IDPF ePub formatted books – available from their website today.

The ePub standard has seen great interest of late from both professionals and amateurs alike but this is the first time were are going to be able to read ePub formatted books on a dedicated eBook device such as the Sony Reader.

The new firmware allows the Reader to view both DRMed and non-DRMed ePub/PDF files, which also means Sony users can now purchase books from vendors other than Sony itself (Fictionwise, O’Reilly, Penguin UK, etc). A short time ago we had confirmation from several publisher that they will start to provide ePub formatted books – Penguin UK announced they’ll have plenty of ePub books available from September 2008.

Waterstones/SonyStyle to sell Sony Reader in the UK!

For those of us who are UK eBook fans, Sony have partnered with the Waterstones book store in the UK to start selling the Sony Reader, available from 3rd September 2008, they will have over 25,000 titles available when they go live! You can also Pre-Order your Sony Reader UK (PRS-505) from SonyStyle.co.uk. The eBook titles to be made available at Waterstones will be released in the ePub format.

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