Google helps add 500,000 public domain eBooks to Sony Reader store

Not sure if this is such a big deal but owners of Sony’s Reader – which includes my dad – can now access over half a million public domain books via the company’s eBook store, courtesy of a new partnership with Google Book Search.

Titles include an “extensive list of traditional favorites”, according to the joint press release, such as “The Awakening,” “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” and “Black Beauty”, along with Jane Austin’s “Sense and Sensibility” and “Emma.”

In their statements both Google and Sony were keen to tout the partnership as testament to their ‘openness’, a direct dig at Amazon’s Kindle, which uses a proprietary eBook format compared to the Reader’s support for the standards-based ePub.

However, as paidContent notes, the real picture isn’t quite as clear cut. Prior to today’s announcement, eBooks downloaded from Google Book Search either as text files or PDFs could already be transferred to and read on both the Reader and Kindle, albeit with the process on Sony’s device being a lot less cumbersome. What’s changed today is that by supporting the ePub format and adding its catalog to Sony’s own eBook store, Google just made it even more user-friendly and, for the time being at least, makes access to free public domain content – if you’re into that kind of thing – a key selling point for Reader over Kindle.

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last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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