Sony E-readers Get Access to 1M Free Public Domain Books From Google

The race to offer the biggest electronic bookstore got more competitive today as Sony Inc. announced that users of its e-book readers now have access to more than 1 million free public domain books in the Google Inc. Books project.

Sony claimed the news meant it was now the largest source for e-books. It also has an additional 200,000 popular books for sale, including nearly all the current bestsellers.

Barnes & Noble.com, however, on July 20 announced it had 700,000 e-book titles available, including more than half a million from Google in the public domain.

A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman said today that the Google public domain books are not exclusively available to Sony, and that Barnes & Noble would also have access to Google's e-books.

"We're not saying a number of how many we have available," the spokeswoman said, but added it was clearly more than 700,000. With the Google number doubled to 1 million, Barnes & Noble could have as many as 1.2 million, putting it in a tie with Sony.

Amazon.com Inc. is the other big contender in the e-bookstore war, with more than 300,000 titles available for its Kindle e-book readers, Apple Inc. iPhones and iPod Touch devices.

Sony's e-books are available on its two e-readers, the PRS-505 and PRS-700.

Barnes & Noble said it is offering its books on the iPhone and iPod Touch, BlackBerry smartphones, and soon, exclusively, on the upcoming Plastic Logic eReader device. Aside from handhelds, Barnes & Noble supports most Windows and Mac laptops and desktop computers.

This story, "Sony E-readers Get Access to 1M Free Public Domain Books From Google" was originally published by Computerworld.

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