ABA Indie Bookstores to Sell eContent, Sony Reader

    Tarrytown, NY. August 25, 2009. At a press conference in New York City this morning, Sony announced that it is cooperating with the American Booksellers Association, other retailers, and a variety of traditional and digital publishers to make available a universe of reading material in EPUB format compatible with Sony Readers. Among the sites offering EPUB content for sale to consumers will be more than 200 independent bookstores participating in the American Booksellers Association's IndieCommerce program.

    Beginning this Labor Day, ABA member stores on IndieCommerce's new Drupal platform will have the ability to sell e-content in several formats, including the EPUB format protected by Adobe's Content Server 4 (ACS4) digital rights management. In addition, Sony said that plans are underway to make its Reader devices available for purchase from all independent bookstores in time for this holiday season.

    "We're delighted Sony recognizes the value of the open EPUB format," said Len Vlahos, ABA's chief operating officer, "and are pleased that independent bookstores will be able to serve customers with Sony Readers."

    Sony noted that EPUB format, the International Digital Publishing Forum's (IDPF) XML-based standard format for reflowable digital books and publications, has already gained acceptance among major trade book publishers, with dozens already producing a majority of their eBooks using the standard. Earlier this month, Sony announced that it was converting its entire content library to the EPUB format to make its eBook store compatible with multiple devices and its Reader devices open to multiple sources for content.

    "From the beginning, we have said that an open format means more choice for consumers," said Steve Haber, president of Sony's Digital Reading Business Division. "Now, working with other industry leaders, we can provide a device that is compatible with the widest selection of content available. Readers can shop around for what interests them rather than be locked into one store."

    Sony also announced the Reader Daily Edition, its first eBook reader with built-in wireless capability, set to launch this December. The unit, which is priced at $399, will allow users to connect to the Sony eBook store, using AT&T's 3G network, where they'll be able to browse, purchase, and download books and newspapers.

    Earlier this month, Sony announced the less expensive Touch Edition and Pocket Edition Readers. Both units were unveiled at today's press conference and are available from existing Sony retail partners immediately.

    About American Booksellers Association

    Founded in 1900, the American Booksellers Association is a not-for-profit trade organization devoted to meeting the needs of its core members -- independently owned bookstores with storefront locations -- through education, information dissemination, business products and services, and advocacy. ABA exists to protect and promote the interests of independent retail book businesses, as well as to protect the First Amendment rights of every American. The association actively supports free speech, literacy, and programs that support local and independent retail shops. A board of nine booksellers, representing thousands of members, governs the Association. ABA is headquartered in Tarrytown, New York.

    About Sony Corporation of America

    Sony Corporation of America, based in New York, NY, is a U.S. subsidiary of Sony Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo. Sony is a leading manufacturer of audio, video, communications, and information technology products for the consumer and professional markets. Its motion picture, television, computer entertainment, music and online businesses make Sony one of the most comprehensive entertainment companies in the world. Sony's principal U.S. businesses include Sony Electronics Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., and Sony Music Entertainment, one of the largest recorded music companies in the world. Sony recorded consolidated annual sales of approximately $78.9 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009, and it employs 171,300 people worldwide.

    American Booksellers Association
    Meg Smith
    (914) 373-6641; meg@bookweb.org

    Follow ABA