On Tuesday, August 25, 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 ABA's IndieCommerce program.
Steve Haber, president of Sony's Digital Reading Business Division, addresses the media gathered at the New York Public Library for today's announcements.
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.
Plans are also underway to make Sony Reader devices available for purchase from all independent bookstores in time for this holiday season. (Watch for announcements in BTW as soon as the details are finalized.)
"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.
ABA will provide details about the plan allowing all indie bookstores to sell Sony readers as soon as they are finalized.