While it may not pack the sales bang of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the latest edition of Sony Electronics' Reader Digital Book could turn some heads among gadget lovers when it is released this month.
Sony announced the latest edition of the Reader, model PRS-505, this week, and said it will be available in the US this month at Sony Style stores and on the Sony Style Web site as well as at Borders book stores. For US$300, people will get a paperback book-sized Reader in either silver or dark blue, which can hold up to 160 books.
A Sony spokesman was unable to provide a specific date for the launch of the new Reader.
To get people started on their new Reader, Sony is offering credit for 100 classic books, including the works of Shakespeare and Jane Austen, on Connect, an eBooks store set up by Sony. The site includes 20,000 eBooks, including the latest editions of many top authors and much of the New York Times Bestsellers' list. It doesn't include any books in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.
Improvements to the reader include nearly twice the storage space, a battery that will last around 7,500 page views, new controls that are redesigned to mimic page-turning and allow quicker navigation, and a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port allowing the transfer of data from a PC. The new Reader also includes slots for Memory Stick Duo and SD memory cards to increase storage capacity.
An auto-sync feature with the new edition allows users to create a folder for books and documents on their computer with which they can automatically synchronise the Reader.
At this stage, there are no plans for this product to become available in Australia.