The battle for eBooks supremacy heats up

It seems eBooks or electronic books would be the next most important gadget for education. Amazon, Sony, Samsung and other manufacturers are releasing and announcing their product roadmap in as far as eBook readers are concerned.

The battle for eBook supremacy took a major turn when Sony announced its plan to convert its eBook store to the industry-standard EPUB format by the end of the year. Adopting an industry-standard format and Adobe(R) Content Server 4 (ACS4), a popular, cross platform server software solution that copy protects downloadable eBooks, allows Sony to make its eBook store compatible with multiple devices and its Reader devices open to multiple sources for content.

Sony’s Reader was the first dedicated reading device to support the EPUB format, the International Digital Publishing Forum’s (IDPF) XML-based standard format for reflowable digital books and publications. The standard was developed with the participation of more than 60 companies and organizations and was unanimously approved by IDPF members. EPUB has gained acceptance among major trade book publishers with dozens of publishers already producing the majority of their eBooks using the standard.

Current Readers from Sony, models PRS-505 and PRS-700, supported EPUB and reflowable PDF documents via Adobe Digital Editions 1.7 software. Recently announced digital readers – the Reader Pocket Edition, and the Reader Touch Edition – will both support the EPUB and PDF formats out of the box. Sony will also provide an update path for owners of the first edition Reader, model PRS-500, so early adopters of the Reader will be able to enjoy this benefit as well.

Through the eBook Store from Sony (ebookstore.sony.com), users can access new releases, best sellers and more than one million free public domain books from Google. The Google titles, already in EPUB format are optimized for the Reader. From Sony’s eBook Store, Reader owners with a store account can download and transfer any of these titles to their Reader, while new eBook Store users can access available titles after setting up an account and downloading Sony’s free eBook Library software.

Sony is also committed to working with local libraries throughout the country as they make the move to digital books. Sony Readers are compatible with the industry-standard formats that libraries use for their digital collections, so consumers can easily download perennial favorites and new releases from their local libraries and enjoy them for free.

At the end of the day, the consumers particularly the students will greatly benefit from this technology – affordable eBook readers and free reading materials is equal to well-read and well-informed learners. A perfect combination if you ask me.

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