Sony to convert e-book store to open format

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In a move to make its electronic book store compatible with multiple devices and its Sony Reader e-reader devices open to multiple sources for content, Sony has announced plans to convert the Sony eBook Store to the open format EPub e-book standard by the end of the year and adopt Adobe Content Server 4 for copy protecting downloadable e-books.

“Our intention is to lead by example,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony's Digital Reading Business Division, in a statement. “A world of proprietary formats and [digital rights management systems] creates silos and limits overall market growth. Consumers should not have to worry about which device works with which store. With a common format and common content protection solution, they will be able to shop around for the content they want regardless of where they get it or what device they use.”

The announcement follows Barnes & Noble's launch of an e-book store last month that also supports the EPub format. Amazon.com, thought to be the current leader in e-book sales, offers over 300,000 titles for its proprietary Kindle e-reader exclusively.

The EPub format was developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum with the participation of more than 60 companies and organizations. It is widely accepted by major trade book publishers.

For owners of the first edition of the Sony Reader, Sony will provide an update to make it compatible with EPub. Current models of Reader already have this capability.

Through the eBook Store from Sony (ebookstore.sony.com), users can access new releases, best sellers and more than 1 million free public domain books from Google.
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