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Monday, 6 September 2010
Sony launches two new ereaders, announces REDgroup partnership

Sony has announced the release of two new e-ink ereader devices, due to come to Australia and New Zealand next week, and has also revealed it will partner with REDgroup Retail in both countries.

Six years after developing its first ereader, Sony will launch two models in Australia, the Sony Reader Touch ($299) and Pocket Editions ($229). Both feature touch screens and allow note-taking using a stylus.

A spokesperson for Sony said the company had held off on entering the Australian market until book publishers were ready to supply sufficient content. He said the company had held discussions with book publishers here for some 18 months in the lead up to the launch announcement, and had watched closely as Amazon, Kobo and Kindle entered the market.

That market is growing rapidly, with some five million e-ink ereader devices sold worldwide in 2009 and predictions sales will hit 12 million this year.

The Sony Readers will be available in REDgroup's Borders, Angus & Robertson and Whitcoulls outlets, and feature simple navigation to their online bookstores. The Sony ereaders are ‘open', however, which means users can download books from just about anywhere, in several formats, in contrast to the Kindle, which only allows downloads of books from Amazon.

But while the Kindle and iPad offer WiFi and the option of 3G for wireless downloading of content, the Sony Readers, like the Kobo, must be connected to a PC or Mac via USB.

The Sony Readers feature two English and 10 translation dictionaries in five languages. The 155g Pocket, which comes in silver, pink or dark blue, offers a 5" screen, 2GB internal memory (around 1200 ebooks), around 10,000 continuous page turns or two weeks per battery charge, support for multiple file formats and a picture viewer.

The 215g Touch model offers the same features but comes in black or red, with a larger, 6" screen (which is the same size as the latest Kindle). While it comes standard with the same 2GB internal memory as the Pocket, this can be expanded up to 16GB via SD slots and memory sticks to store 10,000 books. It also includes an audio player.

Sony expects the ereaders to go on sale in REDgroup outlets, Myer, in Sony stores and online next week.

The new 6" Kindle is also en route to Australian customers after a supply delay following its late July launch.

Charlotte Harper edits www.ebookish.com.auA feature on ebook publishing and selling in Australia, written by Harper, will appear in the November issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine.



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