Sony via Engadget: On August 25, 2009 Sony announced the Reader Daily Edition, which will be available this December for about US$399. Sony’s Reader Daily Edition is a special evolution: you get free but time-limited access to books and publications at public libraries. The first couple of libraries are The New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library. Just like a real library with real books you are limited in terms of time: from 14 to 29 days depending on the library. Here’s how it works: the library purchases a number of licenses of the digital books and then lets you borrow them. So the number of copies are limited as is the time: really like the real thing. Other public libraries and university libraries should follow allowing you to borrow books. Of course, you’ll need a valid library card. Late fees? No more: the borrowed books simply expire. I hope there is an easy way to renew. So will this be easy?
Unlike previous versions the Reader Daily Edition sports a 3G modem connected to AT&T’s network. I hope the connection doesn’t simply die when you’re partially done downloading a book: the library might think you’ve already downloaded the book and prevents you from downloading it again. Or the connection gets stuck and you’re downloading a 200KB book for hours–you’re of course not going to reboot because you really need to read this book and it’s the last copy! I digress. With the 3G connection you get access to Sony’s eBook Store and from there you should be able to borrow books from libraries all over: simply and quickly (hopefully). There are more than one million free public domain books from Google. New York Times bestseller titles are available for US$9.99. With a partnership with Overdrive.com, a major distributor of ebooks, you can easily access their local library’s collection of ebooks via Sony’s eBook Store. Check out what’s available at the Chicago Public Library or head on over to Overdrive.com, enter your zip code and start reading.
The Reader Daily Edition sports a 7-inch E Ink Vizplex electronic paper display with 16 levels of gray that you can touch. It has a accelerometer so you can view books, magazines, newspapers in portrait or landscape formats. The chassis is made of aluminum with an integrated cover. The Reader Daily Edition has enough internal memory for 1000 standard ebooks but you can use the expansion slots for more.
Sony’s Reader Daily Edition brings together content, hardware as well as software to advance the way we purchase and borrow books and other publications. I think Amazon with its Kindle will be scratching their heads and wondering, “Why didn’t we think of that?”