now announced they’re offering over a million public domain books in EPUB format – the exact format that Sony’s Daily Edition reader likes.
To download a book, search for a title over at Google Books. Public domain titles will have a download link in the upper right corner. Which brings us to the first major difference between the Kindle and this Google-Sony open book strategy: while Amazon only offers 300,000 titles, Google’s million books aren’t, for the most part, the most attractive ones, and Sony’s own ebook library doesn’t offer a choice as good as Amazon – at least when it comes to modern titles.
Sure, if you’re interested in an oldie, such as the Memoirs of Granville Sharp, Google’s library is a good choice, but if you’re looking to buy a digital copy of the latest bestseller, you’re more likely to find it on the Kindle than in Google’s library and Sony’s ebook store combined. You can sometimes buy an ebook online and then transfer it to your Sony ebook reader, but on the Kindle it’s simpler and easier to do.
Google and Sony’s format of choice, EPUB, is also important. It’s an XML-based, free, open ebook standard which can be optimized for different devices, but Kindle does not (natively) support it. So, any titles you have in EPUB format, you can transfer to another device (it’s a bit more complicated than that, since EPUB also supports DRM, but Google’s selection of public domain titles will be free of any restrictions); on the Kindle, it’s forbidden. In geek terms, when it comes to ebooks, Sony and Google are to Amazon Kindle like Linuxlinux
is to Windows: free and open vs. closed but perhaps easier to use. We’ll see which one wins in the end.
…which is great for 3rd world countries like Canada where the Kindle doesn’t exist and probably won’t exist for a while yet.