As reported at cnet, in a partnership with Sony, Google will provide over 500,000 titles whose copyrights have expired which include literary classics like “Sense and Sensibility” and “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”. This move takes the number of titles to that the Sony offering has to 600,000 vs. the 250,000 for the Amazon offering. These include German, French, Spanish, Italian and other language translations as well.
Of course, if you don’t care about the classics then this is a moot point. In this economy though it’s hard to beat the fact that users will now be able to access the free book downloads through Sony’s eBook Store. I know these are all titles that were written prior to 1923 for the most part but a good book is a good book regardless of when it was written. Maybe studying the classics would be helpful to a nation that has spent more time looking over the past 80 plus years of economic activity more than ever before. Maybe looking back is a good way to move forward. I don’t know but for many it beats trekking to the library to get a beat up copy of these books that has been dog eared and written in over the past 20 years.
Google is taking advantage of all the work it has done with its Google book search project. While the books are free to the Sony Reader users there is little doubt that Sony ponied up a fair amount of cash for the opportunity although the details have not been disclosed.
I have not made the e Book switch yet and I am not sure I will. There are a lot of folks out there that really enjoy this option and apparently the big players are raising the stakes. Should be interesting to track.