Sony finally unveiled the final version of the ebook reader, which retails for $350 at the Sony Style store. It will be available in Borders stores in October.
Sony today also announced the premiere of its Connect eBook store. Agreements with a number of major publishing companies have made more than 10,000 eBook titles available to download to the Reader via the companion PC software.
And for a limited time, when a Reader is registered on the Connect site, people will receive a $50 credit towards the purchase of any available eBook titles which can now be reviewed online at ebooks.connect.com.
"Today, we're writing a new chapter in digital technology for reading," said Ron Hawkins, Sony Electronics' vice president of Portable Reader Systems marketing. "Easy and enjoyable to use, the Reader fulfills the promise of electronic reading in a way that no other device has been able to do. Not intended to replace traditional books, but to supplement them, the Sony Reader allows people to take a library of books and other reading material with them wherever they go."
Starting in October, book fans will find the Reader on shelves at SonyStyle stores located in high-end fashion malls throughout the country as well as at about 300 Borders(R) stores, including Borders airport locations. Borders, the exclusive bookstore retail partner for the Reader during the upcoming holiday season, will also sell pre-paid cards for eBook downloads on the Connect service.
The screen is not back-lit, which saves the battery but elicited criticism from gadget and tech reviewers. The page turn feature will be considered slow by impatient users, and the small memory of 64MB is a bit of a puzzler. The readers will store up to 80 electronic books in internal memory, and you can buy a separate memory stick or SD memory card if you'd like to expand the storage capabilities. We're crazy about the concept for the e-reader, but we're thinking that the price point is still too high for most consumers.