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Sony Intros 3G e-Reader

8/25/2009 12:01:30 PM Eastern

New York - Sony Electronics today launched a new 3G-equipped e-reader that will ship in time for the holiday selling season.

The company also announced a partnership with the New York City Public Library system that gives library patrons access to the system's e-books.

The Sony Reader Daily Edition, $399 and shipping in December, is the company's first reader to offer 3G wireless connectivity. The device has a 7-inch display and can sync with a Mac or PC.

It will use AT&T's 3G system, although there will be no charge for data connectivity, Sony said.

The Daily Edition joins two other recent additions to the Sony line - the $199 Pocket Edition and the $299 Touch Edition. The former has a 5-inch display, can hold 350 e-books and will operate for two weeks on a single charge, Sony said.

Sony e-readers
From Left, Sony's Pocket Edition, Touch Edition and Daily Edition e-readers.

The Touch Edition adds a 6-inch touchscreen and a built-in dictionary. The Pocket Edition uses buttons along the device's sides to access the content.

Both ship at the end of August.

The e-readers will receive general distribution and will be found in 8,000 storefronts later this year, said Steve Haber, president of Sony's digital reading business division.

Sony today also launched the 3.0 version of its e-book library software along with several new e-book accessories, including an attachable light. It has greater annotation capabilities and lets the user print out notes.

In addition to working with the New York Public Library, Sony has created a new area in its e-book store called the Library Finder. Here, readers can discover if their local library has e-book downloads. Such content will typically remain accessible on the e-reader for 21 days.

Dr. Paul LeClerc, president and CEO of the New York Public Library, said the library has 40,000 downloadable titles, and 250,000 electronic downloads took place last year. Overall, the library's Web site received 25 million visits, compared with the 17.5 million people who physically walked into the building.

A patron only needs a library card for access to the electronic catalog, which can be obtained on the library's Web site.

LeClerc said the library is also working with Google's online book project and expects to scan in 1 million books, many of which will be available for the Sony Readers.

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