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Sony Expands Google Book Deal

San Diego – The e-bookstore wars heated up on Wednesday, with
Sony claiming to offer the largest e-bookstore and announcing it will offer more
than 1 million free books through a partnership with Google.

The announcement follows by eight days a launch
by Barnes & Noble
of an e-bookstore with 700,000 e-books, which Barnes
& Noble said was the largest e-bookstore at the time.

Sony’s alliance with Google includes 500,000 free books in the
public domain that were previously announced
in March
.  With today’s announcement,
Sony now offers 1 million books that are part of Google’s project to digitize
books. The new Google titles include such classics as Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure

Sony’s eBook Store now holds a total of more than 1.1 million
books in all.

The surge of new e-books mirrors an expected surge in new
e-readers by next year. Barnes & Noble recently stated it will ally with Plastic
Logic, which is expected to offer a large-screen e-reader early next year. And
Samsung this week entered
the e-reader market
in South Korea with reported plans to expand to other

E-books in the U.S. will climb from $52.4 million wholesale in
2008 to $1.8 billion (in wholesale publisher revenues) in 2014, Credit Suisse
forecasted. Approximately four million e-readers will be in U.S. consumer hands
by the end of this year, it said.

Sony’s eBook Store is compatible with its two e-book readers: the
PRS-505, starting at $280, and the PRS-700, starting at $350.