Waterstone's is offering customers a free e-book copy of the new Dan Brown novel if they pre-order one of two new Sony Readers: a touch-screen device and a pocket version. The new Readers, unveiled by Sony earlier this month, are available from today (25th August) to order, and Waterstone's will be the only retailer selling the device in the UK until one week after its launch date on 10th September.
Sony has also now announced that a wireless Reader will be released in the US in December. Dubbed the Daily Edition, it is the electronics giant's long-awaited response to Amazon.com's Kindle, and represents an intensification of competition in the growing e-books market in the US.
Like the Kindle, no UK launch date for the wireless has been given. In the meantime, Waterstone's has two new devices to market. The Reader Pocket Edition costs £179. It has a five-inch screen and can fit into a handbag or jacket pocket. It can hold around 350 e-books and has a battery life of around two weeks reading time. The Reader Touch Edition costs £249. Its six-inch screen is a touchscreen panel that allows navigation, page turning and note taking by using a finger or stylus. Users can type on a virtual keyboard and make handwritten notes with the stylus. These notes can be exported and printed out. It also features a built-in Oxford English Dictionary.
The e-book version of The Lost Symbol will be available when it is released on 15th September, though the price for those not receiving it free has not been released.
Waterstone's commercial director Neil Jewsbury said: "The Reader from Sony is the market leader, and these new models can only bring more people to digital reading. It’s very exciting too to be able to give new Reader users a download of what should quickly become the biggest e-book of all time, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol."
Both devices use E-Ink electronic paper and support the ePub format. Books can be uploaded onto the device using a USB cable.
Waterstone's was the first bookseller to sell the Sony Reader when it was launched in September last year. That device now sells for £179. Omar Gurnah, category manager for Reader at Sony UK, said: "Since last year’s hugely successful launch of our first Reader in the UK, we have watched the e-book market go from strength to strength. We now have the most accessible devices on the market and our goal is to get these devices into the hands of as many people as possible, enabling them to read the content they want, when they want it—whether they buy it, borrow it, or get it for free."
News of the new devices leaked earlier this summer after user manuals were discovered on the web. Sony later confirmed the two new models.