Sony & Google sign eBook deal: 500k titles

Google and Sony have signed a deal to put the half-million scanned titles in the Google Book Search Project up for download through the Sony eBook Store.  The news means that classic titles such as Sense and Sensibility together with other out-of-copyright works will be freely available for the Sony Reader.

While many of the titles have already been available for some time now through Project Gutenberg, this will mark the first occasion where they are released in the more usable EPUB format.  EPUB will allow for more flexibility in pagination and zooming.

The agreement is being seen as a significant strike for Sony against the Amazon Kindle 2, which uses a DRM-encrypted format for its own wireless book purchases.  EPUB files are, however, viewable on the Kindle, requiring conversion first.  However it's headline statistics that Sony now moves ahead on: the Amazon ebook library is currently at around 250,000 titles, while Sony can now boast more than 600,000.