Monday, November 19, 2007

Someone's Using the Sony Reader

While eagerly awaiting Kindle, netGalley, and all the other cool launches in 2008, some publishers are working with what we have in the here-and-now: the Sony Reader. Simon & Schuster started giving it (officially, The Reader Digital Book) to sales reps, so that they could download manuscripts at will, and carry the Reader on their travels. It saves time and money (the cost of copying and mailing the paper version), not to mention the hassle of lugging all those pages around, notes Adam Rothberg, VP, Corporate Communications at S&S. Reps plug their Reader into their computer and log onto a dedicated site to choose what they'd like to download. Other MS Word documents can also be offloaded directly from the computer.

The experiment has been so successful that editorial departments are also trying it out. Free Press was the first, with proposals and manuscripts being read on the Reader. Though bookmarking is possible, editing and note taking are not. And, the Reader has no backlight, making middle-of-the-night reading (which in the early days of ebook devices was always a selling point) a nonstarter. "It's definitely a mindset adjustment," says EVP and Publisher Martha Levin, but well worth making for the efficiences it offers.

The proof, as they say, is in the imprint pudding, with Touchstone/Fireside and Pocket Books editorial now on board. It's too early to say how widespread this adoption will be, but the anticipated savings of close to six figures is a good incentive.

More about the Reader's homelier sister

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