Sony Starts a Reading Revolution

Window-dwelling 'Reader' to Help Contribute eBooks to Schools


To help combat a general decline in reading in the U.S., particularly among young people, Sony is spearheading a so-called "Reader Revolution" to spark the imaginations of young readers and engage the public in digital reading.

In conjunction with National Book Month, the company will unleash thousands of "Reader Revolutionaries" throughout October and beyond at various retail outlets and at special events around the country to help people experience reading on Sony's Reader Digital Book firsthand.

Starting today, Sony is beginning an extended "read-in" with two-time world record-holder Dave Farrow who will serve as a designated reader in a Manhattan storefront, reading digital books on the Reader around the clock for 30 days. For each page he reads, Sony will provide an eBook library of 100 classic titles to a school or learning institution. The goal is to give 15 million eBook titles by the end of the program. The first 100 schools to start downloading their selected classic titles will also receive an education pack of five Reader Digital Books.

Arts, education and technology are of particular interest to Sony and the company is pleased to support many organizations and events related to these topics on local, national and international levels.

"Young people are spending a great deal of time interacting with digital content online and on portable devices," said Mike Fasulo, Sony Electronics' Chief Marketing Officer. "With the latest technology, we now have the opportunity to offer books in a digital form that will capture their imaginations with literature just as we've done with movies, music, and games."

According to a 2007 National Endowment of the Arts study(1), Americans are spending less time reading. Nearly half of all Americans ages 18 to 24 read no books for pleasure and reportedly their reading comprehension skills are eroding.

These declines have serious civic, social, cultural and economic implications. Employers now rank reading and writing as critical deficiencies in new hires. They indicate that one in five U.S. workers read at a lower skill level than their job requires and remedial writing courses are estimated to cost employers more than $3.3 billion.

Who is that Man in the Window?

Reading drives the interest of the storefront window dweller, who overcame the obstacles of Attention Deficit Disorder and dyslexia to become known for his reading prowess. Farrow, a speed reader and a two-time world record-holder in memory is one of the foremost experts in the field of memorization. He is also a frequent expert speaker on the topics of learning disabilities and memory enhancing techniques. He once memorized 59 decks of playing cards and recalled them, one card at a time, for more than eight hours to secure his memory title.

Consumers are invited to join the cause by viewing Farrow's progress online and taking the Reader virtual tour at They can also visit the store window in person at Datavision on Fifth Avenue at 39th Street in New York City, adjacent to the New York Public Library.

People can also help the cause by receiving an in-person demonstration of the Reader at the store or volunteering to give Farrow a well-deserved break. Prospective relief readers can sign up onsite and step into the window for an assigned time slot. Various celebrities, authors, local dignitaries and other notables will step in and relieve Farrow throughout the month.

About the Reader Digital Book

The Reader Digital Book by Sony is a portable electronic reading device. Its high-resolution, high contrast electronic paper display technology provides a reading experience very much akin to ink-on-paper, which many may find superior to reading on displays typical of computers and personal digital assistants. The result is crisp text and graphics that are highly readable, even in bright sunlight.

Roughly the size of a paperback novel, but thinner than most (about .5 inches thin), the device can store hundreds of books and other documents using a combination of internal flash memory and optional Memory StickĀ® or Secure Digital (SD) flash memory cards. In addition to electronic books, the Reader can also store and display personal documents in Adobe PDF format, RTF, text and JPEG photos. From the Sony eBook store, readers can choose from more than 50,000 electronic book titles. Because the Reader supports multiple eBook formats, including Adobe eBook and EPUB, there are hundreds of thousands of free and purchasable books available from multiple eBook stores, web sites and public libraries.

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(1) Source: National Endowment for the Arts, To Read or Not To Read

Executive Summary Report, November 2007

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