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Sony kicks off its Reader Revolution

Sony starts a program to encourage people to read.

Starting October 1, if you walk by one of Sony's stores in Manhattan, chances are you will see Dave Farrow, the Guinness World Record Holder for memorizing 52 decks of cards randomly shuffled together, sitting by the storefront reading out of Sony's digital Reader. No, his incredible memory hasn't turned him out of his mind.

Sony's digital Reader Sony

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

Dave Farrow is part of the program and will be 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 to schools by the end of the program. The first 100 schools to start downloading their selected classic titles will also receive and education pack of five Reader Digital Books.

For the public, you can contribute by visiting Sony's Web site. For every five individuals who watch the two-minute demo of the program on the site, Sony will donate 100 eBook Classics to a school or educational institution in the U.S.

According to a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts study, 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. Personally, I think this is partially because they spend more time playing games on consoles such as the Play Station. Nonetheless, the decline in reading might lead to civic, social, cultural, and economic implications.

Now, all this makes me feel guilty and want to join the revolution. Maybe I should go out and buy a deck of cards to start with.