Florida hotel offers free electronic books

Miami’s new EPIC Hotel is offering something different to guests who want to curl up with a good book–a free ebook on a Sony Ereader.

The hotel’s EPIC Page Turner program will loan free ebooks to their Club level guests and those using the pool deck, and a Sony Reader (pictured here) to read it on. There’s also an EPIC Virtual Nightstand through the rooms’ desktop computers, although this shows only excerpts, not whole books.

The titles include current bestsellers and new releases. EPIC will be hosting a series of readings and social events with authors during the hotel’s daily wine hour.

“Ebook”, for those still stuck in the late 20th century, stands for electronic book, a book that exists as a computer file that can be read on a special reader or regular computer. Ebooks have been around for about 25 years now and are beginning to get noticed. Ereaders are becoming more user friendly and ebook sales have risen steadily for several years now, although they still comprise less than one percent of total book sales in the U.S:

The EPIC program apparently has no connection with EPIC, the Electronically Published Internet Connection, the world’s largest association of electronically published authors. EPIC sponsors the annual EPPIE awards, considered the most prestigious awards offered to electronically published books. I emailed the president of EPIC a week ago asking about the similarity in the name, but didn’t receive a response.

This program sounds like an innovative way to get people to read ebooks, as well as free up space in their luggage, but it has one major flaw–you can’t take the book home with you.