(FORTUNE Magazine) - Digital reading devices were hardly bestsellers when they landed on the scene a few years ago, but Sony is betting that its newest entry will be the iPod of ink. The Sony Reader will be released early this spring (probable cost: between $300 and $400). The device will pack up to 80 books into a seven- by five-inch shell--a little smaller than a trade paperback--and will allow 7,500 page turns per battery charge; new screen technology designed to simulate reading on paper will make it easier on the eyes. Publishers are promising to stock an iTunes-style Sony Connect store. Have BlackBerries and blogs really prepared consumers for a digitized War and Peace? "People are reading a large volume of text onscreen," says Keith Titan, VP of new media for Random House, which will offer about 3,000 electronic titles in time for the Sony launch. "I think they're ready for this."