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GLOBAL – Today is the start of the global roll-out of Nokia Reading, an app and service that serves up the written word in your own language on your Lumia smartphone.

This new service takes full advantage of the platform’s design to make reading on-the-go both convenient and visually attractive. As Carolina Milanesi of research firm Gartner recently tweeted:

Nokia continues to differentiate Lumia with services: first Navigation and Music and now Nokia Reading.

Nokia Reading will roll out on a country-by-country basis from this week on the Nokia Lumia 900, 800, 710, and 610. The initial launch countries are France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain and the UK. Others will follow over the rest of the year. Look out for the service in the Nokia Collection in Marketplace over the course of the next few weeks.

blue and black reading

The initial version of the service focuses on making it easy for you to find, buy and – most importantly – read a book in your own language. Nokia Reading boasts a wide range of local titles, as well as a large collection of English titles popular across the world, such as The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; One Day; and The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes, with more being added all the time.

There are also thousands of international classics available for free. To make it easy to choose what to read, books are organised into lists such as Top eBooks and New Releases and categorized into genres. If you already know what you want, full predictive search makes it easy to find what you want by title or author.

Reading in Cyan

While eBooks are becoming a common sight in countries like the US and the UK, they are still in their infancy – or basically unavailable – in many parts of the world. And this is where the strength of Nokia Reading lies: in local language e-reading content.

When we announced Nokia Reading at Mobile World Congress, Danielle Levitas at analyst firm IDC picked up on this really important point:

Given Nokia’s global reach, Nokia Reading should expand the eBook market across more countries, reaching more consumers.

Rhidian Williams, who worked on the development of Nokia Reading, told Conversations:

We have built a reading service that focuses on how people read on their mobiles. It’s a service that recognises that people read different kinds of content at different times of the day, and it brings this content together in a reading hub that will encourage readers to come back to it frequently.

If you’ve not read a book on a phone before, you may think that the words will be too small, but this isn’t something you have to worry about. On a Lumia, the ClearBlack Display helps reduce reflections on the screen, and Microsoft’s ClearType technology renders fonts cleanly, without jagged curves.

Reading in Night mode

The type is resizable, too, so it can be as big as your eyesight requires. John Mason, who directed the Nokia Reading project, suggests that seeing is believing:

The people we hear objections from about reading books on a phone are mainly the people who have never tried it on a Lumia. Once people have it in their hands, they almost always say: “Oh, this is so much better than I imagined”. The key is to try it out.

There’s also the handy night mode, too, which means you won’t be blinded by a bright white screen in the middle of the night. This mode turns the white pages black and the black words white, perfect for when looking for something to help you into slumber. Using a black background is also kinder to your battery if you have a long journey ahead.

Further additions to Nokia Reading are already in the pipeline, and will appear as free updates through Marketplace. These include provision for audio books and, perhaps of most interest, News Stream. News Stream will offer a virtual news magazine, making subscribing to and enjoying local and international RSS feeds simpler and more beautiful than ever before. More ways to personalise and customise your reading experience are also in the works.

If you’re in one of the launch countries, look out for Nokia Reading in the Nokia Collection section of the Marketplace and let us know what you think of it.