Amazon.com Launches E-Books Store
SEATTLE (AP) _ Online retailer Amazon.com on Tuesday began selling electronic books, along with the old-fashioned paper kind.
Amazon’s new e-book store offers about 1,000 titles, all in the Microsoft Reader format. That’s a tiny portion of Amazon’s total offering of more than 28 million books, recordings, electronic devices and other merchandise, but company officials said they expected the category to grow rapidly.
``What’s exciting for readers is that we are just scratching the surface today with the technology and the content, and the potential for both is amazing,″ said Lyn Blake, Amazon.com Books general manager.
Customers can download the files to their personal computers or other devices. Among the offerings are 30 free titles and some exclusives, including two Star Trek novels and ``In Fidelity,″ a new novel by best-selling author M.J. Rose that is due out in print in December.
Amazon and Microsoft announced a deal in late August under which the software company created a customized version of its Reader software for the Internet merchant. The software is available free through Amazon’s or Microsoft’s Web sites.
Microsoft receives a small percentage of each e-book sale on Amazon.com, and also charges publishers for use of the technology.
Amazon’s primary rival in book sales, Barnes & Noble, earlier established its own e-book store, and features titles in Rocket e-book and Glassbook formats in addition to Microsoft Reader.
Shares of Amazon were up $1.69, or 6 percent, to $29.50 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
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