BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Market Data 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Monday, 28 August, 2000, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
IT giants in e-book deal
Amazon workers at a distribution centre.
Amazon wants to sell more books in digital form.
Software giant Microsoft and the leading online retailer have said they are joining forces to sell digital books.

Under the deal, Microsoft will supply Amazon with a customised version of its Reader software that allows consumers to download and display text on personal computers or handheld devices.

Dick Brass, Microsoft's vice-president of technology development, said the partnership between the two companies would "evolve the reading experience" and make electronic reading "a powerful new reality."

Amazon, the world's top internet bookseller, said it hoped to be able to offer thousands of titles in its digital bookstore.

Digital advantages

"E-books are an exciting new way to read that combines the transforming qualities of literature with the unique advantages of the digital realm," said Amazon books general manager, Lyn Blake.

Microsoft said that up to 100,000 titles could be on sale in digital form by the end of next year.

"It is very important to ramp up very quickly the number of titles so e-books aren't seen as sort of a toy or niche," Mr Brass said.

At present, digital book sales account for a tiny fraction of total industry sales.

Horror online

But several high-profile attempts to popularise the medium have been made in recent months including the publication online of the latest book by horror writer Stephen King.

Microsoft claims that software technology has also been improved, making text easier to read and reducing eye strain.

Mr Brass cited analyst forecasts that digital book sales could reach $3bn a year, or 10% of total book sales, by the end of 2005.

The Amazon deal is the second digital books partnership for Microsoft.

Earlier in August, it said it was teaming up with the online division of US bookseller Barnes & Noble to create the first major internet seller of digital books.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

23 Aug 00 | Business
Amazon to sell cars
23 Aug 00 | Business
US funds cut back on Microsoft
16 Aug 00 | Business
The cost of the dead
11 Aug 00 | Business
Amazon, Toys R Us play together
06 Aug 00 | Business
Amazon condemned as 'terrible'
27 Jul 00 | Business
Amazon losses mount
24 Jun 00 | Business
Amazon tumbles to year-low
08 Jun 00 | Business
Amazon launches new site
26 Apr 00 | Business
Amazon upbeat despite loss
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories