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Amazon.com Launches e-Books Store

Amazon.com has added e-books to its repertoire. The company Tuesday launched an electronic book store that features content that has never before been available in print.

The Amazon e-book store currently supports the Microsoft Reader format, which allows customers to download titles to a laptop or PC, and downloadable digital audio titles from Audible Inc. Download times are estimated to range between 2.3 seconds to 2 minutes, according to connection speed.

"E-books are already opening up a whole new world for readers," said Lyn Blake, Amazon.com Books general manager. "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. While customers will continue to be impressed with the technology as it advances, we think it's the unique and exclusive content that will really delight customers."

Blake noted that the virtual store launched with a host of titles that are unavailable in print or audio anywhere else, including In Fidelity by M.J. Rose (Pocket Books), Star Trek: S.C.E #1: The Belly of the Beast by Dan Wesley Smith (Pocket Books), Star Trek: S.C.E. #2: Fatal Error by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Pocket Books), Snow: The Prologue to Winter's Heart by Robert Jordan (Simon & Schuster Trade), Turtle Island Dreaming by Thompson Sayer Crockett (ipublish.com) and Up, Simba! 7 Days on Trial of an Anticandidate by David Foster Wallace (ipublish.com).

The e-book store also offers recent best sellers and traditional works. "The store also features more than 30 free e-book titles available for download, providing customers a risk-free opportunity to experience e-books and test drive Microsoft Reader," said Blake. "Five best-selling titles are making their e-book debut exclusively at Amazon.com. They are: Leading the Revolution (Harvard Business School Press) by Gary Hamel, Secrets of Frank Herbert's Dune (ibooks), a guide to the upcoming miniseries airing on the Sci-Fi channel; The GE Way Fieldbook: Jack Welch's Battle Plan for Corporate Revolution (McGraw-Hill), which outlines the author's successful strategies while CEO at General Electric; The New American Standard Bible (Foundation Publications) and the Worst-Case Scenario Handbook (Chronicle Books), which provides readers sound advice for those unexpected life-threatening situations."

The Amazon.com e-Books store will also feature the latest in e-audiobook titles from audible.com, including two digital exclusives that are not available in conventional cassette tape or CD formats: The Second Coming of Steve Jobs (Random House Audible), which is Alan Deutschman's in-depth portrait of the man who helped to found Apple Computer, and E-Boys(Random House Audible), which is business historian Randall E. Stross's take on venture capitalists and billion-dollar start-ups.

Amazon.com has engaged Lightning Source Inc. to provide fulfillment of e-books for the new store.