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Microsoft Brings eBooks to Windows Users With the Free Availability Of Microsoft Reader

NEW YORK – Microsoft Corp. announced that Microsoft Reader for desktop PCs and laptop computers is available free for immediate download at http://www.microsoft.com/reader/, delivering the promise of eBooks to users of the Microsoft Windows 95 or later operating system.

Barnes & Noble.com and Microsoft also announced the opening of the Barnes & Noble.com eBookStore for Microsoft Reader, the first online retail bookstore to offer commercial content for Microsoft Reader.

In addition, major publishers — including Simon & Schuster Inc., Time Warner Books and Random House Inc. — are making best-selling titles available in Microsoft Reader format through a variety of promotions offered at http://www.bn.com/.

“The availability of Microsoft Reader, which is clearly the best software for extended reading on any computing device, combined with the opening of Barnes & Noble.com’s innovative new eBookStore, which will offer of hundreds of great titles for Microsoft Reader, means consumers finally have the opportunity to realize the full potential of eBooks,” said Dick Brass, vice
president for Technology Development at Microsoft.

Microsoft Reader with ClearType display technology delivers an on-screen computer reading experience that approaches the convenience and quality of reading text on paper. With built-in access to the Barnes & Noble.com Web site, a book-like layout and active reading features such as electronic annotation tools, Microsoft Reader offers the user of Windows an unprecedented reading experience.

“This is a major milestone for the publishing industry and book lovers alike, offering anyone with a Windows-based computer the ability to easily experience the power of this exciting new technology,” Brass said. “Anyone wondering about electronic reading needs only to spend some time with a good eBook on Microsoft Reader to see what the excitement is all about.”

The new Barnes & Noble.com eBookStore for Microsoft Reader will offer book buyers hundreds of eBook titles from publishers large and small. The site, http://www.bn.com/ebook/, which can also be accessed through the integrated bookstore in Microsoft Reader, is dedicated to providing content for Microsoft Reader users, and it will expand and evolve as more titles become available later this year.

“The exciting eBook titles announced today are available on the Microsoft Reader eBooks section of the Barnes & Noble.com Web site, and they reflect Barnes & Noble.com’s ongoing commitment to being an early provider of eBooks utilizing state-of-the-art technology, in addition to making books, music, software, magazines and related products readily available to consumers everywhere,” said Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes & Noble.com.

“Microsoft Reader is a truly remarkable product that offers an unparalleled reading experience for anyone from the avid book reader to the working professional on the go,” Riggio said. “We believe our customers will find that the Microsoft Reader makes the reading experience so great, we are offering free downloads of 100 of the world’s great classics — from Charles Dickens’ ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s ‘The Scarlet Letter’
— as an incentive for people to enter and embrace the world of eBooks.”

By making titles available from best-selling authors such as Stephen Ambrose, Jackie Collins, Kathy Reichs and Jerry Stiller in Microsoft Reader format, Simon & Schuster continues its groundbreaking work in electronic publishing.

“Our alliance with Microsoft continues to provide consumers with great titles, and it is another demonstration of Simon & Schuster’s strong belief in the bright future of electronic publishing,” said Jack Romanos, president and COO, Simon & Schuster. “On the go or at their desk, consumers can now have a
state-of-the-art eBook reading experience.”

Also announced was the availability of a new ‘Star Trek’ series that will be published exclusively in eBook format. For a limited time, all five of these Simon & Schuster eBooks will be offered for a special promotional price of $1 to the first 20,000 people who purchase each eBook in the ‘Star Trek’ series.

Random House Inc. is announcing that three classic Michael Crichton novels — ‘Disclosure,’ ‘Lost World’ and ‘Airframe’ — will be offered to consumers for the first time as eBooks in Reader format. In addition, 100 titles from other Random House Inc. authors will be presented in Microsoft Reader format over the course of the summer. Earlier this year, Random House Inc. offered Michael Crichton’s best-selling novel ‘Timeline’ in Microsoft Reader format on a promotional basis for users of the Pocket PC.

“This publishing alliance with Microsoft reflects the quality and scope of our ongoing efforts to bring our books to readers in electronic and digital form,” said Erik Engstrom, president and chief operating officer, Random House Inc.

Users can download Microsoft Reader for desktop PCs and laptops free of charge at http://www.microsoft.com/reader/ and http://www.bn.com/ebook/. The latest announced version runs on Windows 95 and higher platforms and includes capabilities to
purchase eBooks directly through bn.com. Also available is a plug-in tool, Read in Microsoft Reader, that lets Microsoft Word 2000 users easily convert documents into Microsoft Reader files.

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