Microsoft and online bookstore barnesandnoble.com(bn.com) have kicked off the new century with an ambitious plan to rival paper-based books with electronic publications.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week the partners said they will create a bn.com electronic bookstore based on Microsoft's Reader software which is designed to deliver on-screen computer text as an alternative way of reading books.
Bn.com will launch an e-book store on its website by mid-2000 to offer thousands of titles. The online bookstore will also promote the e-book concept through its traditional bricks and mortar retail chain.
"Barnes & Noble's dominant retail presence will make Microsoft Reader available to tens of millions of book consumers in a matter of months," said Dick Brass, vice president of technology development for Microsoft.
Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes & Noble, said he envisioned a time in the not too distant future when there will be electronic versions of virtually every book in print.
Microsoft Reader is scheduled to ship in the first half of this year and will be the first product to include the software giant's Cleartype display technology. It claims to improve font resolution on LCD screens for users of Windows based desktop or laptop PCs, as well as dedicated reading devices.
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