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New technology – opening up the market

14 July 2003

A summer promotion from Microsoft offers three free e-books a week for download using their Reader Software. The offer will run from July through to November and includes bestselling titles such as Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything and Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin. The company needs to encourage readers to try e-books if they are to develop a market for their Microsoft Reader. It's interesting to see them adopting web promotion techniques to do so.

If you want to check out e-books, this could be a good time to give them a try.

And threatening it...

Meanwhile in Japan new mobile phone technology presents a fresh threat to the book business and to authors' royalties. People are using their mobile phone cameras in bookstores to photograph pages of books and magazines, thus effectively photocopying them without payment. The quality is comparable to that produced by basic digital cameras. The owner of a big bookstore in Tokyo said: 'If we say something to them, most stop photographing material but it seems that they don't have much of a sense that they are doing something wrong.' Restaurant listings and recipes are particularly popular, but any useful reference material may to be targeted.