Amazon and Adobe team up to expand e-book selections


Tuesday, April 10th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6



SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Two of the biggest players in Internet publishing are teaming up to distribute more e-books.

Nearly 2,000 titles using Adobe Systems Inc.'s eBook Reader software will be available immediately through Amazon.com's electronic book section under the deal announced Tuesday.

The alliance doubles Amazon's e-book selection to more than 4,000 titles and heats up the competition between software companies trying to gain a foothold as a platform provider in the nascent market of electronic publishing.

Until Tuesday, Amazon, the largest online bookstore, carried only titles compatible with Microsoft Reader.

``We said when we launched (the e-book store) in November that we'd evaluate other technologies,'' said Jeff Blackburn, general manager of worldwide digital for Amazon. ``At the time, Microsoft had the best platform, and as it turns out, Adobe has come out with equally good software.''

Adobe is the leading maker of desktop publishing software and ranks behind Microsoft as the second-largest PC-software company in the United States.

The $1.27 billion San Jose-based company launched its eBook Reader software in January with titles available at Amazon's competitor, Barnes & Noble.com.

Electronic publishing has yet to take off, but interest is growing, Adobe officials said.

``Six months ago, only a few publishers were putting their toe in the water but now we're getting hundreds (of titles) at a time,'' said Michael Looney, senior director of eBooks at Adobe.

Thrillers and children's books will be among its offerings, but Adobe said it will mainly target books for students and mobile professionals.

Statistics indicate that during the next few years education and reference books will do better in electronic form than fiction and other genres.

Jupiter Media Metrix, a research firm, projected that 6 percent of college book sales would be in electronic form by 2005, compared to just 1.5 percent of consumer titles.