Two Electronic Books To Hit Stores

Monday, October 16th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Electronic versions of new books by Patricia Cornwell, Robert Ludlum and Ken Follett will be released this fall as part of the launch of the Gemstar eBook, a handheld reading device.

Pasadena-based Gemstar-TV Guide is licensing its electronic book technology to Thomson Multimedia, which will make two eBooks under its RCA brand. The two models, one displaying text in black and white, the other in color, will be available in three retail outlets the day after Thanksgiving.

The eBook is the latest in a line of handheld reading devices first made by NuvoMedia Inc. and Softbook Press. Nuvomedia manufactured the Rocket Book, one of the first electronic text readers.

Gemstar bought both companies in January before it merged with TV Guide. Its new models build on the original technology, adding strong copyright protection, brighter, easier-to-read screens and long-lasting batteries.

Gemstar-TV Guide announced Thursday that five publishers, ranging from Simon & Schuster to Harlequin, have agreed to offer six titles for the eBook before the hardcover editions are released. Gemstar will offer the titles exclusively for 90 days before they are released in other electronic formats, the company said.

The eBooks also will feature Webster's Enhanced Electronic Dictionary, published by Random House.

The RCA black and white eBook will feature 8 megabytes of memory, enough to store approximately 20 novels or 8,000 pages of text. The device can be upgraded to 72 megabytes, enough to store 150 books.

The device also will include a 36.6K modem, rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery and a carrying case. The unit will sell for $299.

The color eBook will feature a high-resolution VGA touch screen and an internal 56K modem. It also will offer an Ethernet connection for access to high-speed Internet lines and a more elegant case. It will sell for $699.

The black and white eBook is about the size of a paperback book. The color version is about the size of a hardcover.

The eBooks will also have access to periodicals, including versions of The New York Times, The Washington Post and Time magazine.

The devices will be sold at Best Buy, Circuit City and OfficeMax stores nationwide.


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