November 4, 1999 9:25 AM PST

Microsoft's e-book push gets a boost

Microsoft's drive to establish a market for electronic books got another boost today as the software giant announced a deal with printing and publishing house R.R. Donnelley & Sons.

Under the terms of the agreement, Chicago-based Donnelley will work closely with its publishing partners to convert print titles into electronic versions that conform to the Open eBook specification. The deal will give access to Donnelley's repository of thousands of titles to users of Microsoft's Reader software.

The Microsoft Reader is a new piece of software that allows files formatted for print to be displayed or downloaded on a printer. The text is much clearer and sharper than previous options.

eBooks are digital versions of printed books, which can be displayed on specialized reading devices, PCs, or laptops.

Over the past month, Microsoft has been on a partnership drive that garnered deals with publishers Bertelsmann, HarperCollins Publishers, Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, and Time Warner Books.

"We are excited about the prospect of working with R. R. Donnelley to accelerate growth for the eBook industry," Steve Ballmer, president of Microsoft, said in a statement. "This agreement helps ensure that consumers will have access to compelling and contemporary eBook titles that will look great on any laptop, PC, or device."


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