Amazon, Adobe pioneer e-book deal

The companies are testing the waters with Amazon offering more than 2,000 electronic book titles that can be read with Adobe's e-book software.

Adobe Systems and Amazon.com announced Tuesday that Adobe's Acrobat eBook Reader software is now available through Amazon's online U.S. bookstore, along with nearly 2,000 fiction and nonfiction e-books based on the Acrobat Portable Document Format.

The move isn't expected to add much to either company's bottom line in the short term, but does raise the visibility of digital books on Amazon's site, and should help improve Adobe's share of the tiny but growing market for electronic books, which has been projected at anywhere from $2 billion to $7 billion over the next five years.

Amazon launched the e-book section of its U.S. bookstore last November with just over 1,000 titles, all formatted for Microsoft Corp.'s Reader software. Jeff Blackburn, Amazon's general manager of worldwide digital, said Microsoft will remain the Seattle Internet superstore's primary e-book partner in the U.S. In fact, Amazon is increasing the number of Microsoft Reader titles it offers, bringing the total number of e-books Amazon sells to just under 4,000.

Amazon's agreement with Microsoft is only for the U.S. market, however, and Adobe (Ebooks Central) will be the lead partner as Amazon adds e-books to its Web bookstores in France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom during the next 12 months, Blackburn said.

Both the Microsoft and Adobe software are free and neither format requires a special device to be used.

Adobe unveiled its Acrobat eBook Reader 2.0 software on Jan. 29, and the software and Adobe eBook Reader-format books were immediately available on Barnes & Noble.com, the online bookstore that is 40%-owned by Barnes & Noble , New York. Michael Looney, senior director of eBooks at Adobe, said the number of Acrobat eBook Reader downloads has been increasing "exponentially" since then, but he declined to provide specific numbers. The Adobe software is also available for download on Adobe's Web site.

Looney said the Amazon alliance should add even more visibility and distribution but won't have "an immediate impact on our bottom line" because e-books are currently a "very small" part of the San Jose, Calif., software company's cross-media publishing business. Adobe doesn't break e-books out separately, but cross-media publishing was the second-largest of Adobe's three business segments in the first quarter of its current fiscal year, with revenue totaling $98.1 million. Adobe Systems and Amazon.com announced Tuesday that Adobe's Acrobat eBook Reader software is now available through Amazon's online U.S. bookstore, along with nearly 2,000 fiction and nonfiction e-books based on the Acrobat Portable Document Format.

The move isn't expected to add much to either company's bottom line in the short term, but does raise the visibility of digital books on Amazon's site, and should help improve Adobe's share of the tiny but growing market for electronic books, which has been projected at anywhere from $2 billion to $7 billion over the next five years.

Amazon launched the e-book section of its U.S. bookstore last November with just over 1,000 titles, all formatted for Microsoft Corp.'s Reader software. Jeff Blackburn, Amazon's general manager of worldwide digital, said Microsoft will remain the Seattle Internet superstore's primary e-book partner in the U.S. In fact, Amazon is increasing the number of Microsoft Reader titles it offers, bringing the total number of e-books Amazon sells to just under 4,000.

Amazon's agreement with Microsoft is only for the U.S. market, however, and Adobe (Ebooks Central) will be the lead partner as Amazon adds e-books to its Web bookstores in France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom during the next 12 months, Blackburn said.

Both the Microsoft and Adobe software are free and neither format requires a special device to be used.

Adobe unveiled its Acrobat eBook Reader 2.0 software on Jan. 29, and the software and Adobe eBook Reader-format books were immediately available on Barnes & Noble.com, the online bookstore that is 40%-owned by Barnes & Noble , New York. Michael Looney, senior director of eBooks at Adobe, said the number of Acrobat eBook Reader downloads has been increasing "exponentially" since then, but he declined to provide specific numbers. The Adobe software is also available for download on Adobe's Web site.

Looney said the Amazon alliance should add even more visibility and distribution but won't have "an immediate impact on our bottom line" because e-books are currently a "very small" part of the San Jose, Calif., software company's cross-media publishing business. Adobe doesn't break e-books out separately, but cross-media publishing was the second-largest of Adobe's three business segments in the first quarter of its current fiscal year, with revenue totaling $98.1 million.