Random House to digitize thousands of books

From Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — With e-book sales exploding in an otherwise sleepy market, Random House Inc. announced Monday that it was making thousands of additional books available in digital form, including novels by John Updike and Harlan Coben, as well as several volumes of the "Magic Treehouse" children's series.

Random House CEO Markus Dohle said in a statement that "more people everyday are enjoying reading in the electronic format and Random House wants to extend our reach to them with more of our books."

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The publisher already has more than 8,000 books in the electronic format and will have a digital library of nearly 15,000. The new round of e-books is expected to be completed within months; excerpts can be viewed online through the publisher's Insight browsing service.

Random House's vice president for digital operations, Matt Shatz, says e-book sales have increased by triple digit percentages in 2008, thanks in part to Amazon.com's Kindle reader, but he declined to offer specific number. E-books remain a tiny part of the overall market, widely estimated in the industry at 1 percent or less.

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