Amazon books Microsoft as e-pub partner

Customized version of MS Reader will be at Amazon site

NEW YORK — Like a slumbering giant, Amazon.com is showing signs of life after a turbulent summer.

On Monday, the e-tail giant announced plans to open an online store for electronic books, retaining Microsoft as a major partner.

Amazon spokeswoman Ling Hong provided few details of the company’s plans, but move is likely to offer a shot in the arm to the fledgling e-books biz. Amazon says 75% of the readers of Stephen King’s e-novella “Riding the Bullet” downloaded the book from Amazon.

In recent months, however, company watched its stock price plummet while rival BarnesandNoble.com opened the first major e-bookstore and inked trailblazing partnership deals with Microsoft and New York’s most prominent e-publishers.

But Amazon has begun to strike back. It reached an agreement last month to handle transactions for Stephen King’s e-book, “The Plant.”

Amazon’s deal with Microsoft allows it to carry a customized version of Microsoft Reader, a program for reading and downloading e-books that’s gotten high marks from industry insiders. “It’s very clean and uncluttered,” Hong said.

As the preferred e-book format on Amazon, Microsoft Reader will be the first software program readers encounter when they choose a particular e-book.

Amazon is in the process of partnering with other software companies and is expected to showcase an array of e-books at launch time, but Hong wouldn’t say when that will be.

“We’re close but not there yet,” she said.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • netflix latest section

    Netflix Adds Upcoming Titles Section to Its TV App (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix is making it easier to keep track of all of its new releases: The company is adding a new “Latest” section to its TV app that includes both listings of newly released titles, as well as movies and TV show seasons that will be released this week and the week after. Upcoming titles are [...]

  • iQIYI headquarters building in Beijing

    Chinese Streamer iQIYI Squeezed by Changing Content Context

    Chinese video streaming giant iQIYI saw its losses deepen, in the April to June second quarter of its financial year. The company grew subscriptions, but was hit by rising content costs and lower advertising revenue Its parent company, Chinese search leader, Baidu saw its year on year profits drop, though it recovered from loss in [...]

  • westworld awakening art

    HBO Launches 'Westworld Awakening' VR Game With Survios

    Ever wanted to enter the world of “Westworld?” Now you can — except it won’t exactly be like you might have imagined it. Instead of being one of those guests living out their fantasies, you will be a host, slowly coming to grips with your life being an elaborate illusion. “Westworld Awakening” has been produced [...]

  • Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan,

    Spotify Announces Upgrades to Family Plan, at No Charge in U.S. and U.K.

    Just days after reports emerged that Spotify is aiming to increase the price of its family plan in its home market of Scandinavia, the streaming giant announced an upgrade to the plan — with no price increase in the U.S. and U.K., where it remains at $14.99 and £15, respectively. A rep for the company [...]

  • Mike Vaughan

    Former Venmo COO Mike Vaughan Joins Stem's Board

    Los Angeles-based music distribution and payments startup Stem has appointed former Venmo executive Mike Vaughan to its board of directors. Vaughan was chief operating officer of Venmo from 2011 until earlier this year, and is now executive in residence at Oak HC/FT. “The music industry can benefit tremendously from innovation in the way money flows [...]

  • Streamy Awards

    Streamy Awards 2019 Return to YouTube for Exclusive Live-Stream

    The 9th Annual Streamy Awards will again be available to stream live on YouTube exclusively. The 2019 awards ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on Friday, Dec. 13 and will stream live globally on YouTube via youtube.com/streamys. Videos from the 2018 Streamy Awards received over 6.9 million views on YouTube. [...]

  • Stefan Heinrich Henriquez - Cameo

    Celeb Video-Shoutout Startup Cameo Hires Ex-TikTok Exec Stefan Heinrich Henriquez

    Cameo, a startup that lets consumers purchase video shoutouts from celebrities, tapped Stefan Heinrich Henriquez as chief marketing officer and general manager of international. Heinrich, most recently head of marketing for short-form video app TikTok, will lead the company’s global growth and branding and play a key role in Cameo’s continued global expansion. He’s based [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content