Penguin gives away free digital book tasters

LONDON - Penguin is providing free taster versions of some of its titles in e-book format to capitalise on growing interest in digital books to coincide with the UK launch of Sony's new handheld reader.

The publisher said it would make the prologues and opening chapters of a number of new and classic novels available to download free of charge from its website, in a bid to raise awareness of the digital format and encourage readers to buy the full title.

The move coincides with a period of renewed interest in the e-book format, with the launch of the new Sony Reader, which went on sale in Waterstones and Sony Stores yesterday.

Among the titles included in the pilot scheme are the top 10 bestseller 'Things I Want My Daughter to Know' by Elizabeth Noble, Nick Stone thriller 'King of Swords' and Anthony Trollope's classic 'The Way We Live Now'.

Penguin digital publisher Jeremy Ettinghausen said: "It's thrilling to see so much enthusiastic activity around e-books, seven years after their first incarnation.

"Our job as publishers is to make authors' work as widely available as possible. E-books give readers greater choice as to how, where and when they buy and read books, which can only be a good thing."

The publisher has said it will be relaunching its online store later this month. Penguin has been selling e-books online since 2001.

Penguin said it now aimed to make printed and e-book versions of new novels available to readers simultaneously, beginning with the follow-up to Zoe Heller's 'Notes on a Scandal', 'The Believers', which is due out later this year.

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