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Kindle E-Book Reader Expands Library

Seattle — There will be more to read on Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader now that Simon & Schuster said it would make 5,000 more titles available this year for the device, more than doubling the number of Kindle titles available from the book publisher.

From multiple publishers, more than 125,000 books are currently available for wireless download via Sprint’s CDMA 1x EV-DO cellular-data network, up from more than 90,000 books when the reader was launched in November 2007. The cost of airtime is included in the price of a Kindle book, which costs $9.99 unless otherwise marked. With the latest announcement, the vast majority of the Simon & Schuster catalog will be available by the end of 2008 to the Kindle, which costs $359, down from $399 at the time of introduction.

The paperback-size Kindle displays black text and black-and-white images on a white 6-inch, 600 by 800-pixel screen. The Linux-based device, made by a Chinese OEM, weighs 10.3 ounces, stores 200 titles on its 250 MB of onboard flash memory, and delivers battery life of two days with the wireless feature on and seven days with it off.

The Kindle can also wirelessly download magazines and newspaper subscriptions at $1.25 to $14.99 per month. It stores and plays MP3 files has a headphone jack and speaker, and can accept up to 4GB of external memory through an SD card slot.

Amazon said its Kindle customers purchase, on average, just as many physical books after the buy a Kindle as they do before and that total book purchases on Amazon increase by 2.6 times.

Sales of Kindle books are also growing faster than expected, said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Of the 125,000 books available both as a physical book and a Kindle book, Kindle versions already account for over 6 percent of units sold, he said.