Michael Crichton’s Latest Bestselling Novel “Timeline” to Be Published As eBook for Microsoft Reader on the Pocket PC

NEW YORK, May 23, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. announced today that
“Timeline,” the latest bestselling novel from author Michael Crichton, is available free for immediate download from barnesandnoble.com in the Microsoft® Reader format for the Pocket PC (connect-time charges may apply).

The news was released at a press conference attended this morning by Crichton; Dick Brass, vice president of Technology Development at Microsoft; Erik Engstrom, president and chief operating officer of Random House Inc., publisher of Crichton’s books in the English-speaking world; and Steve Riggio, vice chairman of barnesandnoble.com llc.

Random House, Microsoft and bn.com will provide
free for a limited time via download at http://www.bn.com/pocketpc/ . The new eBook is available beginning today exclusively to owners of Pocket PC devices from Hewlett-Packard Co. and Casio Computer Company Ltd. A third Pocket PC device will be available from Compaq Computer Corp. later this year.

This represents the first major bestseller to be made available for Microsoft Reader on the Pocket PC, and the first major eBook title to be offered at no charge to book lovers.

Brass said Crichton’s decision to publish a major title in electronic form represents another important milestone in the development of eBooks.

“We are delighted that Michael Crichton has chosen to release his first eBook, especially such an incredible book as”
“which, appropriately enough, transports the reader to another universe,”
Brass said.
“We are also very pleased that this book is available for Microsoft Reader on the Pocket PC. We believe that when consumers have access to high-quality titles from authors such as Crichton, and when they have great technology like Microsoft Reader to read with comfortably, the potential of eBooks will finally begin to be realized.”

At the news conference, Crichton noted that eBooks and digital technology will continue to enhance the power of books in the lives of people around the globe.

“The convergence of the Internet and new technological advances in computing and publishing make reading possible in ways that could not have been imagined just one generation ago,”
Crichton said.
“With eBook technologies, books can assume new roles and forms that will serve students, workers, scientists and many others in transforming ways. At the same time, these technologies also represent incredible opportunities for authors and publishers, who can now explore new methods and vehicles for disseminating their ideas.”

tells the story of a group of historians who, by means of quantum physics and cutting-edge computer technology, travel to a parallel universe and become trapped in medieval France with only 36 hours to return.

“Michael Crichton has for decades dazzled readers with his visions of the past, present and future,”
said Erik Engstrom, president and chief operating officer of Random House.
“His prescient writings on science and technology have helped shape popular thinking. A full 20 years ago, in his book”
Electronic Life,

Michael wrote this: ‘sooner or later, all of us will be using computers. These small, cheap, powerful devices will be everywhere and they will have altered every aspect of human life, from the way we run our societies to the way we run our personal lives.’

It seems fitting that Michael, a professional who has made brilliant use of computers in his work as a filmmaker, creator of computer games and writer, will be one of the first authors to see his book come alive as an eBook in this complementary medium.

“Random House is committed to the future of eBooks. This is one of many steps we are taking to bring our books to readers in electronic and digital form,”
Engstrom said.

“The new eBooks are available exclusively on the Pocket PC eBooks section of bn.com, and they reflect bn.com’s commitment to being an early provider of eBooks utilizing state-of-the-art technology, in addition to making books, music, software, magazines and related products readily available to consumers everywhere,”
said Steve Riggio, vice chairman of barnesandnoble.com.

“The Pocket PC is a truly remarkable device that offers an unparalleled reading experience for knowledge workers and others, thanks to Microsoft Reader,”
Riggio said.
“We are happy to be offering Pocket PC customers the opportunity to download these terrific eBooks at no cost, simply by visiting our new Pocket PC eBook store at bn.com and providing a unique identifying number. It’s fast and easy, and it will provide some great content for Pocket PC owners.”

The creation of a new Microsoft Reader section on bn.com builds on the relationship between bn.com and Microsoft that was announced in January. The two companies are joining to build an eBook superstore using Microsoft Reader software that will provide bn.com’s millions of customers with access to thousands of eBook titles for Microsoft Reader. The site will expand and evolve as more titles become available later this summer.

The eBooks made available today help meet a growing demand for eBook titles for Microsoft Reader, which consumers have enjoyed since the release of the Pocket PC in April. Brass said that while the new titles will provide hours of enjoyment for Pocket PC owners, they offer only a hint of what’s coming for eBook lovers.

“The Pocket PC is the best eBook device available in the world today, bar none,”
Brass said.
“But today’s announcement reveals a first-glimpse offering on a limited basis. In the not-too-distant future, you’ll see eBooks enabled on almost every kind of computing device imaginable – and even devices people can’t imagine now but that might show up on a future version of ‘Star Trek.’ Book lovers, authors, publishers and booksellers will all benefit from the advantages and opportunities that eBooks offer and that simply cannot be had in the print world.”

Microsoft Reader currently ships with the Pocket PC and will be available at no charge for other platforms later this summer.

With its innovative ClearType™ display technology, Microsoft Reader delivers for the first time an on-screen computer reading experience that approaches the convenience and quality of reading text on paper. Developed by Microsoft Research, Microsoft Reader greatly improves font resolution on LCD screens for users of Pocket PCs, laptops and desktop PCs running the Windows® operating system. Beyond ClearType, Microsoft Reader includes patented reading enhancements that adhere to the best qualities of fine typography. It provides a clean, uncluttered display; ample margins; full justification; proper spacing, leading and kerning; and powerful tools for bookmarking, highlighting and annotation.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, ClearType and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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