Microsoft Announces Cool eBook Promotion for Hot Summer Reading

REDMOND, Wash., July 2, 2003 — The time-honored tradition of bringing a few bestsellers along for summer vacation reading takes on a digital tone with today’s announcement by Microsoft Corp. of 60 best-selling eBooks available for free* download by users of Microsoft®
Reader. These books represent a wide cross-section of authors and books from a variety of publishers, such as
“A Short History of Nearly Everything,”
by Bill Bryson;
“The Joy Luck Club,”
by Amy Tan;
“Fear Itself,”
by Walter Mosley; and
“Beach Music,”
by Pat Conroy.

The 20-week promotion will feature three new titles each week, available at . Once downloaded, each eBook can be read on a user’s desktop or laptop PC, Pocket PC or Tablet PC. Each week, new content will be made available to expand each user’s personal library of eBooks. More than 20,000 titles, including 19,000 commercial titles, are currently available for Microsoft Reader.

For both new and current users of Microsoft Reader, the initial download process will include an upgraded version of the software with a simpler installation and activation process, as well as enhanced security features. The new version is required to take advantage of the new promotional eBooks as well as future additions to the Microsoft Reader catalog; consumers also will be able to use it to read previously downloaded eBooks.

“We believe this summer promotion underscores the growing interest in reading eBooks,”
said Cliff Guren, group product manager of eReading at Microsoft.
“Every month, more and more best-selling books are being released simultaneously in both print and eBook formats. The growing popularity of Pocket PCs and the introduction of Tablet PCs give customers really great mobile platforms for reading books on screen. We believe this promotion will encourage more consumers to give eBooks a try; our research shows that once customers actually start reading on screen with Microsoft Reader, they find it a really satisfying experience, and they purchase eBooks on a regular basis.”

Guren also said that Microsoft is creating a new Microsoft Reader newsletter with Fictionwise Inc., one of the leading independent e-book retailers. The weekly newsletter will tell users about upcoming titles in the Microsoft free promotion, as well as new commercial releases. Customers will have the option to subscribe to the newsletter when they visit the Microsoft Reader home page.
“We want to make sure consumers are aware that it’s easy to get this exciting free eBook content throughout the summer months,”
Guren said.

About Microsoft Reader

Microsoft Reader 2.0 adheres to the traditions of classical typography for reading, with the added technology provided by Microsoft ClearType®
, which enhances the readability of type fonts on screen, particularly for laptop PCs and Tablet PCs. Microsoft Reader offers a clean, uncluttered layout; ample margins; proper spacing, leading and kerning; and powerful tools for marking, annotating and editing electronic documents. With Microsoft Reader, users can read electronic content on multiple devices, including notebook and desktop computers, Pocket PCs and now Tablet PCs. Microsoft has created a comprehensive online catalog of the more than 20,000 titles available for Microsoft Reader. The catalog, developed with Texterity Inc., provides seamless links to third-party sites so users can purchase and download these books. The catalog is available at . More information on Microsoft Reader is available at .

About Microsoft

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.

* Connect-time charges may apply.

Microsoft and ClearType 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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