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Harper Collins flexes some digital publishing muscle

Last year the Harper Collins publishing company began digitizing all of its titles, working its way through 10,000 thus far with plans to digitize a remaining 15,000 as well as any forthcoming titles.

Now, on the company website, visitors can read the first few pages of each chapter of 135 of the digitized books online - most by well-known authors.

The company is also working toward helping its authors implement the "Browse Inside" feature on their own websites.

Harper Collins has also released a new site feature, the ?Digital Media Cafe" where readers can download podcasts and audio book samples for a price.

From a recent New York Times article:
"'The younger generations are consuming information in a different way,' said Brian Murray, group president of HarperCollins. 'They may not necessarily be going into bookshops. They are spending time on Google, MySpace, Facebook, author Web sites, Yahoo and MSN.'

Mr. Murray said the book industry had lagged the music and film businesses in providing customers with preview snippets. 'Customers can sample music on the radio, and movie viewers can watch trailers in a way that reduces risk for the customer,' he said. By offering readers more ways to browse books, he added, 'we hope that will lead to a sale of more books.'"

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