Amazon Lets Consumers Browse Pages Before Buying Books

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Removing one of the biggest hurdles of online bookselling, Amazon.com said yesterday it will allow consumers to actually browse through pages of thousands of books before making a purchase.


Working with book publishers nationwide, the Seattle retailer has launched the Look Inside the Book program to entice more consumers to shop Amazon.


The store at www.amazon.com/books initially will boast interior pages from more than 25,000 titles. Consumers can browse through recipes in cookbooks, first chapters in mystery novels, illustrations from children's books or full indices in medical titles.


"Helping their customers crack the spine ... will allow readers to make even more informed choices," Jack Romanos, president and chief operating officer of Simon & Schuster, said in a statement.


Simon & Schuster, part of media conglomerate Viacom Inc. and one of the nation's leading book publishers, is participating in this latest effort from Amazon to jump-start its book sales.


Other publishers consenting to this arrangement include HarperCollins Publishers, Pearson Education, Time Warner Trade Publishing, Stewart House Publishing, Hungry Minds, DK Publishing, Holtzbrinck Publishers, McGraw-Hill, John Wiley & Sons and Random House, the nation's largest.


Consumers also can visit the new reading room section at www.amazon.com/reading-room to access titles for viewing inside pages.


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