Microsoft offers free e-book downloads

In a move aimed at bolstering the use of its Microsoft Reader program, the software giant announced on Wednesday that it would offer free downloads of e-book bestsellers over a 20-week period.

Although Microsoft has launched similar promotions in the past to boost users' familiarity with Reader and attempt to snag market share from Adobe's omnipresent Acrobat software, the new promotion is the largest in scope and duration that the company has offered, Microsoft eReading group product manager Cliff Guren said.

"Customers are satisfied with the reading experience once they engage with it, but we wanted to build awareness of e-books and Microsoft Reader. We want to expose more people to this," Guren said. Microsoft Reader debuted in August 2000 and has since received 6 million downloads. The company released Microsoft Reader 2.0 a year ago, along with an online catalog of e-book titles available for the software.

Download: Microsoft Reader

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