Forthcoming "Amazon Pages" & "Amazon Upgrade" Programs To Sell Books In Electronic Format, proprietors of the wonderful Search Inside the Book (SITB) program, has announced a new Amazon Pages program that builds on SITB to allow consumers to download specific pages, chapters, or the entire book for offline reading.

Elinor Mills reports more in her story, Amazon, Random House throw book at Google:

Amazon's new "Amazon Pages" program will let people purchase online access to anywhere from a few pages of a book to an entire work. The e-commerce company also announced a program called "Amazon Upgrade" that will let customers pay extra to be able to access books electronically that they've had shipped to them in printed form. In what could be the first step toward major publishers offering their works online, Random House said it will negotiate separate agreements with online booksellers, search engines, entertainment portals and others to offer the contents of its books to consumers for online viewing on a pay-per-page basis.

Elinor's article also reports that will begin the program sometime in 2006. However, no specific date was given. Of course, digital books available for purchase are not a new idea but after this announcement, I would plan to see much more of it from many publishers, online book vendors, and databases. Of course, the issue of people wanting to read large portions of books in a non-traditional format is an issue. New technology could change this but many people want to hold the book in their hands. Of course, for reference use, online access can be very useful.

The Amazon press release also mentions that SITB is now available in the UK, Germany, France, Canada and Japan. By the way, I've posted about some of my favorite SITB features, here.