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AOL ventures into offline publishing

America Online takes a step out of the online world by announcing a partnership with IDG Books to release a line of AOL-branded books.

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America Online today took a step out of the online world by announcing a partnership with IDG Books to release a line of AOL-branded books.

The partnership, dubbed "AOL Press," will release six to eight titles this year and expand into more titles down the road, the companies said. See news analysis: AOL sees its future offline The books will cover specific topics about AOL's services, according to an IDG Books spokeswoman. No specific titles have been publicly disclosed.

The move comes amid speculation that AOL is considering several ways to increase its offline media presence. Last month, rumors circulated that AOL was in talks over the course of a year to acquire CBS. Recently, AOL reportedly was in talks to invest $250 million in Dallas-based Chancellor Media, one of the nation's largest radio broadcasters.

For now, AOL is making its offline push in the print world. AOL and IDG plan to sell AOL Press titles in stores, on the Internet, and some exclusively to AOL members.

IDG Books currently publishes its own AOL titles, including America Online For Dummies and the America Online Bible. IDG Books also has formed similar joint ventures with other technology companies, including Novell and Hewlett-Packard.

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