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Yahoo scripts an e-book offering

Angling for lift in a market that has stubbornly refused to take off, the Internet giant signs deals with four major publishers to sell e-books.

Angling for lift in a market that has stubbornly refused to take off, Yahoo said Wednesday that it has signed deals with four major book publishers to sell e-books on its shopping channel.

Penguin Putnam, Simon & Schuster, Random House and HarperCollins are marketing their books on Yahoo's new e-book site. Featured titles range from new books to classics such as William Thackeray's "Vanity Fair."

E-books have been slow to catch on. Analysts cite numerous roadblocks hindering consumer adoption, chief among them the high cost of e-book reading devices and widespread satisfaction with current paperback and hardback technology.

In announcing the agreement with publishers, Yahoo acknowledged it is dealing with a nascent market.

"As technology enables consumers to access digital content more conveniently, we anticipate that there will be increasing demand for e-books," Rob Solomon, general manager of Yahoo Shopping, said in a statement. "Aggregating a broad collection of the most sought-after titles in multiple e-book formats positions us effectively to meet these needs today and to meet growing consumer demand in the future."

The site now offers more than 1,000 listings that can be downloaded using Adobe Systems' Acrobat eBook Reader or Microsoft's Reader, which are both available free of charge.