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Amazon.com back online

The bookseller's Web site is back online after being temporarily closed due to a technical problem.

The Amazon.com (AMZN) Web site is back online after a technical problem forced the site offline for nearly 12 hours.

The outage underscores the pitfalls inherent in Internet commerce.

"We're sorry! Our store is closed temporarily. If you enter your email address, we'll notify you as soon as we reopen. Again, our apologies for the inconvenience," read a notice posted to the site yesterday afternoon.

As a way of apologizing for the inconvenience, Amazon said it would offer customers an additional 10 percent off books they purchase by midnight tonight, according to an email message sent to users.

A company spokeswoman explained the cause of the closing as "an internal technical problem. There's no problem with the database or the security."

Amazon.com is one of the largest online booksellers. It faces stiff competition from Barnes & Noble. Bookseller Borders also said it would launch an online bookstore this year.

Online book sales is one of the fastest growing categories in e-commerce.