Nintendo enters e-book arena

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100 Classic BooksAmazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad won’t be the only ones duking it out in the electronic books war.

Eclipsed by the announcement of release dates for Super Mario Galaxy 2, Metroid: Other M and the DSi XL, Nintendo revealed today it is entering the e-book business June 14 with the launch of 100 Classic Books for its Nintendo DS and DSi portable gaming systems. For about $20, you’ll get works by Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson and Mark Twain, to name just a few.

Readers will be able to adjust text size, bookmark pages and even download new content with a broadband Internet connection using the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service.

This sounds like a perfect complement to the DSi XL, which Nintendo is releasing due to demand from older users. It will be interesting to see how Nintendo prices its downloadable content for this title (expect some of it to be free, if a listing on Amazon’s UK site is any indication), and what unforeseen problems await Nintendo in this venture.

Such as?

Amazon has struggled with access complaints and rights issues with content for its Kindle e-reader. And earlier this month the online retailer was forced to give in to publishers’ demands for higher e-book prices — a clear defeat for Amazon executives who sought to hold onto cash-strapped consumers as the market heats up with competing hardware that’s sexier than its monochrome Kindle. One of the key reasons the company lost this battle was the upcoming launch of Apple’s iPad device and an accompanying e-book store modeled after its hugely successful iTunes music store.

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