US bookstore chain Borders launched an online electronic book store Wednesday in a challenge to Amazon, Apple and Barnes & Noble in the fast-growing market for digital books.
Borders' e-book venture trails those of its rivals but chief executive Mike Edwards said "the race to emerge as a retail leader within the digital category is just starting."
"We believe we are very well positioned to come out strong and to ultimately claim about a 17 percent e-book market share by this time next year," Edwards said in a statement.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Borders sells e-book readers, the Kobo and the Libre, to compete with Amazon's Kindle, Apple's iPad and the Nook from Barnes & Noble. The Kobo costs 149 dollars while the Libre is priced at 119 dollars.
Amazon's large-screen Kindle DX costs 379 dollars while its basic Kindle costs 189 dollars.
Apple's cheapest iPad costs 499 dollars and features a color e-reader compared with its black-and-white rivals.
The Nook with 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity costs 199 dollars while a Wi-Fi-only Nook is priced at 149 dollars.
Borders said its e-book store has more than 1.5 million titles, including thousands of free titles.
Borders on Wednesday also announced the launch of reading applications for Android and Blackberry handsets that will allow users to buy and read books on the mobile devices.
Apple has sold more than three million iPads since the tablet computer went on sale in early April. Amazon touts the Kindle as the top-selling item at the online retailer, but does not release sales figures.
Borders shares were up 5.98 percent in early afternoon trading on Wall Street at 1.24 dollars.
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