100 Classic Books
is a DS cartridge that lets users read over 100 classic literature books on their handheld -- it came out in the UK last year, and is now on its way to U.S. users.
While it certainly isn't on the same level as Amazon's Kindle or Barnes & Noble's Nook, which allow users digital access to amassive downloadable libraries of new titles, it could capitalize on e-reader interest from casual, all-ages users. 10 additional books are available for WiFi download onto the DS.
"100 Classic Books transforms your Nintendo DS system into a portable library," said Cammie Dunaway, Nintendo of America’s EVP of sales and marketing.
It's the biggest-yet U.S. initiative to put books on the DS, although kids' visual interactive books, like Electronic Arts' Flips line
, have been offered in the past.
Included in the 100 Classic Books
collection are titles like Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Bram Stoker's Dracula, and seven Charles Dickens books. Youth-friendly material like Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book and Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are also included.
Users hold the flip-open dual screen hardware like a book, and "turn pages" by swiping the stylus or using their finger. The software includes "virtual bookmarks" which can be used to hold a user's place in up to three books at once, and the stories can be read in either large or small fonts.
100 Classic Books
also includes a few interesting bonus elements, like author biographies and plot and character synopses. The software is also able to quiz users on their interests and preferences in order to recommend them a book they might like. Finally, users can rate and describe books they've read online and read the ratings of other users.