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Singapore Telecommunications has launched Singapore’s first e-book service, branded skoob.

The platform is aimed at servicing the local publishing market which SingTel claims has been overlooked by international e-book services.

The skoob service is available on Apple and Android tablets and smartphones via a free app. It can also be accessed via PCs and Macs using standard browsers.

Customers can download books on up to five devices and payments can be made via Singapore credit cards. SingTel customers can also choose to have purchases charged to their monthly bills.

At launch, skoob will claim a catalogue of over 39,000 local and international titles for smartphones, tablets and PCs. The carrier says this is the first e-book service to accept payments in Singapore dollars, and offers significant savings from retail dead-tree prices.

“The Singapore market has long been overlooked by e-book services from abroad. With the launch of skoob, Singapore readers finally have a service that offers local books and caters specifically to their tastes and needs. It also provides local publishers and writers with a powerful digital platform that allows them to reach a wider audience,” said Goh Seow Eng, SingTel’s Chief of Digital Home.

Publishers on board with the service include the "big six" internationals - Random House, Penguin, HarperCollins, Hachette Book Group, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan.

“SingTel is transforming from a provider of traditional telecommunications services to a multimedia solutions provider. We are constantly developing new apps and services that make the most of our networks and smartphone technology to enhance the lives of our customers,” he added.

SingTel has yet to confirm whether the offer will be rolled out to its international subsidiaries including Optus. While taking the service overseas would be feasible, internationalisation would need a whole new round of copyright negotiations. ®

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