Giant online retailer has launched a series of original podcasts showcasing books, music and general news.

The four inaugural podcasts – which are available through iTunes – include: Amazon BookClips, Music You Should Hear, Significant Seven and Amazon Wire.

The company expects to offer several additional channels in the coming months to "meet its customers' increasing demand for rich content related to the products they shop for every day on," the company said.

Amazon BookClips will be a weekly podcast offering a look at soon-to-be-released audiobooks, incuding scheduled looks at forthcoming titles from Walter Isaacson and Mary Higgins Clark.

Music You Should Hear will be a free, weekly MP3 podcast in which listeners will also receive an MP3 recording featuring complete songs from developing and indie artists, selected by Amazon's music editors.

Significant Seven will be a monthly podcast. Book editors from will talk about seven of the most exciting upcoming books before they are released.

Amazon Wire will be a news and entertainment show. Distributed twice a week, this podcast will feature interviews with leading authors, actors, directors and musicians. Amazon Wire will feature Ralph Nader, John Malkovich and Dolores O'Riordan.

Amazon's news emerges as strong rumours continue to claim the online retailer plans to launch its own competing service to iTunes.