Palm has acquired Peanutpress.com, a leading eBook publisher and distributor of literature for handheld computers.

The company offers an extensive collection of books from many major publishing houses. The acquisition means that Palm has become a leading distributor of eBooks for handheld devices.

Growing revenues Palm cites a recent report from analysts Forrester Research which claims: "Digital delivery of custom-printed books, textbooks and eBooks will account for revenues of $7.8 billion, 17.5 per cent of publishing industry revenues in five years."

Peanutpress.com will be rebranded as Palm Digital Media, while its eBook reader - called Peanut Reader - will be renamed Palm Reader. The result of the deal is that Palm users can look forward to accessing a growing list of 2,000 titles.

King novel Stephen King's forthcoming story Dreamcatcher will be released simultaneously as a Palm eBook and hardcover title. It will be out on March 20 and Palm will offer the electronic version for $14.95 until March 23.

Gregory Voynow, senior vice president and general manager of iPublish.com, a Time Warner subsidiary, said: "Palm's endorsement of the eBook is a strong signal for future growth."

Palm Reader will ship in the box with Palm's recently-announced m500 and m505 handhelds with an eBook version of Tarzan of the Apes. It's also available as a download from Palm.