News Corp.'s HarperCollins, publisher of Michael Crichton's thriller "Next," is offering users of Apple Inc.'s iPhone handset and iPod Touch video player the ability to browse extracts of some books to spur demand.

The free service allows users to preview a selection of titles and also listen to clips from the accompanying audio books or excerpts from interviews with authors, the New York-based publisher said in an e-mailed statement.

To use the service, iPhone and iPod Touch users need to download an application from the Web sites of either HarperCollins or Apple. Fifteen titles will initially be made available, including "Next," Gordon Ramsay's "Playing With Fire" and Lewis Hamilton's "My Story."

The large screen and "tactile nature" of the iPhone and iPod Touch video may entice consumers to buy the books and also to read titles via an electronic device, the publisher said. The move also fits HarperCollins' strategy of offering content on a variety of platforms to reach as many consumers as possible, according to the statement.

HarperCollins, founded in 1817, has annual revenue of about $1 billion.