With the men and women of the armed forces constantly being shuffled from place to place, it can be difficult for them to bring along a personal library. In the past, publishers have produced pocket-sized editions of bestselling works, but today, e-books may provide the best solution.

EChapterOne.com, an online bookstore started in April 2007 by retired Army Brig. Gen. R.W. “Bill” Crossley, has contracted to become the first supplier of e-books to the Navy Exchange Service Command’s e-commerce site, www.navy-nex.com, which launched earlier this year and serves an estimated 750,000 active duty and reserve navy and Marine Corps personnel and their families. Karen Connery, director of merchandising for the e-commerce Navy Exchange Service Command, said the use of e-books will add to the availability of titles sailors can read and make it more convenient for them to get a book.

Based in Marietta, Ga., eChapterOne.com offers some 80,000 e-book titles in Adobe, Palm and Microsoft formats, with free downloadable first chapters for many titles. The company also has agreements to sell e-books through Delta-Sky magazine’s e-commerce site and through FatPort, a Canadian WiFi provider, as well as its own Web store.

Crossley, a former chief of staff for Gen. Colin Powell, negotiated a deal in which the navy gets a 10% discount on eChapterOne’s regular prices as well as additional discounts for titles on the Navy Professional Reading program.

Crossley has his sights set on selling e-books to the army as well. “If it works for sailors, I think there’s no reason it wouldn’t work just as well for soldiers,” said Crossley.