Perhaps taking a cue from Nintendo’s Wii development unit — which recently launched the innovative Wii Fit controller device expanding the applications and appeal of their game console — the DS portable console team is experimenting with an expansion of their device’s capabilities which may get non-gamers interested.

Nintendo has released a new ‘accessory’ for the DS — a DS cartridge loaded not with games but with the text of 100 Classic Books and a reader application. It’s a collaboration with publisher Harper Collins.

Some observers suggest that bringing an e-book app to the Nintendo DS may be a more effective way of popularizing e-reading than the stand-alone readers launched to date by the likes of Sony and Amazon. If the reader is already in the house (albeit, in the kids’ room), parents may be inclined to say, “Why not take a flyer on the cartridge and see what it’s like?”

The reader application lets users hold the hinged DS console vertically, like an open paperback, and turn pages by brushing a stylus or fingertip across the controller pad.

The 100 Classic Books Collection is available now — but apparently only in the UK. (Which is not to say you can’t order from Amazon UK and pay the shipping…) It’s priced at about (US)$30. Additional content is available via download.

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