Kindle users get early look at Paulson's memoir

“Pre-order ‘On the Brink’ now and begin reading your Kindle edition at 12:01 a.m. on February 1,” the website touts on its homepage (with the ad above).

“On the Brink” also will be released in hardback on Feb. 1 though non-Kindle owners will have to wait until bookstores open. In his author’s note Paulson writes: “I believe the most important part of this story is the way Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and I worked as a team through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.” was one of the first booksellers to offer a handheld reading device and has marketed it aggressively. And it now has new competition with the much-anticipated release of Apple's iPad this week. Apple's device combines the capabilities of an e-reader with a sleek design and other computer-like features.

And it’s noteworthy that Paulson’s book will be available immediately for download. When Sen. Ted Kennedy’s memoir, “True Compass,” was published in October, the publisher with held the digital version of the book in hopes of boosting hardback sales. “True Compass” is available on Kindle now.

But buying a downloadable book doesn’t give you a price break. The Kindle version of Paulson’s book costs $15.65, the same as the hardback.