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Barnes & Noble, in the midst of severe cost cutting and reorg, is getting serious about the e-book market again, following Amazon’s lead: it is launching an e-books online store, that it says will work with iPhone and iPod touch, BlackBerrys, as well as most laptops and desktops. Also, more interestingly, it will be the exclusive “eBookstore provider” on the Plastic Logic’s eReader device. This is not the first time BN has entered into the e-book market: the first effort lasted two years, from 2001 to 2003. Updated: Notes from the conference call are here.
Whether B&N would be able to unseat Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) Kindle, it is too early to say, but if anything, this may force Amazon to open up its store and adopt more formats. And yes, a likely price war. Meanwhile, the Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) factor still hovers on their minds, as any launch from the company could stop the two book giants cold, as this recent FC story explains.
Some of the details:
— Says has 700,000 titles, including “hundreds of new releases and bestsellers at only $9.99”. Claims it is the biggest e-books store. Plans to increase to well over one million titles within the next year. Amazon Kindle, according to the Kindle Store, has 300,000.
— Says has more than a half-million public domain books from *Google*. Does that skew the number above?
— An upgraded version of its eReader application, which was part of the company’s Fictionwise acquisition earlier this year. This includes DRM-free books from Fictionwise’s catalog. The new version has, among other features, an auto-scroll feature enabling users hands-free reading.
— It will be the exclusive e-book provider for Plastic Logic’s e-book reader, slated to debut early next year. Here’s how Kindle DX vs Plastic Logic reader stack up. The latter is aimed at business readers, as opposed to consumer focus for Kindle, or at least what Plastic Logic has said until now.
Barnes & Noble Launches World