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LibreDigital Buys E-Commerce Technology From HarperCollins

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LibreDigital, the heavily backed electronic book and newspaper distributor, is buying e-commerce technology from News Corp.-owned HarperCollins, which it says will allow it to offer a “complete end-to-end solution for publishers looking to accelerate sales of e-books and digital content.” LibreDigital has historically helped publishers deliver their content to e-readers and to digital bookstores but it says it will now be able to power digital bookstores for those publishers too.

The technology LibreDigital is buying is a part of HarperCollins’ Symtio platform, which lets bricks-and-mortar retailers include e-books among their offerings. With Symtio, retailers sell customers gift cards which correspond to specific e-books; the PIN numbers on those cards can then be used to download the e-book off of a website.

LibreDigital emphasizes it is only adding the “Symtio e-commerce technology, existing e-commerce contracts and applications, and key e-commerce staff.” HarperCollins says it is in separate negotiations to sell the Symtio gift card business, which, judging from the list of participating retailers on the Symtio website, has gained some traction with Christian bookstores across the country.

A purchase price wasn’t disclosed, but both HarperCollins and LibreDigital have deep ties; HarperCollins is a LibreDigital customer and is also an investor in the company.

LibreDigital has raised more than $27 million, including $8.1 million in a third round of funding just last month — which it said it would use in part to expand services for publishers who want to respond to the