[LINK] 'mega e-bookstore'

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Wed Jul 22 03:40:57 AEST 2009

Barnes & Noble Plans an Extensive E-Bookstore 

By MOTOKO RICH  Published: July 20, 2009 

Four months after acquiring an e-book retailer, Barnes & Noble, the 
world’s largest chain of bookstores, is starting its own mega e-bookstore 
on its Web site. 

 (http://www.barnesandnoble.com/ebooks/index.asp) & free e-reader software

In an announcement on Monday, Barnes & Noble said that it would offer 
more than 700,000 books that could be read on a wide range of devices, 
including Apple’s iPhone, the BlackBerry and various laptop or desktop 
computers. When Barnes & Noble acquired Fictionwise in March, that online 
retailer had about 60,000 books in its catalog.

More than 500,000 of the books now offered electronically on www.BN.com 
can be downloaded free, through an agreement with Google to provide 
electronic versions of public domain books that Google has scanned from 
university libraries. Sony announced a similar deal in March to offer the 
public domain books on its Reader device. 

Barnes & Noble is promoting its e-bookstore as the world’s largest, an 
implicit stab at Amazon.com, which offers about 330,000 for its Kindle 
device. Currently, Google’s public domain books cannot be read on a 

The number of e-books available on BN.com compares with 1.2 million in 
stock that can be bought in print form from the company’s Web site. 

A further one million books can be ordered from BN.com in the print-on-
demand format. 

William J. Lynch, president of Barnes & Noble.com, said the company would 
continue to sell e-book versions of best sellers and new releases — 
defined as a new e-book for the first six months of its availability — 
for $9.99. That charge has become the de facto e-book price since 
Amazon.com set it for Kindle sales.

E-book pricing has become one of the most delicate topics in book 
circles. Publishers are concerned that by selling new books at such low 
prices, e-book retailers will undercut sales of hardcover editions, which 
average about $26, and eventually erode publisher margins. 

“The pricing policies won’t remain static,” Mr. Lynch said in an 
interview. “We’re working with our publishers on various pricing models. 
As the pricing model evolves over time, we will adjust.”

David Young, chief executive of the Hachette Book Group, the publisher of 
blockbuster authors like James Patterson and Stephenie Meyer, was 
cautious about Barnes & Noble’s latest step. 

“I’m thrilled that another major player is entering the fast-emerging e-
book market,” Mr. Young said. “But I remain deeply concerned that our 
most valuable front-list titles are being sold at mass-market paperback 
prices,” he said, referring to the small format paperbacks that usually 
come out a year after a hardcover is released.

Barnes & Noble also announced an upgraded version of its eReader software 
that users could download free from its Web site, making it possible to 
read any e-book bought on BN.com on various devices. Electronic books 
bought at BN.com cannot be read on Sony’s Reader or on the Kindle.

The retailer also said that when Plastic Logic released its electronic 
reading device in early 2010, Barnes & Noble would operate a bookstore 
for e-books that would work on the new device. Mr. Lynch declined to say 
whether Barnes & Noble would sell the actual device.

Sales of e-books remain small , but are growing fast. According to a 
survey by the Codex Group, a book marketing research company, 4.9 percent 
of books sold in May were in digital form, up from 3.7 percent in March.

Sarah Rotman Epps, a media analyst with Forrester Research in Cambridge, 
Mass., said BN.com was unlikely to dent Amazon.com’s Kindle sales. 

“I don’t think they will be stealing market share from Amazon,” Ms. 
Rotman Epps said. “If anything I think they are contributing to the 
growth of the whole category of digital reading.” 

She added that as more consumers begin reading digital books on phones 
and other mobile devices, it made sense to market to those readers as 
opposed to those who are buying dedicated reading devices like the Kindle 
or the Sony Reader. 


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