This story was written by Rafat Ali.
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 Worlds Largest eBookstore
Business Wire News ReleasesPublished: 07/20/09 04:01 PM EDT
MEDIA ALERT: Barnes & Noble will announce via teleconference, Monday, July 20th, at 5:00 P.M. Eastern Time. William J. Lynch, President of Barnes & Noble.com (BN.com), will provide a statement ad be available for questions on a first serve basis. This call is open to all media and will be available via Webcast at http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com/webcasts. Dial-in number is 888-312-3052, passcode 4022104. Dial-in for international callers is 719-325-2331.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS), the worlds largest bookseller, announced today the launch of the Barnes & Noble eBookstore (http://www.bn.com/ebooks), the worlds largest eBookstore, on Barnes & Noble.com (http://www.bn.com), enabling customers to buy eBooks and read them on a wide range of platforms, including the iPhone and iPod touch, BlackBerry smartphones, as well as most Windows and Mac laptops or full-sized desktop computers. In addition, Barnes & Noble announced that it will be the exclusive eBookstore provider on the forthcoming and much anticipated Plastic Logic eReader device.
Barnes & Nobles launch encompasses:
Barnes & Nobles eBookstore offering its customers seamless access to more than 700,000 titles, including hundreds of new releases and bestsellers at only $9.99, making it the worlds largest selection of eBooks available in one place. The company expects that its selection will increase to well over one million titles within the next year, inclusive of every available eBook from every book publisher and every available eBook original, which is a fast growing marketplace.
More than a half-million public domain books from Google (NSDQ: GOOG), which can be downloaded for free. Readers can discover and explore this rich treasure trove, including everything from classic works by well-known writers to long-forgotten and obscure titles that are historically much harder to access.
An upgraded version of its eReader application, which was part of the company’s Fictionwise acquisition earlier this year. This device-agnostic eBook application supports both wireless and wired access to the new Barnes & Noble eBookstore. Millions of internet-enabled devices are currently supported by eReader, including the nations two leading smartphone device families from Apple and BlackBerry, as well as most Windows and Mac laptops or full-sized computers.
First-time users of the eReader will have the opportunity to download free eBooks, including titles such as Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary, Sense and Sensibility, Little Women, Last of the Mohicans, Pride and Prejudice, and Dracula. See site for further details.
A strategic commerce and content partnership with Plastic Logic, whose eReader device is especially designed for business professionals. Barnes & Noble will power the eBookstore for the Plastic Logic eReader device. The ultra thin 8.5 x 11 inch wireless eReader is slated to debut in early 2010.
The free, full-featured B&N Bookstore app for iPhone and iPod touch users, which is now the #1 downloaded book app in Apples App Store. In addition to enabling customers to easily place orders for books, movies, and CDs, the app also lets users search millions of products simply by snapping a photo. Using the iPhones camera, customers can snap a photo of the front cover and within seconds get product details, editorial reviews, and customer ratings even find and reserve a copy in the nearest store. The app also includes a store locator, bestseller lists, book recommendations, and a store events calendar.
Today marks the first phase of our digital strategy, which is rooted in the belief that readers should have access to the books in their digital library from any device, from anywhere, at any time, said William J. Lynch, President of BN.com. As Americas #1 bookstore and newsstand, ou goal at Barnes & Noble is to build a service that revolves around the customer, enabling them to have access to hundreds of thousands of titles and read on their smartphone, PC, and many other existing and future devices. We want to make eBooks simple, accessible, affordable and convenient for everyone.
More About the eReader Application
Designed with the reader in mind, Barnes & Noble eReader client software provides an easy-to- use interface to access the Barnes & Noble eBookstore and to manage their personal eBook libraries. It features powerful tools to optimize the reading experience, including the ability to modify type size and font and annotate and bookmark text, as well as an innovative auto-scroll feature enabling users hands free reading. In addition, users will have the added convenience afforded by true eBook portability, allowing them to access their eBooks from any of their eBook software-equipped devices, so that, for example, they can shift from reading their eBook from a smartphone while commuting to a notebook PC or eReader device at bedtime.
For information on free downloads go to http://www.bn.com/ebooks
By Rafat Ali