On Monday, Barnes & Noble launched an eBookstore, an upgraded version of its eReader application, and announced that it will be the content provider for the Plastic Logic e-reader device when it launches early next year. According to the press release, the store will give consumers access to more than 700,000 titles making it the largest e-book store. Half a million of those titles will be public domain books from Google and available for free download (Sony also offers these books for the Sony Reader). B&N expects to increase the e-book offerings to over one million titles by next year. In addition, B&N will support EPUB and the e-books will work on a variety of devices including: iPhone, BlackBerry, and most Windows and Mac computers.
Barnes & Noble has been in the news several times recently as it has begun implementing a digital strategy to compete with Amazon. In March, B&N acquired Fictionwise and earlier this month it was announced that the company’s popular eReader.com would offer a revised pricing structure to compete with Amazon’s low prices. A posting on the ZDNet blog, points out that this new partnership with B&N and Plastic Logic could also provide some great competition for Amazon because it will offer consumers what the Kindle currently lacks including: support for the open EPUB standard, free downloads, and ability to access the content on several devices. It will be interesting to see what else B&N is planning. According to William J. Lynch, President of BN.com, this is just the beginning, “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.”