It's not exactly an e-book reader of its own as previously rumored, but Barnes & Noble's announced an alliance with Plastic Logic in which it'll serve as the "exclusive eBookstore provider" to the long-in-development e-reader, which unless we're playing with semantics here means any and all digital literature you're wanting to purchase on-device will have to come from BN. According to the press release, downloads from Google's public domain archives will also be made available gratis, and as for the enigmatic 8.5 x 11-inch slate, it's still reportedly on track for an early 2010 launch. Much in the vein of Amazon's more recent maneuvers, the ole' brick-and-mortar retailer is taking what it's calling a device-agnostic approach, with apps already available for iPhone and iPod touch, Blackberry, Windows, and OS X. Practice your reading skills with the presser after the break.
Update: A few added details from Barnes & Noble's conference call. The company says it'll be announcing support for other products in the future (not Kindle or Sony e-reader) and that it has no announcements at this point as to whether it'll be selling Plastic Logic e-readers in store, exclusive or otherwise.
BARNES & NOBLE LAUNCHES WORLD'S LARGEST eBOOKSTORE
Introduces "Every Device" Strategy
Upgrades eReader Application
Announces eBookstore Partnership with Plastic Logic
New York, New York – July 20, 2009 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world's largest bookseller, announced today the launch of the Barnes & Noble eBookstore, the world's largest eBookstore, on Barnes & Noble.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 & Noble's launch encompasses:
· Barnes & Noble's 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 world's 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, 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 nation's 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 Apple's 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 iPhone's 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 America's #1 bookstore and newsstand, our 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 www.bn.com/ebooks
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world's largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 777 bookstores in 50 states. Barnes & Noble is the nation's top bookseller brand for the sixth year in a row, as determined by a combination of the brand's performance on familiarity, quality, and purchase intent; the top bookseller in quality for the second year in a row and the number two retailer in trust, according to the EquiTrend® Brand Study by Harris Interactive®. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com one of the Web's largest e-commerce sites.
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company's corporate website: www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
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This press release contains "forward-looking statements." Barnes & Noble is including this statement for the express purpose of availing itself of the protections of the safe harbor provided by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 with respect to all such forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based on currently available information and represent the beliefs of the management of the company. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks include, but are not limited to, general economic and market conditions, decreased consumer demand for the company's products, possible disruptions in the company's computer or telephone systems, possible risks associated with data privacy and information security, possible work stoppages or increases in labor costs, possible increases in shipping rates or interruptions in shipping service, effects of competition, possible disruptions or delays in the opening of new stores or the inability to obtain suitable sites for new stores, higher than anticipated store closing or relocation costs, higher interest rates, the performance of the company's online and other initiatives, the performance and successful integration of acquired businesses, the success of the company's strategic investments, unanticipated increases in merchandise or occupancy costs, unanticipated adverse litigation results or effects, the results or effects of any governmental review of the company's stock option practices, product shortages, and other factors which may be outside of the company's control. Please refer to the company's annual, quarterly and periodic reports on file with the SEC for a more detailed discussion of these and other risks that could cause results to differ materially.