Barnes and Noble Launches eBook Store and Does Deal with Plastic Logic for Dedicated Reader
Barnes and Noble has launched a giant, 700,000 title ebook store and has announced that they will be working with Plastic Logic to develop a touchscreen ereader to compete with the Kindle. Plastic Logic's new ereader will have wireless access without all of Amazon's proprietary restrictions.

Books sold in Barnes and Noble's store will be compatible with almost every existing format, including Sony's ePub modality.

From Barnes and Noble's press release:

"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 "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."

Barnes and Noble will be selling their ebooks for the now industry-standard price of $9.99 (which is still too high for direct downloads).

Publishers are all complaining that this price is too LOW and that it will interfere with their profit margins, but I assume this is because nobody has shown publishers how to log onto "The Pirate Bay" and steal a thousand ebooks in an hour with one fat torrent.

Generously, that means it would take you 700 hours to steal every book from Barnes and Noble, which is a little less than a month.

700,000 books. 10 dollars a book. That means you can steal 7 million dollars worth of books in less than a month while sitting in a coffee shop. If you have seven million dollars and want to destroy a company, you could buy one legal copy each and then make them available for free on a Chinese data dump.

So maybe it's time to rethink this whole ebooks thing.


Plastic Logic is in a good position as an ereader company, assuming that Apple doesn't come out with something devastating in the next few months. Plastic Logic's entire business model is to develop an ereader that looks like the sort of thing people use in science fiction movies.

Plastic Logic's ereader is a touchscreen, which means that it will also make a fine internet browser, which is something that the Kindle can't offer. If you MUST have e-ink to read your ebooks, it seems like Plastic Logic's reader is the way to go.

Also likable is the fact that Barnes and Noble does not currently have plans to dismantle and take over the entire publishing industry from the inside out. Unlike Google and Amazon, they just want to sell books that other people publish.

I appreciate their humble ambitions in this age of constant, fevered power-grabs. I question the wisdom of their book-selling model and I fear their consolidation will lead even faster to the gutting of the publishing industry. They will flood people's computers with ebooks, and those ebooks will be copied, shared, collected, and pirated.

People will crave ebooks and demand them. But they will not pay, because their guts will tell them that these books have no value because they can be copied and distributed for free.

Which is true.

Posted by miracle on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 08:47:29 -0400 -- permanent link

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