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What does an eBookstore look like?

July 23, 2009 |  9:27 am

This week we got a press release from Barnes & Noble celebrating the launch of its eBookstore. The company tells us that with 700,000 available titles, its eBookstore is the world's largest. Currently, its wares can be read -- with the Barnes & Noble eReader -- on iPhones, BlackBerrys, PCs and Macs.

Though more platforms (Sony eReader, anyone?) are promised, chances are Amazon's proprietary Kindle won't be among them.

The challenge to blogger me is that I just can't picture an eBookstore. (Above: no picture). It's about titles and content, but not about layout or design. To represent the ebooks in its eBookstore, Barnes & Noble has rounded off the covers of print editions, so they're roughly the shape of an iPhone screen. Maybe this will be the long-term solution, but it seems like a hedge.

Because an eBookstore filled with ebooks should be something different, I think. Something that exists virtually, rendered as pixels and text. But there's nothing that comes to mind except words on a screen. And you're already looking at words on a screen.

Maybe it's a failure of imagination on my part. What do you think an eBookstore looks like?

-- Carolyn Kellogg

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