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Barnes & Noble launches 'world's largest eBookstore'

July 20, 2009 |  2:06 pm
B&N eBookstore
Screenshot of Barnes & Noble's eBookstore. Credit: Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble, no doubt concerned about Amazon's growing dominance in the burgeoning but fast-growing eBooks market, this afternoon said it would launch "the world's largest eBookstore."

The online bookstore boasts 700,000 titles, versus 300,000 available for download on Amazon's Kindle eBook device. Barnes & Noble counts about half a million books in the public domain that are available for free download via a partnership with Google. (Works that were never copyrighted or whose copyrights have expired, including William Shakespeare's plays or Dante Alighieri's "Inferno," are considered public domain works.)

The book retailer, which operates 777 stores nationwide, also announced a partnership with Plastic Logic, a company that is developing an eBook device that would compete with the Kindle. The Plastic Logic reader, expected to be the length and width of a sheet of notebook paper, would have wireless download capabilities similar to the Kindle and be on the market in early 2010.

While Barnes & Noble described the bookstore as an "every-device strategy" in which electronic books purchased from its online store can be read on many devices, the company made no mention of the Kindle in its press release. Instead, it mentioned iPhones, Blackberries and computers. In March, the retailer acquired Fictionwise, an online electronic bookseller, for $15.7 million. Fictionwise continues to operate as a business separate from Barnes & Noble's online bookstore.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.

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