Barnes & Noble last week announced that it had acquired New Jersey-based e-book retailer Fictionwise for $15.7 million. In a press release, the bookseller said it plans to integrate Fictionwise into a digital strategy that includes the launch of an e-bookstore later this year. Fictionwise founders Steve and Scott Pendergrast will continue to operate fictionwise.com and eReader.com as independent brands.
E-book titles bought from Fictionwise can be read on personal computers as well as the Apple iPhone and other smartphones; some can also be read on the Sony Reader. The company's catalogue of titles includes over sixty thousand e-books with five hundred new titles being added each week. Steve Pendergrast told the Wall Street Journal that the company has sold around five million e-books since it was founded in Chatham, New Jersey, in June 2000.
The acquisition plants Barnes & Noble in direct competition with Amazon, which sells e-books for the iPhone and its Kindle reader. William J. Lynch, president of bn.com, told the New York Times that the bookseller was "not prepared to talk about" any plans to sell its own e-book reader.