In their ongoing quest to stay competitive with Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble acquired e-book retailer Fictionwise a few months ago and is now offering e-book downloads and a free reader that works on PCs, Macs, iPhones and Blackberrys.
Barnes & Noble also struck a deal to offer the 500,000 public domain books that Google scanned and has available on Google Books. Just one problem – I can’t seem to find any ‘free’ e-books on BN.com’s e-book section. Perhaps I didn’t look hard enough. But then again, I shouldn’t need to. This should be used as a loss leader. Oh well, I’ll just peruse Google Books if I want to read a free classic.
And what about a e-reader? BN is working with manufacturer Plastic Logic that is releasing a device in 2010 for which BN will launch a e-bookstore to provide content for that device. Of course, e-books from BN.com don’t work on Sony’s device or Amazon’s Kindle.
*sigh* Competition is great and all, but why oh why don’t companies just save themselves and consumers the money and trouble and start out with standards?