From the NOM Department: BN buys Fictionwise for 15.7mm

Ron Hogan of, GalleyCat, and lady Jane’s Salon posted via Twitter the news from Teleread, which of course has crashed like the server was slashdotted. Forbes has the story as well: Barnes and Noble has purchased Fictionwise for a reported $15.7 million dollars.

The deal gives Barnes & Noble a presence in the e-book market prior to the launch of its e-Bookstore later this year.

The transaction may also include additional performance-based payments to Fictionwise over the next two years.

Barnes & Noble plans to keep New Jersey-based Fictionwise as an individual division after the deal closes, with founders Steve and Scott Pendergrast remaining at its helm.

Looks like Barnes and Noble is going to launch a more multi-platform-friendly ebookstore using Fictionwise as part of the ebook offering later this year. Commence edge-of-my-seat watching and waiting to see what happens. And a bit of nail-chewning ruminations as to what will become of Borders at this point.

Teleread’s article has bits of an interview with Pendergrast and some analysis as to what this means for the ePub standard.

To quote Jane Litte, who just called me for a bit of “Holy crap!”, “Someone (Hi Barnes and Noble!) is paying attention to the future of ebooks.”


General Bitching...

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  1. 1

    Steve Riggio is a smart, visionary leader.  We did a lot of business with B&N with our packaging company, and it doesn’t surprise me in the least that they would make this move.  If this doesn’t indicate a tipping point for ebooks in the near future, I don’t know what does.

  2. 2
    CourtneyLee says:

    I don’t think print will ever die, but ebooks are the future and it’s great to see a huge bookseller take a big step like this. Innovation is good.

  3. 3
    Debra Hyde says:

    I’m glad B&N is getting into the e-book game, but I dearly hope they respect the non-DRM small publishers who distribute through Fictionwise.

    When I have to buy DRM, I do it through the Sony store, but I frequent Fictionwise often for almost all of my nonDRM purchases.  I’ve found a lot of decent, highly enjoyable fiction—not the drek once predicted by publishing skeptics—and I’d hate to see the free spirit of nonDRM squashed by a corporate behemoth’s need to control.

    Plus, I want to OWN my books, not a license.  But I worry B&N’s acquisition will lurch any progress in that direction to a sudden halt.

  4. 4

    As a writer who publishes with a company who does both ebook and print (w00t Samhain!), I am thrilled with this news.  Hopefully it’ll mean MO’ MONEY MO’ MONEY MO’ MONEY in my pocket.

    Not that I, errr, write for the money.  Nope, for the love of the craft only.  Truly.  ;-)

  5. 5

    I hope it means mo money as well, but I always get nervous when the big boys come acalling. This could turn into a clusterfuck of mammoth proportions, of course, I’m a natural born pessimist.

  6. 6
    Jan says:

    Looks like the new Readius will be hooked into B&N through Fictionwise as well.

  7. 7
    Michelle says:

    Don’t you just love the power of Twitter these days?  The “holy shit” heard round the world in just 120 characters?

    Nom, nom, nom…

  8. 8
    ev says:

    Crap. I have been gone all day and not checking Twitter, so I miss all the fun.

    I hope the future of Border’s is brighter than it has been. I will have to start going to the local bookstores or shop online. I hate B&N, at least the one here.

    It will be interesting to see what happens next.

  9. 9
    Jessica G. says:

    They beat Borders to the punch. Poor guys. They’ve been developing a strategy for ebooks.

  10. 10
    Elizabeth Wadsworth says:

    Ok this is probably a really dumb question, but what the hell does NOM mean?  I’ve encountered it here and elsewhere and have been reading it as the French word for name, but that doesn’t seem to make any sense….

  11. 11
    Kaetrin says:

    Sarah, do you think this news makes it likely that Fictionwise will start supplying Sony Reader friendly versions such as ePub or Adobe DE?  (I understand there is some kind of LRF version of some books available but I have shied away from experimenting at this stage and have been going to Books on Board or eHarlequin instead).  But, I am interested in the Micropay rewards…

    Secondly, do you think this will lead to resolving the “territoriality” issues around ebooks – eg, I’m in Australia and I can’t buy books from the Sony ebookstore because (I understand) of the territorial rights of various books).  Having said that, I tried to buy the $1 special Larissa Ione book from Books on Board yesterday and received a message that this book is “not available in my region” so (while on the one hand, grrrr),  I guess they have at least worked out a way to differentiate between books they do have w/wide rights for and those they don’t, unlike Sony…

    I am fairly new to buying ebooks so I am really interested in finding out about this stuff.  Thanks.

  12. 12
    SonomaLass says:

    @Elizabeth Wadsworth: “nom” is internet/lolspeak for the sound one makes when eating something—“nom, nom, nom” is the sound of someone chowing down.  It has come to be a verb as well, as in “to nom the deliciousness.”  (Yes, I have teenagers, can you tell?)

    Speaking of the teens, after reading this, I need to get mine to Borders to spend their remaining gift cards!!

  13. 13
    Jackie says:

    I have not tried e-books yet which surprises me because I love gadgets -almost as much as I love books! 

    Do you have any recommendations as to where I should start reader wise?  One of the reasons I have stayed away, I think, is because there are too many formats to choose from, and I know that not all e-books can be read on the same reader.  How do you all deal with that?

    TYIA for any help on this issue!

  14. 14
    Melissa S. says:

    Hey Jackie!

    When I was buying my ereader I used Mobile Read Wiki. It has a list of sites that sell books a long with a look at all the E-readers available out there.

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