back to article Barnes & Noble chases Amazon with ebook second coming

Chasing Amazon and its Orwell-deleting Kindle, US retail giant Barnes & Noble has returned to the digital book business. The company that bills itself as the world's largest book seller announced what it calls the world's largest ebookstore. But unlike Amazon, B&N hasn't backed its ebookstore with its very own handheld ebook …


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  1. J 3
    Big Brother

    Too early to tell

    "readers should have access to the books in their digital library from any device, from anywhere, at any time"

    Oh, they will be selling DRM-free files, then? Nice. But for some reason I doubt it.

    I don't know why the skittishness though. Amazon sells DRM-free digital music, and apparently the world hasn't ended, last time I checked at least. Why should it be different for books?

  2. Steve Roper


    Will B&N be able to delete books from the reader after you've bought them like Amazon do? Because I will never buy a Kindle on that basis - and B&N will join them if that's the case. Once I've paid for something it's mine, to keep as long as I want, and I will not put up with this bullshit.

  3. Corrine

    @J 3

    Since Amazon doesn't allow non Amazon DRM to run on the kindle 2, that would be the implication (and necessity) of selling to Amazon customers.

  4. Ebbe Kristensen
    Thumb Down

    US only?

    Saw this on NYT and took a look. Seems that (most of?) the interesting titles are not available outside the US.

  5. The First Dave


    So now we know who set up Amazon with regard to '1984'

    Surely all the proof you need is the fact that they _don't_ mention it here - if it was nothing to do with B&N then surely they would be crowing out loud?

  6. jake Silver badge


    7-bit ASCII still works fine for probably 99% of anyone reading this ... Most so-called e-books can be found in ASCII, if you look.

    The control of distribution has changed. Publishers no longer have a monopoly on the distribution channels. I am not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, but it is reality.

  7. simon gardener

    bargain. Not

    well i downloaded the reader for mac and for ipod touch then i went to take a look on B&N's site at their offering

    i typed in Dune and up came the paperback for about $8 i clicked on digital version and it was on sale down from $17 to $13

    I passed on their generous offer

  8. Dave Horn

    But what about...

    The rest of the world who doesn't want to read a book on an iPhone or laptop (ie, everyone).

    There are perfectly good formats out there which can be read on the vast majority of both computers AND eBook readers such as the Sony Reader. Even better, Adobe Digital Editions can be, uh, "unlocked" quickly allowing you to make a safe and permanent copy of your book.

  9. Richard 11


    Would be nice - does anyone know if Amazon's profits are up or down having gone DRM-free on their MP3s?

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Can't buy their books in Europe

    I got all excited when I read this, thinking I could finally buy e-books for my phone despite not living in the US, but apart from the free books that were included when you got the app and registered the account, it seems like you can't buy their books without a US billing address. They "currently don't support international purchases", which makes me very sad.

  11. tony72

    International sales

    Barnes & Noble bought where I buy my ebooks for my PDA, I don't know if that's connected to this deal. But since that happened, I've noticed more and more books that I can't buy as a non-US customer, for example "Matter" by Iain M. Banks recently. Doesn't bother me too much, since about 90 seconds later I had a pirated copy for free. Let me say that I fully understand the issues relating to the regional exclusive publishing deals, but you know, I really don't give a shit. Not my problem. In this day and age, if you have people ready and willing to hand over cash for your DRM-infested digital content, and you can't find a way to sell to them, you are a serious loser, and deserve to fail.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    "runs on the Apple iPhone, the iPod Touch"

    Countdown until Apple blocks the app?

  13. Simon Williams


    Plastic Logic is hardly 'a cross-Atlantic startup'. It's a spin-off of the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge, has been around for over five years and is one of the world leaders in OLED technology R&D.

  14. Len Goddard

    Anywhere, on any device

    Providing you live in the USA and do not use linux.

  15. EvilGav 1

    US Only ?

    Seems a bit silly. You can buy the actual book and have it shipped over and thats fine, but heaven forbid that you down-load the digital bits and bytes.

    Anyway, who actually cares ? A real book over 100 years old is as readable today as it was when purchased (hell, look at the Guggenheim Bible), does anyone honestly believe the same will be true of the digital version ?

  16. Mike Richards Silver badge

    @Ebbe Kristensen

    'Saw this on NYT and took a look. Seems that (most of?) the interesting titles are not available outside the US.'

    This isn't Barnes and Noble's fault - it's the publishers who insist on country by country licensing of their titles.

    I've got the Sony Reader here in the UK and I can't get many titles available on their US store, so I contacted some authors asking if they knew their books weren't legally available in the UK. All of them said (wearily) they knew it, they were furious people couldn't get their books legally and a couple asked me to tell the publishers. eBooks should be good for authors, but it looks like they're getting even more screwed than usual.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Sherlock Holmes is for the USA only??!!!

    I wanted to read Sherlock Holmes novels and found them (in 2 collections) on their site at a cheap price (plus immediately available to read)..... but I can _NOT_ buy these novels that are written by a British author because I live outside the USA?! WTF?!

    don't Sherlock Holmes novels fall under public domain books?... I mean they were written a long time ago (don't know when, but they should be old).

  18. Anonymous Coward

    can you say international copyright law?

    Yes, it's different between publishers and authors and the "rights" have to be respected under threat of lawsuit all over the world. That's what caused the kindle problem and that's what causes the problems described here. There isn't a "digital" solution because the publishing industry hasn't got a clue any more than the music industry (and if anything, it even more hidebound in tradition)... erm, sorry.

    Here's hoping one day they get it all fixed and it's not called ACTA.

  19. disgruntled yank Silver badge


    The Guggenheim Bible would be one that Peggy collected?

    Of course you're right. The one great advantage of electronic books is the ability to cut snippets for pasting elsewhere. For everything else, give me paper.

  20. Fremma

    @AC 1450 - Sherlock Holmes

    "don't Sherlock Holmes novels fall under public domain books?... I mean they were written a long time ago (don't know when, but they should be old)."

    An interesting case. Arthur Conan Doyle died in 1930 so in countries with a "life + 50" copyright rule (such as the country I live in) his novels are indeed public domain. The same also applies in "life + 70" countries, including most of Europe, I think?

    However, there is one notable exception. In the US, thanks to the Sonny Bono Public Domain Confiscation Act - or whatever it was called - the cutoff is somewhere in the early 1920s (1923, from memory). And there is no prospect of any titles falling into the public domain there anytime soon.

    So, AC, if you live in a life + 50 or life + 70 country, feel free to head off to (or lots of other sites) for a perfectly legal, well formatted, Public Domain e-book of all the Sherlock Holmes books - both novels and short stories.

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