Barnes & Noble closes in on the e-Book market

Book retailer Barnes & Noble today announced it has purchased Fictionwise, the company which runs the e-Bookstores Fictionwise.com and ereader.com, in its move to launch its own e-book store this year.

Fictionwise is one of the country's largest independent sellers of e-books, and supports a number of formats, including Palm, PocketPC, Hiebook, Mobipocket, eBookMan, Adobe, MS Reader, and WinCE, several of which are supported by Amazon's Kindle. The site also offers free eReader software for Windows and Mac OS, as well as software for Palm OS, Symbian S60 and UIQ, and Windows Mobile devices.

Fictionwise will stay a separate business unit under Barnes and Noble and continue to be run by founders Steve and Scott Pendergast. The founders, however, say that this acquisition will bring "more e-book content than ever before" to the service, and will help expand the eReader software to support more platforms. The company did not say if this means a new site will be made that allows direct over-the-air downloading onto Amazon's Kindle.

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