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Old 01-09-2008, 11:27 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Breaking: eReader.com changes hands again, acquired by Fictionwise

Fictionwise announced today that they have acquired eReader.com, "the world's largest ebook store." Terms of the deal were not disclosed. From the press release:

Quote:
"eReader.com is one of the crown jewels of the eBook world," commented Steve Pendergrast, co-founder of Fictionwise, Inc. "With this acquisition, Fictionwise breaks into the very top ranks of the eBook retail market. Synergies between our business units will open the door to some very interesting developments for our customers in the coming months."

"Over the years, eReader.com nurtured and grew a loyal following of customers while pioneering methods to help raise the general adoption and consumption of eBooks, " said Chris Chuang, Vice President of Strategic Development for Motricity. "eReader.com is a strong strategic fit with Fictionwise, not only in terms of the additional customer footprint it brings, but also in that Fictionwise is acquiring some of the leading technologies and infrastructure in the eBooks market."
eReader has a long history of changing hands. I am not sure if I'll get it all right, but I try. Once upon a time, there was a small publisher named Peanut Press. Peanut Press got bought by a company called NetLibrary (2000). One year later, Palm acquired Peanut Press from NetLibrary and turned it into Palm Digital Media. Then, in 2003, meanwhile Palm's e-book devision was transferred to PalmSource (a former Palm subsidiary), PalmGear (then already a subsidiary of PowerByHand, today known as Motricity) jumped in and acquired the e-book company. One year later, in 2004, Motricity renamed Palm Digital Media into eReader.com.

Given eReader.com's decade-long history of acquisitions, I think it's time to give this old baby some rest... let's hope it'll find it with Fictionwise!

[via TeleRead]
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Old 01-09-2008, 11:29 AM   #2
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Is this good news with regards to choice of formats a work is available in?
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
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Would it make sense for Fictionwise to buy eReader.com? Absolutely. Size matters. Customer base matters. Would it make sense for Fictionwise to continue the eReader format? Absolutely not. Fictionwise already offers a wealth of e-book formats, and eReader has been limited to begin with to those devices that had the eReader software.
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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From the press release:
Quote:
Fictionwise plans to maintain ereader.com as an independent web site to capitalize on the strong brand and loyal customer base achieved by the site. However, Fictionwise plans to build on the success of the eReader eBook format by expanding the product to function on an even wider range of handheld devices, allowing customers the flexibility to read on whatever devices best meet their needs.
It sounds like they do plan to keep the eReader format, and possibly expand it onto other platforms (Ebookwise, maybe?).
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:30 PM   #5
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One thing I really hope this means is that they can offer a migration path from eReader format books to some other format they offer, I'm probably just dreaming, but you never know
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:30 PM   #6
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Is this good news with regards to choice of formats a work is available in?
No, it makes no difference at all. eReader sell exactly one format - eReader .
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:33 PM   #7
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One thing I really hope this means is that they can offer a migration path from eReader format books to some other format they offer, I'm probably just dreaming, but you never know
Exactly my hope, too!
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:35 PM   #8
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I guess a question is whether Fictionwise can make eReader books available in additional formats without re-negotiating the contracts with the publishers. I would think not. Publishers would probably also have to approve any deal that would allow owners of a book in eReader format to download a different format of the same book, which I suspect they would not be enthusiastic about. I think the only impact this is likely to have is if Fictionwise makes the eBookwise support the eReader format, or otherwise expands the platforms the eReader software will run on. If they're thinking of coming out with an e-ink device, they may be considering eReader for that.
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami View Post
...If they're thinking of coming out with an e-ink device, they may be considering eReader for that.
Some people have purchased plenty of eReader e-books in the past (/me looking at himself in the mirror). It would be fantastic if one day I could load them on a new E Ink reader without having to repurchase them...
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:42 PM   #10
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Onbe of the Formats They Offer

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Originally Posted by TadW View Post
Would it make sense for Fictionwise to buy eReader.com? Absolutely. Size matters. Customer base matters. Would it make sense for Fictionwise to continue the eReader format? Absolutely not. Fictionwise already offers a wealth of e-book formats, and eReader has been limited to begin with to those devices that had the eReader software.
I believe that the ereader format is one of the formats Fictionwise supports.
I have found some books on ereader.com that weren't on Fictionwise so this should really expand Fictionwise's selection.

Now if they can only convince Sony.............
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:46 PM   #11
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Some people have purchased plenty of eReader e-books in the past (/me looking at himself in the mirror). It would be fantastic if one day I could load them on a new E Ink reader without having to repurchase them...
I agree 100%, I bought eReader books for ages as I could read them on my Palm and PPC, now I have a Sony Reader...
Heh, just checked my history there, I first purchased from them in March 2000, Riding The Bullet, think they were PeanutPress at the time
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:58 PM   #12
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If they're thinking of coming out with an e-ink device, they may be considering eReader for that.
ETI is, indeed, working on an e-ink device.
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Old 01-09-2008, 01:27 PM   #13
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This is great news! I have bought eReader books in the past, and have continued to buy them occasionally, but it seemed like it was a dying format. This gives me more hope for the future. We'll see what Fictionwise can do, but of course making existing purchases available in new formats probably requires approval by the publisher... good luck.

One big question now because what happens to the eReader software... will it continue to be updated? Maybe get "real" development work now? Maybe get ignored? The new free version - will it stay free? So many things that will be interesting to find out!
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:28 PM   #14
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I've been okay with the eReader format and reader, but the proofing on the last 2 books I bought left a lot to be desired. Hopefully they'll do a better job under new management.
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Old 01-09-2008, 02:49 PM   #15
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From the press release:
Quote:
Fictionwise plans to build on the success of the eReader eBook format by expanding the product to function on an even wider range of handheld devices, allowing customers the flexibility to read on whatever devices best meet their needs.
Ooh... what if they're thinking of making an iPod/iPhone version? Granted my first choice would be linux support, so I could buy books for the iLiad (I dislike the eReader DRM less than Mobi, and the prices are better).

This is interesting. Things have been kind of boring since the Kindle actually hit the market, from my point of view. (Waiting to find out what the Kindle would be like was fun, but now that fun is over... no more mystery!)
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