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Pace Quickening in E-Book Market

By guest blogger Mike Bock

Here are a few recent headlines from the world of e-reader technology:

  • Barnes and Noble launched NOOK for Web, a cloud-oriented Web service that allows customers to read e-books on PC- or Mac-based computers. TGDaily reports the service does not work for iPads or iPhones, but Barnes and Noble says it will add support for mobile devices in the fall.

    The move could be seen as direct competition to Kindle's Cloud Reader, a similar service run by Amazon. This is exciting news for Barnes and Noble, which recently agreed to a $300 million partnership with Microsoft, as reported in our Marketplace K-12 blog.

  • A new BookStats survey found e-book sales are continuing to increase, although they only make up a small part of the total market share for publishing. BookStats, a publishing monitoring agency co-sponsored by the Association of American Publishers and the Book Industry Study Group, found that trade (or nonacademic or professional) e-book sales reached $2.1 billion this year, although 85 percent of the publishing industry's total revenue still comes from print sales, AllThingsD reported.
  • U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal urging the Department of Justice to drop the e-book anti-trust lawsuit against Apple. Schumer said taking legal action against Apple, which has been accused of price-fixing and driving down book costs along with publishers MacMillan and Penguin Group, could amount to giving total control of the e-book marketplace to Amazon, The Hill reported.
  • Lonely Planet, one of the world's largest travel guide publishers, is offering free geography and history ebooks and apps about London in celebration of the Olympics.
  • And more U.K.-related news: Bloomsbury Publishing plc, the British publishing company that publishes the Harry Potter series, announced a 70 percent increase in digital sales in the period covering March 1-July 11 compared with the same period last year. Chief Executive Officer Nigel Newton told MSN Money UK he wasn't concerned about the 2 percent drop in print sales over the same period, as he envisions a future for both print and e-book sales. "It will be a mixed market. Just as it has been for 40 years for hardback and paperback formats - it's just another new format."
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