For all those who fear that Amazon’s Kindle and its inexpensively priced, proprietary format ebooks means that the big A will rule the world of ebooks, there have been two big announcements in the past couple of weeks that have shown the other big movers and shakers in both the ebook world and the brick-and-mortar book world are positioning themselves to take advantage of the digital revolution.
The first big piece of news was the acquisition of Fictionwise, one of the biggest and best-known independent online ebook retailers, by Barnes and Noble. Everyone involved says that Fictionwise (which itself acquired the eReader software a few years ago) and its affiliate sites will operate as an independent unit. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out, and if (and how) B&N exploits their relationship to solidify a position in ebooks.
The other big news just came out last week: Sony has partnered with Google and is listing ePub format downloads of 500,000 public domain books in the Sony bookstore generated from the many scanned Google Books. For the most part this is a pretty cool development, but as cynics have already pointed out (and we blogged about a while back when Google announced its mobile book search), going directly from scan to text is not always an error-free proposition. We still recommend books made by some human intervention, and once again have to give a shout out to our friends at Girlebooks for nicely formatted, mostly free ebook downloads.
That’s it for this week’s Monday Ebooks. Now go download something.