eReader eBook Business Sold to Fictionwise

Fictionwise has announced that it has acquired the retail electronic book business unit from Motricity. is one of the largest and longest-running eBook retailers on the Internet, with a large customer base and over 23,000 titles available from major publishers and authors.

The company formerly known as PeanutPress was first acquired by Palm Inc in 2001 and became part of the Palm Digital Media Group. It then changed hands to PalmSource after the spin-off and was then sold to PalmGear/Motricity in 2003 who would rebrand it as in 2004.

" 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, 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. " 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."

Fictionwise plans to maintain 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.

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eReader sale is sad news.

Surur @ 1/11/2008 4:02:14 PM # Q
I love eReader, and their new client on WM allows you to buy books straight from your phone, and download any book from your virtual bookshelf. Their sale indicates that business has been poor, and that e-reading has not become a viable market. This is really sad.

I have always hated the fictionwise website btw, the design is just so primitive. If eReader was forced to sell to Fictionwise (a much smaller name) they must have really fallen on hard times. It would be like Palm being bought by UTStarcom.


RE: eReader sale is sad news.
hkklife @ 1/11/2008 4:53:54 PM # Q
There are 2 reasons e-books have stagnated (at best) or flopped (at worst):

1. Overly high e-book prices. I can buy "real" books, with all of the convenience and tactile delights they entail, at somewhere like Costco or Amazon for significantly less than the e-book versions. If e-books from publishing houses large & small were consistently 50% less than the hardback & paperback versions I am sure more people would buy 'em.

2. No compelling multi-function devices on the market. The Amazon Kindle is a hideous looking atrocity. Sony's Reader is a fantastic device that, again, is too large to be pocketable. There's a huge market for affordable PDA-sized devices. Imagine something (regardless of OS) the size of a Zodiac but with Sony's fantastic eInk screen. Baring that, Palm should have just taken their aging PDA lineup and respun the TX into a PMP/e-book/mobile phone companion device.

I was always an eReader fan and of the e-books that I did buy, I always purchased there. I figured things were getting ugly when they didn't release a version 3 of their Palm OS eReader software. In fact, that partciluar app hasn't been updated since March '06 IIRC. Wow.

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: eReader sale is sad news - no way
justauser @ 1/11/2008 6:11:07 PM # Q
Glad to see it out of the hands of Motricity after what they did to palmgear. I think the sale is more an indication of a shifting focus of Motricity rather than dwindling ebook sales. There are plenty of reasons to offload a company besides lack of performance. The titles being released at are becoming more diverse. As long as new books keep being added - I'd say ebooks are stronger than ever.

Fictionwise is a great site. I have bought several ebooks from them in ereader format that were not available at Fictionwise's discount structure is better than I was under the impression that Fictionwise was the bigger ebook retailer. It seemed to have a larger range.

Regardless, as long as books keep being published in electronic format I'm happy. Ebooks have rekindled my love for novels.

RE: eReader sale is sad news.
robera @ 1/11/2008 7:14:53 PM # Q
I still donīt understand what sony had in mind when launching those ebook readers. I think that sony Clie PDAS could do the job much better. Everytime I talk about reading ebooks in Palm to my friends they complain about the small screens on Treos. We need a big 480x320 screen on at least one Treo model. Could be named Treo TX or TX Phone :-)

RE: eReader sale is sad news.
hkklife @ 1/11/2008 7:25:25 PM # Q
I was going to add another line to my post about how when all companies should be at least taking a clue from the strong response to the iPhone/iPod Touch and introducing larger-screened, higher resolution. Instead, we're instead getting increasingly smaller Small Square Screwwns from Palm. And the WinMob ODMs are churning out "widescreen" 320x240 devices and 240x320 devices masquerading as large-screened devices.

320x480 should be the MINIMUM of any serioues new release in '08. Why can I not shake the feeling that if Nova does ship, we're going to see it running on...320x320 and 480x480 devices!?!

800x480 is the new widescreen res of choice! (Eee PC, Nokia tablets) but I'd love to see an oddball for more pocket-sized devices, such as 600x360 or some such!

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: eReader sale is sad news.
Surur @ 1/11/2008 9:19:59 PM # Q
Just checked - I have about 40 ereader books bought over the years. I even bought Jeff Kirvin's book there (never finished it though ;)) I hope they dont change their download policies.

Re eReaders - I think there is a bit of a catch 22 situation - serious users prepared to pay a lot of money demand a large screened reader (just like they want large monitors and large text books) whereas casual readers want small pocketable devices, but are not prepared to pay for them. Thats why dedicated readers end up stuck in a niche, being too large and expensive to expand into the larger casual market.


RE: eReader sale is sad news.
robera @ 1/11/2008 9:27:22 PM # Q
Palm decreases the width and length but the thickness is much bigger than the TX. So where is the gain. I only see disavantages in this because we lose screen size and get a useless micro nano keyboard. I am getting really upset waiting for my TX update:(

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Sale is no failure

mikecane @ 1/11/2008 6:42:10 PM # Q
You're all forgetting it once belonged to Palm.

Does Apple Want To Be King Of Ebooks?

Lots of other ebook posts there too.

RE: Sale is no failure
Gekko @ 1/11/2008 7:22:09 PM # Q

amazon kindle

RE: Sale is no failure
mikecane @ 1/13/2008 4:48:17 PM # Q
>>amazon kindle

Yeah, right. Like you read to begin with.

K sucks.

Reply to this comment

Ebooks are on the rise

rcartwright @ 1/11/2008 11:15:00 PM # Q
First I am glad to see Fictionwise buy ereader. Second, the publishing industry is waiting for a mass market reader to kill off the mass market paperback and put some sanity into bizzare way the current distribution scheme works. Some people (not Apple apparently) think the iPhone or iTouch is that reader. I think that TX is that reader with my Treo a close second. Baen is making ebooks work in a big way and Fictionwise is not losing any money.

Palm could do it with a TX2 or a Treo with a larger screen. Will they? We will have to see.

"Many men stumble across the truth, but most manage to pick themselves up
and continue as if nothing had happened."
- Winston Churchill

RE: Ebooks are on the rise
hkklife @ 1/11/2008 11:16:50 PM # Q
Palm won't do anything other than continue to shrink their already tiny keyboards, screens, and batteries.

And when they DO go big, they go WAY TOO BIG (Fooleo) instead of giving us the TX2 or 320x480 Treo that we have been clamoring for since the days of the T3 (can you believe it's been over 4 years already? Wow!)

Pilot 1000-->Pilot 5000-->PalmPilot Pro-->IIIe-->Vx-->m505-->T|T-->T|T2-->T|C-->T|T3-->T|T5-->TX-->Treo 700P

RE: Ebooks are on the rise
robera @ 1/12/2008 8:48:57 AM # Q
Yeh, hkklife

Palm is always swimming against the tide. My TX has completed two years and still no sign of update. I donīt mean that Treos are not good. My wife has a Treo 650 and I think it is a great device. But not for me. I have tried to use it but the screensize is too limited. I even type much faster on my TX than on the 650 because I use Minikbd widescreen keyboard application that allows me to use my fingers on it. Much better thant the IPhone keyboard as I have seen in some reviews. Palm have made many mistakes since the T3:
- Removal of mic, led and vibrating and lack of Wifi on T5
- lack of mic, led and vibrating on TX
- lack of at least 128MB flash program memory on LD to store the applications.
- And finally the Foleo that was a real flop.

If palm took the TX and add to it a cellphone and at least 4GB of flash for sure could be a winner smartphone.


RE: Ebooks are on the rise
PacManFoo @ 1/12/2008 9:04:59 AM # Q
The TX makes for a wonderful ebook reader. I've been a ereader user ever since Peanut Reader and I'm really hoping that this sale does nothing to bar the ereader program from future updates. I would hope that the price of ebooks would come down to a reasonable price.

PDA's Past and Present:
Palm TX (Number 2)
Palm - IIIxe, Vx, M500, M505, Tungsten T, TX
Handspring - Edge, Platinum, Deluxe
Sony - SJ22
Apple - MP110, MP2000, MP2100
RE: Ebooks are on the rise
mbgrayson @ 1/13/2008 1:34:51 PM # Q
One of the interesting points with the Kindle is that the screen is bigger (although totally black and white), and that books ARE cheaper....generally $9.99, and you can download them and read them on the go.

Once the price comes down, and the screen is color (ie Kindle 2.0), I will buy one.

Now I still use my TX and Treo. They work, but I end up getting Audible books and listening to them on my iPod mostly.


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