Borders Launches eBook Store

Borders launched an ebook store on Wednesday in an attempt to compete with Amazon, Apple, and Barnes and Noble in the increasingly popular ebook market. Borders eBooks offers 1.5 million titles, including over a million free public domain works by authors such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Bram Stoker. The ebooks are available in ePub format, PDF, or mobile-specific versions.

Borders eBooks is powered by Kobo, a global ereading service. Borders, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is one of the investors behind Kobo. They sell the Kobo ereader device, which uses e-ink technology and has a stripped down design, for $150. Also available are Sony ereader devices and the Aluratek Libre eReader. If you don’t have an ereader, there are Borders eReader apps for the PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry, and Android, which allow customers to purchase and read ebooks.

Borders, which is currently the second largest bookstore chain in the US, hopes to gain 17% of the ebook market by July of next year. According to InformationWeek, Borders thinks it can grab such a large share because the market is still young. It’s lucrative too–eBook sales were up 127% in April from the same time last year.

Now that there is yet another ebook retailer, the real question is what effect, if any, the increased competition will have on prices. This article in the Wall Street Journal speculates that it may mean discounts for certain titles, but not books that fall under the agency pricing model, which allows publishers to set retail prices. It also mentions that Borders may offer exclusive free content in the future.

Have you checked out the new Borders eBooks store? How do you think it compares to Amazon or Apple’s stores?

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