March 5, 2009, 12:00 AM

Barnes & Noble buys e-book retailer Fictionwise

The retailer is paying $15.7 million in cash for the company that sells e-books in multiple formats, including ones compatible with two popular e-book readers—Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader. Barnes & Noble plans to launch an e-book store this year.

Bookseller Barnes & Noble Inc., which plans to open an online store to sell electronic books this year, today announced the acquisition of e-book marketplace Fictionwise.

Barnes & Noble, No. 38 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, paid $15.7 million for Fictionwise, which may receive additional payments based on performance.

Fictionwise, founded in 2000 by Steve and Scott Pendergrast, sells e-books in as many as 12 formats, including downloads compatible with the two most popular e-book readers, Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s Reader. Fictionwise will remain a separate business unit within Barnes & Noble and its founders will remain in charge.

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