Barnes & Noble Buys Fictionwise

Publishers Weekly reports Barnes & Noble has bought Fictionwise and will start an e-bookstore:

What kind of role Barnes & Noble will play in the digital future became a little clearer this morning with the retailer’s announcement that it has acquired Fictionwise, one of the largest independent e-book retailers, for $15.7 million plus incentives over the next two years for achieving certain performance targets.

Francis Hamit analyzes the future effect on the publishing industry:

Fictionwise gets some of their material from Ingram Digital (nee Lightning Source) which also provides it to other online bookstores across the web. This multi-channel approach does not seem to drive sales of e-books, and won’t unless B&N makes a major effort to promote this segment of its business. If they leave it up to individual publishers then they will gain no real market advantage because Ingram has already put us in those competing channels. Fictionwise discounts and has a club program, but they are hardly unique in that approach.