E-books slip into the mainstream

Like it or not, e-books are coming your way. You may choose not to read them, but they will be increasingly hard to ignore. Starting today, sales of e-books to Amazon's Kindle electronic reader will included in the data on USA Today's bestseller lists. (When or whether that info will be available to other bestseller list compilers – like the New York Times – is still unclear.)

Earlier this week, Barnes & Noble announced that it is jumping into the e-book market as well. And its new e-book store offers more than 700,000 titles – compared with only 300,000 books available from Amazon's Kindle store. Barnes & Noble e-books can be downloaded onto an iPhone or other device but, even more ambitiously, the company says that it will also market its own e-reader, created by Plastic Logic, and expected to become available sometime next year.

Barnes & Noble floundered when it tried to crack the e-book market just six years ago. But this time around it is likely to be quite a different story.

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