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Fictionwise is Now on Life Support – They’re Pulling the Plug in 3 Weeks’ Time

16 November 2012

From The Digital Reader:

When Fictionwise launched the year 2000, it was a mad attempt to pioneer in a nascent industry. When it is shut down on 4 December 2012, it will mark the end of an era.

Fictionwise sent out an email today to their publishing partners.  I’ve embedded the email at the end of this post, but the tl;dr version is that the site will cease operations on the first Tuesday in December.

But that’s not all.

Fictionwise is going to shut down all of the sites they own, and that includes ebookwise.com (already defunct), libwise.com (ditto), and most importantly eReader.com is also going to be shut down.

eReader is the last surviving member of the early trinity of ebook formats. Along with Mobipocket and MSReader, it dominated the ebook market up until the launch of the Kindle in 2007, not so much because it was a good format but because it had decent support for a wide variety of PDAs. It was in fact the first ebook format to work on the PalmPilot (aside from text files).

. . . .

As you may know, Barnes & Noble acquired Fictionwise, Inc. (Fictionwise) on March 3, 2009.  Fictionwise runs several eBook websites, including Fictionwise.com, eReader.com and eBookwise.com. Over the past few years there has been a significant decrease in demand for many of the eBook formats that Fictionwise.com sells. In contrast, the new industry standard eBook format supported by Barnes & Noble–ePub–is growing in popularity.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader


10 Comments to “Fictionwise is Now on Life Support – They’re Pulling the Plug in 3 Weeks’ Time”

  1. Lovely of them to let those of us know who’ve bought titles from them, so we could make sure we have downloaded our files…

    Oh, and I just got error message when I tried to download everything. Not promising.

  2. That’s a dangerously short notice period. I’m glad I already backed up all my fictionwise books and haven’t bought from there in a while.

    Don’t leave dealing with this to the last minute – fictionwise’s website has problems with doing mass downloads of large bookshelves, so leave yourself time to deal with it.

  3. Yeah I think I downloaded everything already, but I’m not sure. I just tried again, and got nothing but errors. Won’t do it in bulk, won’t do it in smaller batches either. Or even individual titles.

    • Camille, keep trying… I was able to download my bookshelf in 100 book chunks using their bulk download interface. Of course, that was at 7am on a Saturday, which may have helped.

      A bigger challenge was finding interesting stories to spend $12.04 micropay dollars I had left over from years ago. Got close enough – I have $0.10 left 🙂 (I know they’d send me a check, but this was a better way to use it.)

      Good thing they have a “sort by price” option on their book lists…

  4. This is why:
    (a) I would never buy a ebook where I couldn’t break the DRM
    (b) I consider it bad policy to do exclusive deals with your entire catalogue of books.

  5. I used to buy all of my ebooks on Fictionwise then B&N bought them and suddenly the ‘rare’ geographic restrictions to Canada because ‘almost every freaking book they had’. I went to Kobo because the books were available there. Then I went to Amazon – no geographic restrictions on the books I wanted. My understanding of B&N policy in ebooks is US focused. While every other ebook retailer reaches out to the world, B&N closes down to the world.

    • While every other ebook retailer reaches out to the world, B&N closes down to the world.

      Uh, Amazon has plenty of e-books they won’t sell to Canada. I even had someone ask me to review their trade-published book some time back, they sent me a coupon for a free copy and Amazon wouldn’t let me download it.

      • Which is as it should be. If a publisher has only paid the author for U.S. rights, they shouldn’t be selling the book outside the U.S., whether through Amazon or not.

        PA’s talking about something different. The reason B&N won’t sell outside the U.S. isn’t because they don’t have the right to. It’s because they can’t be bothered.

  6. It’s the same deal in Australia, but I have been told that that is a matter of the book’s licensing–ie a publishing issue, not a distributor’s decision.

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