Business

Borders plans its strategy as it enters electronic book market

Dr Pepper is celebrating 125 years with retro can designs, and contents that are "Made with Real Sugar," not high-fructose corn syrup.
Dr Pepper is celebrating 125 years with retro can designs, and contents that are "Made with Real Sugar," not high-fructose corn syrup. AP

NEW YORK — Borders Group has launched its e-bookstore as it tries to catch up to competitors who have a head start in a small but growing market that's seen as the future of the book industry.

The company said last week its goal with the new store and e-reader is to take 17 percent of the electronic book market by next July. Amazon has the Kindle e-reader and Barnes & Noble has the Nook, and all the players are cutting prices to woo buyers.

Borders was later to market than its rivals but said it took time to craft its strategy, which rests on selling books that can be used across multiple platforms rather than just one device.

The store, at http://ebooks.borders.com, has more than 1.5 million titles and thousands of free ones. The books are in formats such as mobile, PDF and ePub. The Kobo eReader and Aluratek Libre eReader are both for sale on the site and priced less than $150. The company said both have sold better than expected, though it didn't give figures.

The readers will also be available in stores in an area called "Area E" in all stores by early September.

The displays in stores will help draw in customers because they'll be able to try out the devices, said Michael Norris, a senior analyst at the trade books group for Simba Information.

The company may be later to the electronic book market than its rivals, but the market is young enough that there's still plenty of room to grow, he said. He estimates some 90 percent of U.S. adults haven't yet bought an electronic book, so there's lots of opportunity to capture customers.

"You can leave an e-bookstore with one keystroke, so Borders just needs to focus on making the shopping experience work as conveniently as they say they will," he said.

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