updated 08:10 pm EDT, Sat October 8, 2011
Barnes and Noble drops DC Comics in digital spat
Barnes & Noble on Friday retaliated against DC Comics for its decision to offer its comics exclusively on the Amazon Kindle Fire. As of Friday, 100 of DC's graphic novels were being pulled from Barnes & Noble's physical stores, including Watchmen, V For Vendetta, and The Dark Knight Returns. Online orders are still an option, but they must be delivered at home, not to the store.
Officially, the bookseller claimed the decision was a consistency issue. In a statement, the company's Jaime Carey claimed it wouldn't offer a hard copy in a store if it couldn't also provide a digital version.
"To sell and promote the physical book in our store showrooms and not have the e-book available for sale would undermine our promise to Barnes & Noble customers to make available any book, anywhere," Carey said.
Despite the claims, the move is most likely punishment as it removes DC Comics' books from the only real major physical retailer in the US. Independents will have physical copies but also won't have the digital equivalent to start.
The withdrawal shows a rapidly heating up battle between Amazon and Barnes & Noble for the e-book space. Barnes & Noble's Nook Color was the first major tablet-based e-reader and even briefly toppled the Kindle as the most popular e-reader in the US. A Nook Color sequel should be coming soon, but the Kindle Fire for now has a faster processor and a much greater emphasis on tasks beyond reading, whether it's HD video or apps. Getting DC Comics also gives it an advantage for an audience likely to include many early adopters and younger buyers. [via Bleeding Cool]