LAS VEGAS, Jan. 6, 2000 — barnesandnoble.com Inc. (Nasdaq "BNBN" ) and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) announced today that they will take a major step into the digital content future with the creation of a barnesandnoble.com eBook superstore using Microsoft® Reader software. The eBook initiative, announced at the 2000 International CES, will provide barnesandnoble.com's millions of customers with access to thousands of eBook titles through Microsoft Reader, a new software application designed to deliver an on-screen computer reading experience rivaling that offered by traditional paper-based text.
barnesandnoble.com and Barnes & Noble Inc. (NYSE "BKS" ) have signed agreements with Microsoft to develop and market the Microsoft Reader eBook store. barnesandnoble.com will create the eBook store on its Web site by mid-2000, offering titles that will run on Microsoft Reader software. Barnes & Noble will aggressively market the new eBook store through a variety of promotional activities in its more than 1,000 retail bookstores nationwide.
"The combination of barnesandnoble.com's online strength and Barnes & Noble's dominant retail presence will make Microsoft Reader available to tens of millions of book consumers in a matter of months," said Dick Brass, vice president of technology development for Microsoft. "Barnes & Noble invented modern book retailing. We can't think of any other distribution channel that has such combined power and brand awareness."
"This collaboration is a concrete declaration of support by two industry leaders for the future of eBooks," said Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes & Noble. "We envision a time in the not too distant future when there will be electronic versions of virtually every book in print. The technology of Microsoft Reader provides a superior reading experience for existing content and, as important, will generate an exciting wave of electronic publishing that will go far beyond books. barnesandnoble.com plans to be at the center of what will surely be a huge market for digital content of all types."
Microsoft Reader is the first product to include ClearType TM display technology, a Microsoft innovation that greatly improves font resolution on LCD screens for users of desktop or laptop PCs running the Windows® operating system as well as dedicated reading devices. In addition to incorporating the latest ClearType technology, Microsoft Reader strictly adheres to the traditions and benefits of fine typography. It provides a clean, uncluttered display; ample margins; full justification; proper spacing, leading and kerning; and powerful tools for bookmarking, highlighting and annotation. Microsoft Reader is expected to ship in the first half of 2000.
Since launching its online business in May 1997, barnesandnoble.com has become one of the world's largest Web sites and the fourth largest e-commerce site, according to Media Metrix Inc. Focused largely on the sale of books, music, software, magazines, prints, posters and related products, the company has capitalized on the recognized brand value of the Barnes & Noble name to become the second largest, and one of the fastest-growing, online distributors of books.
Customers can choose from millions of new and out-of-print titles and enjoy a variety of related content such as author chats, book synopses and reader reviews. The site also offers thousands of bargain books discounted up to 91 percent, the most popular software and magazine titles, as well as gift items for every occasion. The company recently launched its Prints & Posters Gallery, a unique collection of images that can be produced on demand on museum-quality canvas or high-quality paper, and its eCards service, an exclusive selection of greeting card images that can be personalized and enhanced with animation and music. With access to Barnes & Noble's more than 750,000 in-stock titles, barnesandnoble.com has the largest standing inventory of any online bookseller ready for immediate delivery. The URL http://www.bn.com/ makes the site easy to find.
The barnesandnoble.com affiliate network has more than 228,000 members, and the company maintains strategic alliances with major Web portals and content sites, such as AOL, Lycos and MSN TM . The company is also a leader in business-to-business e-commerce with its unique Business Solutions program.
About Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble operates 528 Barnes & Noble and 444 B. Dalton bookstores, and Babbage's Etc., one of the nation's largest operators of video game and entertainment software stores. Barnes & Noble stores stock an authoritative selection of book titles and provide access to more than 1 million titles. They offer books from more than 50,000 publisher imprints with an emphasis on small, independent publishers and university presses. Barnes & Noble is one of the world's largest booksellers on the World Wide Web ( http://www.bn.com/ ), and the exclusive bookseller on America Online. Barnes & Noble also publishes books under its own imprint for exclusive sale through its retail stores, mail-order catalogs, and Web site.
General financial information on Barnes & Noble Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company's investor relations Web site: http://www.shareholder.com/bks/ .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.
Microsoft, ClearType, Windows and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
This release may contain forward-looking statements regarding expectations of the companies. These statements are based on currently available information and represent the beliefs of the management of the companies. The future events that are the subject of such statements are subject to certain risks, including those set forth in barnesandnoble.com's form S-1 on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the annual, quarterly and periodic reports of the companies on file with the SEC.
When: Thursday, Jan. 6, 2000, 7:30-8:30 a.m. PST
Where: Las Vegas Hilton Hotel, Rooms 2 and 3, or (800) 280-1337 (U.S. only)
Note: A playback of the conference will be available through 6 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 8, 2000, at (800) 938-1886 and (402) 220-2629 (PIN code 1505).
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