April 28, 2009

Amazon Strengthens Hold On E-Book Market With Acquisition Of Lexcycle

Amazon, the maker of the Kindle e-book reader, is reaffirming its presence in the electronic book market with the purchase of Lexcycle, a year-old company that makes the iPhone e-book application Stanza, The Associated Press reported.

The Stanza software uses the "epub" format "” an open standard supported by the International Digital Publishing Forum that many publishers use to create e-book files.

But while Amazon.com's Kindle does not support the format, Sony's competing Reader device does.

However, Stanza is a popular e-book reader for users of Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices, allowing users to download more than 100,000 books and periodicals to their phones. Users can also read e-books on their personal computers with Stanza desktop.

Over one million users downloaded Stanza between mid-July and Dec. 31, according to Lexcycle.

The Kindle electronic reading device was introduced in late 2007. Amazon recently launched the latest version of its $359 e-book device, Kindle 2 in February of this year.

E-book readers now have access to more than 270,000 books and other reading material through the company's online Kindle Store. Also available for purchase on Amazon.com are the recently rolled out free Kindle functions to iPhone and iPod Touch, which allow users to read the same electronic books featured on the Kindle.

But only Stanza's iPhone app has an e-book purchasing feature. Users can access the Web browser on the iPhone, iPod or computer to purchase books.

Lexcycle founder Marc Prud'hommeaux in a statement on his company blog: "It has been an amazing experience to see Stanza grow out of our brainstormed ideas into one of the most downloaded iPhone applications."

He added that the company was not planning any changes in the Stanza application or user experience as a result of the acquisition.

Founded in early 2008, Lexcycle has offices in Austin, Texas and Portland, Ore.

Neither Amazon nor Lexcycle have yet to comment on or release the financial terms of the deal.


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