Found via an email from Ed Howdershelt to the Ebook Community Mailing List: the swan song for e-book stores Fictionwise, eReader, and eBookwise. Barnes & Noble has emailed Fictionwise publishers and authors that it is shuttering the long-running e-book stores and will be offering US and UK customers the opportunity to migrate their e-book purchases from said sites to a Barnes & Noble Nook library. (Complete letter pasted below the jump.)

It’s really kind of sad: eReader (nee Palm Digital Media, nee Peanut Press) and Fictionwise were two of the first really big e-book stores, feeding the e-book habits of early adopters like me back in the days when nobody expected e-books to amount to anything. They hitched their wagons first to Palm and then to the iPhone/iPod, and perhaps laid the groundwork for the Kindle and Nook revolution to come.

But in a sense, this news has been a long time coming, because Fictionwise and eReader have basically been ghosts of their former selves ever since Barnes & Noble bought them. I remember the days when the Pendergrasts used to be frequent participants in discussions here, and at one point one of them even called me to let me know some great new developments in store for the future (including a Linux eReader client that died on the vine after B&N bought them). But they’ve said nary a word here in years, presumably because B&N wouldn’t let them. (Are they even still with B&N? B&N’s letter is signed “Daniel Jorissen and The Fictionwise Team,” which makes me wonder.) The death of Fictionwise’s Buywise discount program to agency pricing was just the icing on the cake.

On the bright side, at least the (US and UK) people who bought books there (supposedly) won’t lose them, with B&N migrating them to its Nook platform. (Will this include titles like Jerry Ahern’s Survivalist series and others that the companies haven’t sold in years but keep available for download by people who bought them?) That’s nice of them. With reader apps available for many platforms, B&N will at least give those customers continued access to the books they bought. And that’s a good thing.

Original letter follows:

November 15, 2012

Dear Fictionwise Publisher/Author,

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.

This letter is to notify you that Fictionwise will wind down its operations on
December 4, 2012. The Fictionwise sites (including Fictionwise.com, eReader.com
and eBookwise.com) will end sales on December 4, 2012 and U.S. Fictionwise
customers will cease to have access to their Fictionwise Bookshelf through the
site after December 21, 2012. Customers outside the U.S. will cease to have
access to their Fictionwise Bookshelf through the site after January 31, 2013.
Fictionwise customers will be notified of this and U.S. and U.K. customers will
be given an opportunity to move their customer accounts, including their eBooks
purchased at the Fictionwise websites, to a Barnes & Noble NOOK Library.

Pursuant to section 2 of the agreement between Fictionwise and you, we hereby
provide you with ninety (90) days notice that this agreement will terminate
effective February 13th. Your final 4th quarter royalty statement and payment
will be mailed February 15th.

If you are not already selling your titles at BN.com and would like to do so,
please visit www.pubit.com.

We greatly appreciate your support of Fictionwise over the years. Together, we
pioneered eBooks and eReading.

Thank you,
Daniel Jorissen and The Fictionwise Team