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Behind the Words at BN.com

Barnes and Noble.com (BN) announced the launch of a new streaming video series, Behind the Words, on BNTV. The series will feature interviews with both new and established authors and a new interview will be posted to the BN (www.bn.com), site every Monday through Friday. The series premieres with Anne Rice speaking about her new work, 'Merrick'.

BNTV was originally launched on BN in June 2000, as a new programming concept with three-minute short films called, bookVideos. The bookVideo's were experimental interpretation of books created by filmmakers. According to Dominic Schmitt, VP of product development for BN, the company has used streaming video as another way to connect readers with authors and extend the BN brand. Schmitt indicated that BNTV is exploring the option of syndicating its original programming to affiliates and strategic partners.

The streaming video is currently only available through RealPlayer; however, Schmitt stated there are plans to include the Window Media Format in the near future.

BN has made use of streaming audio since February 2000 with B&N Radio, featuring full-length songs and excerpts from audio books.

The use of streaming can be seen as a method of differentiating the user's experience on BN from that of its rival, Amazon.com. In related news, Amazon has announced the launch of a new electronic bookstore that offers ebook titles in Microsoft Reader format. They are also featuring links to downloadable digital audio titles from Audible.com. Audible has 15,000 digital audio titles ready for download or streaming in several formats compatible with RealPlayer and Windows Media, as well as several portable devices.

BN opened its eBookStore in August supporting three formats of eBooks: Microsoft Reader, Rocket eBook and Glassbook.

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