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Barnes & Noble Takes Stake in iUniverse

Leading bookseller Barnes & Noble, Inc. Tuesday expanded its online efforts by investing in publishing portal iUniverse.com, Inc.

iUniverse is a site devoted to writers. It provides a community site for writers to submit manuscripts online, browse books, learn about writing, participate in writers' chat rooms, and have their books marketed, distributed and sold worldwide.

Under terms of the agreement, Barnes & Noble (BKS) will take a 49 percent stake in iUniverse. No financial specifics were disclosed, though the companies said iUniverse titles will be made available through the chain of Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores and will be prominently featured within barnesandnoble.com.

Steve Riggio, vice chairman of Barnes & Noble, said that the investment was made to aid up-and-coming writers.

"This investment is about giving authors with small voices the loudspeakers they need to get their works published and distributed throughout the world," Riggio said. "Just as Barnes & Noble has put books in the hands of more readers, iUniverse.com will allow more authors to publish and distribute their work and make the phrase 'out-of-print' obsolete."

To further help its growth, Richard Tam, iUniverse founder and CEO, said the company has formed alliances with the Authors Guild, Writer's Digest, Ingram Books and Kinko's.

"We're serving notice that the rules in publishing have changed," said Richard Tam, founder and chief executive officer of iUniverse.com. "We now have the capacity to publish 2,000 titles a month, and by next year, we'll publish tens of thousands of titles, making us one of the world's largest publishers."