Random House closes an e-book chapter

The publisher scraps its e-book imprint, AtRandom, but says it will continue to make e-books and publish them under its better-known imprints.

In a blow to the electronic-book format, Random House is folding its e-book imprint, AtRandom.

The move will abolish the AtRandom name and logo, which often adorned the paperback versions of material first published as e-books. But Random House said the move is mostly symbolic; it will continue to make e-books and publish the material under its better-known imprints.

A representative for Random House said Friday that it also will continue to publish titles simultaneously in paper and electronic formats. But the company will phase out the AtRandom page on its Web site as new titles migrate to other imprints.

Random House, owned by German media company Bertelsmann, has been tweaking its approach over the past year. It has worked to cater to niche markets as it became apparent that the interest in e-books wasn't as big as the publisher had expected.

Random House's electronic efforts have been helped by its long offline publishing history. Smaller players in the e-book market, such as Audiohighway.com and Bookface.com have filed for bankruptcy or ceased operations.

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