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Barnesandnoble.com IPO up 27 percent

Shares in the online bookseller close up nearly 5 points on their first day of trading.

Shares of Barnesandnoble.com today jumped more than 27 percent on their first day of trading after pricing at 18 late yesterday.

Shares in the online bookstore began trading under the ticker symbol "BNBN," advancing 4.9375 to close at 22.9375. Earlier, shares touched 25.

Barnesandnoble.com first raised its pricing range by a lofty 42 percent yesterday morning, then set its initial public offering target price at the high end of the range later in the day.

The company raised $450 million by floating out 25 million shares.

Like several other hot Internet IPOs of late, Barnesandnoble.com raised its pricing range by a healthy margin from its initial range. Yesterday, the company raised the range to 16 to 18 a share, up from its initial range of 11 to 13.

Last week, eToys priced at the high-end of its range, after it increased to 18 to 20 per share from an initial 10 to 12 range. iVillage in March nearly doubled its pricing range to 22 to 24 a share, from its initial range of 12 to 14.

Barnesandnoble.com launched its IPO as Amazon.com continues to dominate the online retail market. While Barnesandnoble.com reported $32 million worth of sales in the first quarter of this year, Amazon had net sales of some $294 million. The two companies lost $20 million and $62 million, respectively.

E-commerce analyst Jack Staff of Zona Research had said Amazon's continued losses and its expansion into music, videos and other areas opens the door for other competitors. Staff said the day will soon come when books will be distributed not in the physical form of paper and ink but in the virtual form of zeroes and ones of computer language. That shift may shake up the dynamics of the online book market.

"It's a big space and there's obviously people that think they can get into it," Staff said.

But International Data Corporation analyst Barry Parr said that Barnesandnoble.com has yet to establish itself as a true competitor to Amazon. Although the company's IPO might give it some the "monopoly money" it needs to compete with Amazon, Parr questioned Barnesandnoble.com's ability to capitalize.

Calling it "defensive," Parr said Barnesandnoble.com's Web strategy is basically to copy what Amazon is doing.

"I don't really get the sense that they know why they are doing it," Parr said. "That's almost always a recipe for disaster."

For its part, Amazon is focused on "its customers, not competitors," said company spokesman Bill Curry. But Curry added that Amazon believes there will be "thousands" of winners in e-commerce and it will face a number of successful competitors.

"Clearly there will be more than one successful brand in each product line."

CNET News.com's Melanie Austria-Farmer contributed to this report.