Barnes&Noble Inc. and European book manufacturer CPI have announced a strategic partnership in which CPI has acquired B&N's Philippine e-book conversion company, EPVI, and will supply back-office services for B&N and Barnes& in connection with the recently announced Barnes&Noble Digital e-book initiative.

Manila-based EPVI specializes in converting printed books and publishers' production files into electronic books. Michael Fragnito, v-p and publisher of B&N Digital, indicated that the move was in line with's recent downsizing. "It's hard enough to launch one company in a new technology area," he noted. "We didn't want to try to run another company, literally on the other side of the world. What we really needed was the guarantee of quality and service."

CPI, with annual sales of $500 million and daily production of nearly two million books, is one of Europe's leading manufacturers, and also has publishing subsidiaries. The company has in recent years expanded its services to include print-on-demand, and is looking to include e-books in its "total life cycle" service for titles, from first galleys to backlist storage and fulfillment.