Last week's announcement by Ingram that it had acquired Vital Source Technologies overshadowed some behind-the-scenes maneuvering at a couple of big players in the e-book market. As of this month, Amazon has stopped using Ingram's Lightning Source division as its main e-book supplier in favor of Mobipocket. Amazon acquired the French e-book company last year, but the move to make Mobi "the format of choice" for Amazon's customers is the e-tailer's first significant indication of its plans for the company. Mobi's software can run e-books on all handheld devices and Mobi has the ability to offer more e-books on more platforms, noted Amazon's Sean Sundwall. "We remain committed to e-books," Sundwall said.

In an e-mail to its e-book clients, Ingram said that it, too, remains committed to the e-book market, despite the loss of Amazon, which accounted for a "significant" portion of its e-book business. Ingram is moving the management of e-books from its Lightning Source division to Ingram Digital Ventures, a unit formed last year to explore digital opportunities. IDV, wrote the company's Andrew Weinstein in the e-mail, "will be working to develop future digital businesses, including new types of content, delivery platforms and other evolving markets."

Responsibility for developing those different electronic capabilites will fall in part to Vital Source, which will become part of IDV. Vital Source develops software that allows publishers to publish book content in a variety of electronic formats. Vital Source will remain in Raleigh, N.C., under the direction of Frank Daniels III, who founded the company in 1994. Daniels noted that Vital Source works with 43 publishers, primarily in the professional and educational markets, to develop electronic products. Although Vital Source licenses some material from publishers that it publishes electronically through such products as its Vital Source Bookshelf, the majority of its business is generated by licensing its software to publishers, Daniels said.