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LibreDigital, an Austin-based startup that supplies technology to deliver e-books from publishers to readers’ gadgets, announced an $8.1 million Series C round of funding led by S3 Ventures. Previous investors Adams Capital Management and Triangle Peak Partners also joined the round.

LibreDigital’s clients include HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, Wiley, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Their client list includes six of America’s top 10 book publishers. LibreDigital delivers its technology as a service, rather than requiring publishers to configure servers and install and maintain software themselves.

Last year, LibreDigital chairman Martin Neath (he’s a partner at Adams) claimed the market for e-books and similar electronic editions of printed materials will exceed $2 billion by 2012.

Apple’s iPad hasn’t brought the hoped-for explosive rebirth of the publishing industry, but that doesn’t mean electronic publishing of books and newspapers is a failure. Like SMS and ringtones in America, it will probably grow slowly over the next few years. Why do publishers presume this? Because as VentureBeat readers know, the current publishing industry crisis has more to do with advertisers cutting their spending than with people reading stuff free on the Internet. It’s a given that e-readers will grow. Who pays who for what still needs to be worked out.

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