Barnes & Noble plans to offer its eReader application for the Apple iPad, giving users of the upcoming tablet the option of buying digital books from an online store other than Apple's iBook store.
The B&N software is designed specifically for the iPad, set for release April 3, and will provide access to more than 1 million e-books and periodicals on the bookseller's eBookstore, the company said in its blog. Books purchased for the Nook, B&N's e-book reader, will also be accessible through eReader.
B&N said Thursday it would release the application around the time the iPad is made available. The company currently offers eReader software for Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and Blackberry. B&N plans to update those applications shortly.
With B&N targeting the iPad, rival Amazon is likely to do the same, despite also offering its own e-reader, the Kindle. Hardware aside, both companies have embarked on a strategy of selling e-books on any device.
The approach makes sense given the increasing competition from hardware manufacturers. Apple's iPad and an upcoming tablet from Hewlett-Packard, for example, are designed for reading e-books while also providing other features, such as Web browsing, video playback, and music.
Samsung Electronics is planning to release an e-reader soon, and Dell is reportedly building its own device. Samsung has partnered with B&N, which will open its online store to the Samsung eReader.
Electronic readers offered by B&N, Amazon, Sony, and soon Samsung are devices dedicated to reading e-books using a black and white display from E Ink. While the devices are less expensive then tablets, their limited functionality is likely to limit adoption, unless prices are sufficiently low to attract greater numbers of book lovers, analysts say.
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