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10/27/2009
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Barnes & Noble To Sell Plastic Logic eReader

The high-end device will fill out Amazon's upcoming product line, to compete with Amazon's Kindle.

Plastic Logic QUE
(click image for larger view)
Plastic Logic QUE

Barnes & Noble on Tuesday said it will resell Plastic Logic's e-book reader, rounding out the bookseller's upcoming products to compete with rival Amazon's Kindle line.

Plastic Logic's QUE, set to debut Jan. 7 at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nev., will compete with Amazon's Kindle DX. Both e-readers have 10-inch electronic paper displays from E Ink and are built to appeal to professionals.

B&N announced last week that it will start shipping its own e-reader, called the Nook, at the end of November. The device, which has a six-inch display, is the same size and price as the standard version of Amazon's Kindle. Both devices cost $259.

As a result of the Plastic Logic deal, B&N will be able to match both of Amazon's offerings. The agreement also marks an expansion of the relationship between Plastic Logic and B&N, which agreed earlier to run the QUE's online e-book store.

B&N plans to offer the QUE in its more than 700 retail outlets alongside the Nook. The company will also sell the QUE through B&N's online store, which will likely have more than 1 million e-books for sale when the Nook is released. Amazon, an online-only retailer, has roughly a third of the inventory of B&N.

Plastic Logic has not said how much the QUE will cost. Amazon sells the Kindle DX for $489.

Because of their high price, e-readers in general fill a niche in the consumer and professional market, analysts say. They appeal mostly to avid readers and travelers who prefer a less cumbersome alternative to carrying books, magazines, newspapers and documents.

Amazon is the current market leader, accounting for 60% of e-readers sold, according to Forrester Research. Sony's Reader is a distant second.

The market, however, is young, leaving opportunity for other device manufacturers. Forrester expects e-reader sales this year to reach 3 million units, rising to more than 6 million units next year.

InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on application delivery. Download the report here (registration required).

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