Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader
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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.