The Nook, which is a major rival of Amazon.com's Kindle and the Sony Reader, is expected to arrive on Wal-Mart shelves in the United States beginning Oct. 24. The e-reader will be "prominently featured" in the retailer's consumer electronics area, Barnes & Noble said Thursday.
Many Wal-Mart stores will also set up Nook-branded areas where customers can try demonstration models. The world's largest retailer will offer the 3G and Wi-Fi Nook, as well as the Wi-Fi-only model.
"Sales of Nook devices continue to exceed our expectations, and we are thrilled to be able to partner with Wal-Mart," Chris Peifer, VP of digital business development at Barnes & Noble, said in a statement.
Bookseller Barnes & Noble, like Amazon, does not release sales figures for its e-readers. However, their competitors, including Sony, have been pushing to get their devices in third-party retailers in time for the biggest shopping season of the year. Best Buy, the nation's largest consumer electronics maker, will offer the Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader in its stores in time for the holiday season. The Reader is also available through Wal-Mart.
While the three readers have feature differences, they essentially have the same core function, which is to enable people to download books, magazines, and newspapers and read them on a black-and-white, digital display from E Ink. The high-contrast screen is as close as technology gets to actual paper.
As booksellers, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble are focused on getting their devices in the hands of consumers so they can buy content from the vendors' respective stores. Sony, on the other hand, charges more for its e-reader, claiming the quality of the hardware warrants the higher price.