Barnes & Noble plans to release an e-reader application for Apple's upcoming iPad tablet PC, suggesting that the bookseller has truly embraced a strategy of porting its e-reader brand onto as many screens as possible even as its own device, the Nook, prepares to compete directly against the iPad. Both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble stand to be substantially affected by the iPad's presence in the market, as Apple has highlighted its device's use as an e-reader and has reportedly been negotiating with publishers for content.
Barnes & Noble will release an e-reader application specifically for
Apple's upcoming iPad, said an executive posting on the bookseller's official
blog. Paul Hochman, manager of content and social media at BarnesandNoble.com,
wrote March 11 on the company's Unbound:
Nook and BN eReader blog:
"Designed specifically for the
iPad, our new B&N eReader will give our customers access to more than one
million eBooks, magazines and newspapers in the Barnes & Noble eBookstore,
as well as the existing content in their Barnes & Noble digital library.
To be released around the time of the
iPad's expected availability, the new Barnes & Noble eReader will join our
growing list of free eReader software for most computing and mobile
Despite releasing proprietary e-reader devices, both Barnes & Noble and
Amazon.com have issued several applications for various platforms, including
PCs and the Apple iPhone, that allow users to download and read e-books on
different screens. Apple's iPad, due for release on April 3, presents both
companies with the prospect of a hardy competitor in a market that is rapidly
filling with devices from smaller manufacturers looking for their own slice of
For its part, Amazon.com
has reacted to the prospect of an Apple tablet PC
with a variety of
initiatives, including an SDK (software development kit) that developers can
use to build mobile applications that make use of Amazon.com's Kindle
e-readers' 3G wireless delivery and high-resolution e-ink display. In February,
Amazon.com also reportedly acquired Touchco, a startup specializing in
multitouch technology, raising the prospect that the next version of the Kindle
will feature some sort of touch screen. Many of the e-readers coming onto the
market, including Barnes & Noble's Nook, already include some kind of multitouch
interface for navigation and book downloading.
The prospect of Apple entering the e-reader space has also had a substantial
effect in the past few weeks on book publishers, some of which have decided
that the arrival of a new device on the market is the perfect time to challenge
the existing paradigm, particularly when it comes to price. Amazon.com
experienced its own version of this sudden publishing-house verve when
Macmillan, publisher of bestsellers such as "Wolf Hall," pushed to
raise the prices of e-books into the $12.99-to-$14.99 range from the previous
$9.99 price point. In response, Amazon.com temporarily pulled the publisher's
titles from its online store.
At the time, however, Amazon.com also acknowledged that such price changes
are likely the way of the future.
"We will have to capitulate and accept Macmillan's terms because
Macmillan has a monopoly over their own titles, and we will want to offer them
to you even at prices we believe are needlessly high for e-books," the
online retailer wrote in a Jan. 31 statement. "Amazon customers will at
that point decide for themselves whether they believe it's reasonable to pay
$14.99 for a bestselling book."
Apple is reportedly engaged in a number of deals with book publishers and
studios for content, placing booksellers such as Amazon.com and Barnes &
Noble in a position where they will feel compelled to match these agreements'
terms in order to prevent the iPad and its related ecosystem from penetrating
too far into the e-reader space.
has already begun showing ads for the iPad:
A 30-second television spot
highlights the tablet PC's multiple uses as a media player, e-reader, scheduler
and e-mail platform. Around 150,000 applications will be available for the iPad
upon its release, according to the Apple Website, a slight rise from the
140,000 predicted during the device's Jan. 27 product unveiling. One of those
applications will be from Barnes & Noble; Amazon.com has not yet announced
plans for a similar iPad-ready Kindle application. According to the Kindle
a Kindle for Mac application is "coming soon."