Home > Publishing, Reading, Tech > The plot thickens: Barnes & Noble preparing e-reader for iPad

The plot thickens: Barnes & Noble preparing e-reader for iPad

Barnes & Noble, which already has e-reader apps for various platforms, including the iPhone, announced on its blog yesterday that it is preparing to roll out an app designed for the forthcoming iPad. On the surface, this might seem counterintuitive. Could the bookseller be surrendering, and acknowledging that Nook, its own e-reader, isn’t doing too well?

But here’s why it makes a lot of sense: Like the rest of us, B&N has heard and seen and felt the hype. Apple’s iPad is coming — the day before Easter! — and despite its apparent shortcomings, people are going to buy it. And B&N could crawl under a hole with a Nook and pretend the iPad doesn’t exist, or it could sell books on the thing and make money. In the nascent e-reader world, it’s probably smart not to put all your books in one basket — unless you were there first, like Amazon, or you have a cult-like following, like Apple.

What remains to be seen is whether notoriously prickly Apple will like the idea of a competitor making it easy for iPad users to choose where they buy their e-books. Just ask Palm: When the Palm Pre first rolled out with the ability to download songs from iTunes, Apple updated iTunes so it couldn’t sync with the Pre. When Pre engineers fixed the “bug,” Apple blocked it again. And again. It’s entirely possible Apple won’t play nice with Barnes & Noble and its e-reader app for the iPad.

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