Barnes & Noble has decided to reach beyond of its own retail empire to sell the Nook, its branded e-book reader, and will begin making the device available to Best Buy. The Nook was released late last year and made a moderate splash in a Christmas season where it was the only hot new gadget in the e-book market. It hasn't really made a big dent against the big players in Amazon and Sony, and especially now with the iPad. It has a built-in advantage with its immediate in-store presence at its nearly 800 brick-and-mortar locations.
Barnes & Noble has already expanded its e-book presence by offering the Nook's digital book storefront and software to the iPad, and now it is taking another step by bringing the device itself to a new retail outlet. "Through this partnership, Best Buy customers will now have new and easy ways to access our expansive digital library on a variety of computing and mobile devices through BN eReader software and the Barnes & Noble eBookstore," said B&N's executive VP of e-commerce Kevin Frain. It gives Barnes & Noble a bigger headache as it now has to play the part as its own distributor and account for external sales, an issue that Amazon has strictly sought to avoid with the Kindle. Regardless, it does bring the device to more than a thousand new stores and gives it a bigger e-tail presence on BestBuy.com as well. The Nook will be available at Best Buy stores across the country on April 18. It will carry the same $259 price tag that it does at B&N.