Nook e-reader goes on sale at Best Buy Sunday

Barnes & Noble seeks wider distribution to take on Apple iPad, other devices

The Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader and accessories will be available at Best Buy retail stores starting Sunday, April 18, the companies jointly announced yesterday.

The deal expands distribution of the $260 e-reader to 1,070 Best Buy stores and the retailer's Web site. Barnes & Noble has been selling the Nook at its 723 retail bookstores and 600-plus college bookstores since last December.

Analysts said Barnes & Noble needed to find new distribution paths for the e-reader to keep up with a changing market.

Though still dominated by the Amazon Kindle e-reader, the market is expanding rapidly. Apple Inc.'s iPad is already a force less than two weeks after it started shipping and a variety of e-readers and tablets set to hit the market later this year, many with color screens.

Nonetheless, Kevin Frain, executive president of e-commerce at Barnes & Noble.com, said customer response to the Nook has so far "exceeded our expectations."

In addition to prominently featuring the Nook at Best Buy stores, the retailer will feature the Barnes & Noble free e-reader on select laptops, desktops, netbooks, tablets and smartphones sold there.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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