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Barnes & Noble set to challenge the Amazon Kindle

The bookseller declined to confirm rumors of a new e-reader, but the Internet was abuzz with speculation nonetheless.

By Matthew Shaer / October 9, 2009



Just a month before the holiday shopping season really kicks off, a new rumor has caught the attention of bibliophiles the world over. According to the Wall Street Journal, Barnes & Noble is prepping an e-reader, which would go head to head with Amazon's popular Kindle machine.

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What kind of system will this hypothetical reader run? Google’s Android OS, say the smart folks over at Gizmodo. So let's run through this equation again: A Kindle-killer, running a top-of-the-line OS, manufactured by the largest bookstore chain in the US.

Fantastic. But are the rumors true? Who knows. Barnes & Noble, for its part, is staying mum. "We have made no announcement about an electronic reader…We believe readers should have access to books in their digital library from any device, anywhere and anytime," a spokesman told Reuters.

This wouldn't be the first step into the digital market for Barnes & Noble. In July, the company announced it would create an electronic bookstore to sell more than 700,000 titles. The e-books are compatible with Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch, BlackBerry smartphones, and the Plastic Logic eReader, among other devices.

“Today marks the first phase of our digital strategy, which is rooted in the belief that readers should have access to the books in their digital library from any device, from anywhere, at any time,” William J. Lynch, president of BN.com, said at the time.

By the end of 2009, Barnes & Noble hopes to offer more than 1 million e-books and include every title currently made available in digital form. By comparison, Amazon sells over 300,000 digital titles for the Kindle.

So what you think? Does Barnes & Noble have a shot? You can weigh in down in the comments section, or you can drop us a line at Twitter. Find us @CSMHorizonsBlog.

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