Beginning on April 18, more than 1,000 Best Buy outlets around the country will begin selling the Nook, Barnes & Noble's hot-selling – and somewhat critically unloved – e-reading device. In a press statement, Barnes & Noble executive VP Kevin Frain said sales of the Nook had "exceeded our expectations," and argued that the "loyal consumer electronics-focused audience" at Best Buy would eat up the Nook.
It's no major secret that Barnes & Noble is under increased pressure from the Apple iPad, which hit shelves earlier this month. The iPad plays movies and TV shows and all sorts of apps, but it's also being marketed as a next-gen e-reader – one that almost certainly has more sizzle than the Nook. By selling the $260 Nook at Best Buy, Barnes & Noble is expanding the reach of its e-reading arm, and possibly fighting off inroads from the iPad.
Barnes & Noble continues to ratchet up its e-book initiatives as more and more Americans embrace e-reading devices. (For more perspective, check out our coverage of the e-book revolution.) According to Reuters, holiday sales at brick and mortar Barnes & Noble outlets fell 5.5 percent year-over-year. By comparison, online sales at the Barnes & Noble website grew by 32 percent.
The Barnes & Noble and Best Buy partnership has generally been greeted favorably by bloggers, investors (Best Buy and Barnes & Noble stocks were up today), and even by the manufacturers of competing devices.
“It’s another example of the growing consumer interest in digital reading and dedicated reading devices,” Steve Haber, President of Sony’s Digital Reading Division, said earlier today. “We’re used to retail competition. The [Sony] Reader family can be found in over 10,000 retail stores across the country [including Best Buys] and we welcome the chance for our products to be touched and compared side-by-side those of our competitors.”