Finally, Barnes & Noble returns to e-books

After watching Amazon completely remake the digital-book sector with its Kindle e-reader, Barnes & Noble is trying to get back into the game.

As it has for most of the past decade, Barnes & Noble is playing catchup to Amazon. Barnes, the nation's largest brick-and-mortar bookseller said Monday that it has launched its own digital-book store.

Plastic Logic's prototype e-book reader Plastic Logic Limited

The Barnes & Noble eBookstore will enable customers to read the service's digital books on an array of different platforms, including the iPhone, the iPod Touch and BlackBerry smartphones, the company said in a statement.

In addition, Barnes & Noble will be the exclusive digital-book supplier for the upcoming Plastic Logic eReader, which hopes one day to be a competitor of Amazon's Kindle, by far the nation's most popular e-book reader.

But anyone wishing to buy Barnes & Noble's e-books on Plastic Logic's device has got some waiting to do . The device is not scheduled to go on sale until next year.

Amazon has already completed an upgrade of the Kindle.

Still, Barnes & Noble has finally returned to the e-book game in a big way and there's plenty the chain can do to cross market the books from within its more than 700 brick-and-mortar locations.

Barnes & Noble first got into e-books after they sparked a flurry of excitement in 2000 when best-selling author Stephen King experimented with the format. E-books failed to catch with the public, however, largely because there wasn't an easy or useful way to access them. The Kindle helped to change that.

Barnes & Noble ended it's first attempt at selling digital books in September 2003.


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