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Barnes & Noble opens new chapter with iPhone app

The B&N Bookstore app lets you browse books from a photo, read about new releases, and watch videos of author interviews.

B&N iPhone app
The B&N Bookstore app lets you read book reviews.
Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble has joined the iPhone app generation. The world's largest bookstore announced on Monday its B&N Bookstore app, which is available for both the iPhone and iPod Touch. Among other things, users can browse books and reviews, and find store event information.

One of the first big brick-and-mortar retailers to create an iPhone app, Barnes & Noble partnered with LinkMe Mobile and Spotlight Mobile to design phone-friendly features.

One of them lets users snap a photo of a book cover, which then links to more information about the book. Although this seems a bit redundant--since to take a photo of a book you'll have to have it in hand--it could prove helpful in quickly scanning a friend's book collection and later reading reviews, synopses, and the like. Yes, you could do that with a Google search, but a photo couldn't hurt, right?

The app also includes a store locator, recommendations on other books that might appeal, a store events calendar, online purchasing, and video clips of interviews with authors.

Other apps for bookworms include Amazon Mobile, which lets users search, shop and read reviews; SnapTell, which, like the B&N Bookstore app, lets users take a picture of a book cover and get information on the book; and BookBargin, which compares prices of books at different online stores. These apps and the B&N Bookstore app are free.

Barnes & Noble's president, William Lynch, said the company decided to create an app based on an increase in the store's mobile traffic.