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Best Buy hooks up with Nook

With the Apple iPad now complicating the e-reading fray, Barnes & Noble establishes a new retail foothold via the big electronics chain.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble's Nook e-book reader will be getting wider exposure via Best Buy stores.

The Nook is due to be available to consumers at Best Buy retail outlets in the U.S. starting April 18, along with accessories such as covers and screen protectors, and free BN eReader software, the two companies said Monday.

The broader retail campaign comes hot on the heels of the Apple iPad going on sale amid intense media coverage and strong consumer interest. Not a dedicated e-reader like the Nook or Amazon's Kindle, the iPad tablet still promises to give people yet another option for reading digital books and magazines. (Amazon, for instance, has cooked up an iPad version of its Kindle app.)

Interested buyers can pick up a Nook directly or purchase a Barnes & Noble e-book gift card at any of Best Buy's 1,070 stores or at its Web site. The free BN eReader software will also be installed and ready to try on various PCs, tablets, and smartphones.

"To date, we've limited Nook distribution to Barnes & Noble retail and online stores and the customer response to our eBook Reader has exceeded our expectations. We have enormous respect for the Best Buy organization and its focus on providing technology solutions for millions of customers," said Kevin Frain, executive vice president of e-commerce at Barnes &, in a statement. "Through this partnership, Best Buy customers will now have new and easy ways to access our expansive digital library on a variety of computing and mobile devices through BN eReader software and the Barnes & Noble eBookstore."

Barnes & Noble unveiled the Nook late last year. After a bumpy start due to hot demand and limited supply, the Nook has received decent reviews. But the device initially was dinged for various bugs and kinks, which Barnes & Noble has tried to fix through software updates.