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Barnes & Noble Nook app launches globally

Barnes & Noble has released its Nook app for Windows 8 in 31 countries outside the US.

Barnes & Noble has released its Nook app for Windows 8 in 31 countries outside the US.

(Screenshot by Michelle Starr/CNET Australia)

In a market that sees the increasing adoption of ebooks and e-readers, Barnes & Noble — the US's second-largest ebook retailer — has up to this point has remained firm in being available exclusively to US residents. That changed this week, with the launch of the Nook app in 31 countries outside the US; including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, France and the UK.

The app is available only for PCs and tablets running Windows 8.1 and is free from the Windows Store, It offers books, free book samples, newspapers, magazines and comics from Barnes & Noble, and users can sign in using either a Barnes & Noble account or a Microsoft account. You can also import your own Epub and PDF files into the app.

"Nook is committed to bringing its best-in-class digital reading experience to millions of new customers around the world, providing readers with a strong and proven alternative to what's currently available in their areas," Barnes & Noble S.à.r.l managing director Jim Hilt said in a statement. "Nook is one of the leading digital reading platforms in the US and UK and we are confident that new customers across the globe will love our immersive discovery, shopping and reading experience through our highly rated Nook App for Windows 8.1."

At this point in time, it's absolutely exclusive to Windows — which makes sense considering the Microsoft-Barnes & Noble joint venture launched last year. We hope this means Australia may see the introduction of Barnes & Noble's Nook e-readers somewhere down the line. However, we suspect the app's arrival is thanks only to Microsoft's involvement — and therefore the e-readers are unlikely to materialise any time soon.

What was curious was the omission of any mention of Windows phone compatibility — perhaps it could be that the app is optimised for a larger screen. If you have a Windows phone you might be able to download it anyway. Pick it up here and see how you go.