Barnes & Noble Inc will sell its Nook electronic-book reader at Best Buy Co Inc, expanding distribution as it faces growing competition with the entry of Apple Inc's iPad
The deal will put the USD 259.99 Nook in Best Buy's 1,070 stores beginning on April 18. Best Buy will be the first and only chain to carry the device other than Barnes & Noble, the largest
The exclusive deal calls for Best Buy to also include Barnes & Noble's BN eReader software on some of the personal computers and smartphones it sells. Currently, the Nook is available at Barnes & Noble's website and 723 bookstores.
The deal with Best Buy will greatly increase the Nook's availability and ability to compete with the recently launched iPad, a portable computing and entertainment system that also functions as an e-reader and is sold at Best Buy in addition to Apple stores.
Along with the iPad and the Nook, Best Buy also sells Sony Corp's Reader. The other major player in the e-reader wars, online retailer Amazon.com Inc, sells its market-leading Kindle on its own web site.
"This partnership provides them (Barnes & Noble) with an additional distribution channel, which is critical to driving sales of the Nook," said Michael Souers, an analyst with Standard & Poor's Equity Research.
Souers, who maintained his sell recommendation on the stock but raised his price target to USD 19, said that the sale of the eReader software was the more important part of the deal because it would spur sales by increasing the number of devices on which Barnes & Noble's e-bookstore is available.
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