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Rumor: Barnes & Noble preparing e-book reader

updated 06:50 pm EDT, Wed April 8, 2009

Barnes and Noble ebooks

Barnes & Noble is allegedly working on an e-book reader to compete with products such as Amazon's Kindle, according to If true, the device could provide the company with fresh entry into the expanding market for specialized products with integrated wireless connectivity. The unnamed insider claimed the bookstore chain has decided to partner with Sprint, after unsuccessful attempts at talks with Verizon.

Citi Investment Research analyst Mark Mahaney predicted that the Kindle reader could drive revenue past $1 billion by 2010, or four percent of Amazon's entire sales. The company has already released an updated version, the Kindle 2, which offers a thinner housing and text-to-speech functionality.

Barnes & Noble previously attempted to capitalize on the e-book market, although the partnership with Microsoft and Adobe ended in 2003 as a result of lackluster sales numbers. The company recently acquired Fictionwise, however, which could serve as a portal for content purchases from a mobile device.

E-book readers represented one of the prevailing themes at the CTIA expo held earlier this month. Verizon announced collaboration with several manufacturers to provide wireless data for the mobile book readers. An executive claimed that five such companies had approached the carrier. AT&T referenced similar talks, including prospects of a device that would work internationally.

The details of a Barnes & Noble e-book reader remain unknown. The company has not yet announced a carrier, leaving the Sprint rumor unconfirmed.

by MacNN Staff



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