Barnes & Noble on the iPad: What else is new?

Yesterday the news that Barnes & Noble would have an application for the iPad started passing around, making the usual jumps from site to site, from blog to blog and people seemed amazed by it.  It struck me as downright weird that this should amaze anyone.

Barnes & Noble has been on the iPhone forever, as has Amazon and other ebook readers, retailers, publishers, etc.  I’m an avid reader of electronic books and have been since around 2001, when it became practical to be one.  In that time, I’ve read a considerable number of titles, most of them purchased from FictionWise, which is “A Barnes & Noble” company.

A good portion of these titles I read on an old Pocket PC and when I ditched that in favor of an iPod Touch, FictionWise automatically and instantly transferred the titles from the more enlightened publishers into it.  I guess you could say that it really was like magic, borrowing on Steve Jobs’ description for the iPad.  I just downloaded this free piece of software on my brand new iPod and presto!  Tens of books I had purchased previously came pouring into it. (Considering that they take up almost no space you can truly carry a library in your pocket.)

There are several book readers available for the iPhone and that includes at least one from Barnes & Noble (and there might actually be two of them) two from Amazon.  There is Amazon Kindle for iPhone and there is Stanza.  Stanza is developed by Lexcycle, a company that was acquired by Amazon in April 2009 and that is arguably the best eReader application available for the iPhone and iPod.

So, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that Barnes & Noble will support the iPad with a specific application.  They are in the business of selling books.  If they can sell more books, to more people, so much the better.  The fact that they provide their clients with options for reading on their brand device (the Nook), on the iPhone, the iPad, on a PC or a Mac just makes them stand out against other retailers which impose more strict limits on where you can read your books.  The name Apple might come to mind here, but Apple has shown itself to be way smarter than that in the music business and it might yet surprise many in the book business too.

It’s great to know that B&N is moving to be an early player in the iPad space and I hope that Amazon, Lexcycle, Kobo and all the others are right on their heels…

*Published originally at iPad Watcher

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