Barnes & Noble Launches Electronic Bookstore

A year ago, it wasn't even clear that traditional book retailer Barnes & Noble had an e-book plan. But, over the past few months, the company has picked up several small e-book companies, and on Monday it announced the end results of its efforts: dedicated readers for phone and desktop platforms, an exclusive deal with an upcoming portable reader, and a massive library of over 700,000 books, most of them free. Despite the impressive numbers, B&N is still playing catch up with Amazon in a number of areas, Ars Technica reports.

Meanwhile, after Amazon had a tough time last week with a pair of Kindle-related public relations snafus, it stood to reason things might be on an upswing for Amazon and its Kindle good cheer this week. Not so, it appears: not only is Amazon still dealing with the fallout surrounding a lawsuit over cracked Kindle screens and frenzy over its redaction of George Orwell's 1984, but it's now in the cross hairs of yet another competitor: Barnes & Noble and its new eBookstore.

Barnes & Noble's eBookstore push probably couldn't have come at a more opportune moment. While no one would dare count Amazon's mighty book retailing establishment or the Kindle out too soon, Barnes & Noble's venture, which is both an e-bookstore and a partnership with would-be Kindle rival Plastic Logic, represents some of the first really significant competition Amazon's had since the debut of the Kindle 2 back in February and the upswing in consumer and tech observer interest in all things e-book , ChannelWeb reports.

However, shares in Barnes & Noble Inc. slipped Tuesday as the bookseller's plans for a new electronic bookstore received a tepid response from investors and analysts.

Barnes & Noble announced late Monday that it is launching an electronic bookstore that will allow customers to buy books to be read on a variety of handheld devices and computers. The move is seen as a challenge to competitors like Inc., which has led the e-book market with its support of the Kindle reader, The Associated Press reports.