Rumor on The Street has book retailer Barnes & Noble getting ready to release their own electronic e-book reader to compete with Amazon’s Kindle. B&N is supposedly one of the companies that Verizon recently admitted they were talking to about providing a 3G network for e-book distribution similar to the Kindle’s WhisperNet.
This rumor takes on a fair bit of substance when you add in B&N’s recent acquisition of Fictionwise. Fictionwise is the online e-book retailer behind their own and the eReader brands. B&N thus has a complete eco-system for producing an electronic e-book reader and selling e-books in competition to Amazon. While Fictionwise’s e-book inventory is not as big as Amazon’s, B&N now has tens of thousands of e-books “in stock” should they launch a reader. I’d say this particular rumor has lots of legs underneath it, and I can’t wait to see an eReader device.