Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) couldn’t supply its own stores with the Nook at launch; now it has enough supply to sell the $259 e-reader at best Buy stores and BestBuy.com starting April 18. But that’s only part of the deal. In a move that may be far more important to Barnes & Noble over time, Best Buy will feature the BN eReader software/app on PCs (not all), netbooks, tablets and smartphones through its stores and its Geek Squad. That extends the BN platform — and its companion Barnes & Noble eBookstore. The possible downside: it will go unused on many of those devices. People who seek it out are more likely spenders.
Best Buy promises prominent play for The Nook, accessories and gift cards in its stores along with a kiosk where trained Blue Shirts will walk demo for customers. Hope it comes off better than the Sony (NYSE: SNE) display, which looks like a deserted island in the Best Buy I frequent most.
Update: Best Buy is selling three brands of e-readers online: several Sony models, the Nook and the IRex. The first two are in store as well but the IRex missed its slot when it couldn’t deliver in time for the holidays and has been online only since its actual launch in February. The Nook comes in at $259 compared with $399 for the highest-end and most comparable SonyReader, the Daily Digital Edition, and for the IRex. The higher price is due to the latter two’s larger size; the Nook is more like a paperback.