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Reports: Barnes & Noble Partnership With Waterstones; New Nook

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Two separate reports published this weekend suggest that Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS) is close to a partnership with UK bookstore chain Waterstones and, perhaps separately, will release a new Nook this spring.

The first article is from Bloomberg. According to ” to a person familiar with the situation,” Barnes & Noble will partner with the UK’s Waterstones to add the Nook to its roughly 300 locations. Barnes & Noble VP digital content Theresa Horner said last month that the company would bring the Nook to the UK “in the not too distant future” and a partnership with Waterstones has been rumored since last year.

The second article is from the New York Times (NYSE: NYT). It reiterates the idea that B&N’s first international stop will be Waterstones, and also reports:

At [Barnes & Noble’s] labs in Silicon Valley last week, engineers were putting final touches on their fifth e-reading device, a product that executives said would be released sometime this spring. (A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to elaborate.)

It’s unclear from those sentences whether the fifth e-reader is related to a Waterstones partnership or is a new device for U.S. audiences. We also don’t know if it’s a dedicated e-reader or a tablet.

Barnes & Noble declined to comment on both reports.