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Barnes & Noble's Plastic Logic E-Reader to Rival Amazon's

Barnes and Noble just revealed that it's upcoming e-reader is the one from Plastic Logic that we've long heard about. Which means the Kindle may have a decent competitor on the scene.

After all, Plastic Logic's e-reader is the most interesting-looking and sounding one yet—it's design is super-minimalist thanks to its touchscreen, it's supposedly a very slender device indeed, and it has a whopping 8.5 by 11-inch electronic ink display that rivals the Kindle DX's. Its built to support the EPub format, also used by Sony, which is how B&N plans on releasing the texts from its e-bookstore.

plastic logic ebook from Gizmodo on Vimeo.


At this point, B&N's plan becomes clear—the books will be tied to the B&N e-reader, and not downloadable by Kindle or Sony Reader owners. Essentially B&N is trying to set up a closed ecosystem that's a direct rival to Amazon's, and that's based from its bricks and mortar stores and a website, versus Amazon's 100% cloud-based solution. Whether B&N's e-store will incorporate an over-the-air download system, utilizing the in-built 3G chips in the e-reader, like Whispernet isn't clear yet. And it may be a tricky deal to set up given how much trouble Amazon's apparently having trying to expand the service overseas. 

That doesn't mean B&N doesn't have more tricks up its sleeve, however: Its e-bookstore will have over 700,000 titles, more than twice that of Amazon, with best-seller prices at around $10. And the company's pulled off a deal with Google to enable its users to download Google's 500,000 public text library for free too. That means B&N ia offering close to one million more texts than Amazon does to its Kindle users. And they're not just being made available on the Plastic Logic e-reader either—B&N have iPhone, BlackBerry and PC software on the way too. 

All of which makes the story very very interesting indeed—Barnes and Noble really is taking the fight to Amazon with its plans. Since Amazon's credited with stealing much of the custom from bricks and mortar bookstores, it's practically the only way physical bookstores can react. And the stores may even have one big advantage over Amazon: Picking up and handling the attractive Plastic Logic device in the store could certainly sell more units than ogling pictures of the Kindle on Amazon.

[via UberGizmo, Wired]

Related: Will Plastic Logic's E-Reader Knock the Kindle Off Its Pedestal?
Amazon Introduces Big Screen Kindle DX, $489
Amazon's Kindle Gets Tempting $60 Price Cut

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  • Mark Martin

    Best Seller prices at $10...I assume that is hard cover cuz otherwise it would be more expensive than paper and that won't fly. Until I try one I guess I will remain skeptical. The form factor of a book is pretty good. No batteries, shock proof, reusable.... My initial thought is great for students as a way to get cheaper textbooks without all the associated hassle or for business travelers. But business travelers are going to want email on it and WORD or Excel...and then it becomes a notebook!

  • Kit Eaton

    @Astralis--it does seem slow doesn't it? That's somewhat to do with the technology that drives e-ink. It's the less-desirable side effect of having a display that appears much more like paper, and is similarly easy on the eyes, than a computer LCD. B&N are releasing a PC app too, btw.

  • astralislux

    I watched the video and it's extremely slow! This is good hardware. Here's an idea: create an application to read books on your laptop. What's the difference?

  • Kit Eaton

    @Luisa. That's a good point. But there's no mention of exclusivity with Plastic Logic--if it takes off, then I suspect you'll see other retailers elsewhere trying something similar.

  • NoahRobischon

    @Michael That is probably a prototype, which means the body shape and color are not final. At least I hope not!

  • Michael Brown

    Is it the lighting, or is the color of that device 'putty'? Too close to the first generation Hewlett Packards and every other old-school plastic computer shell all the way up through the late eighties.

    I hope they change that, because it dates the device right out of the gate. It looks like it belongs on a pile of recycled computer peripherals.

  • Luisa Agante

    Super news. The bad news is that you have to have an US address to be able to buy a e-book :(