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B&N To Expand In-Store e-Reader Departments

7/30/2010 01:42:18 PM Eastern

New York - Barnes
& Noble is joining Borders in expanding its in-store displays of e-book
readers.

 Barnes & Noble is expanding its in-store Nook displays.

A year after
entering the e-book market, the book retailer has begun expanding its in-store
Nook e-reader displays into what it calls Nook Boutiques. These
1,000-square-foot departments will feature demonstration tables and multiple
Nooks available for demonstration. An adjoining wall will display more
than 100 accessories, including Nook covers, and a large flat-panel display
that will feature video demos of Nook e-book readers.

Each Boutique will
be staffed by what the company called "knowledgeable booksellers" who will demo
the Nook, help consumers download Barnes & Noble's free Nook software to
smartphones and to other computing devices, and provide other ongoing support.

The boutiques
begin rolling out this summer through the fall.

"The commitment of
resources and floor space for the Nook Boutiques recognizes the significant
role that Barnes & Noble stores -- and experienced staff -- have played in
this success, and will better enable booksellers to help customers explore,
access and enjoy e-reading in stores," the company said. The majority of Nooks
to date have been sold through brick-and-mortar stores, the company noted. Best
Buy also sells Nooks.

The B&N stores
also cater to current Nook owners through a beta Read In Store program, which
enables users to browse complete e-books for free when they're in the store. A
More In Store program offers free, exclusive content from bestselling authors
and special promotions. Consumers take advantage of both programs by using
the Nook's Wi-Fi feature and free in-store Wi-Fi connectivity.

The company also
said Nook sales, while "consistently strong," accelerated recently with the
introduction of the Nook Wi-Fi at $149 and a lower-priced Nook 3G at $199.

The company's
recently released Nook for Android app will be followed soon by an updated Nook
for iPhone app, Nook for iPad app, and other apps in the coming months.

Earlier in July,
B&N competitor Borders Group told TWICE that it its brick-and-mortar
Borders superstores, it plans in September to open so-called "Area-e"
sections where consumers will be able to try out and buy an expanded selection
of e-readers. The sections will be staffed by what the company called
"knowledgeable associates who will demo products and answer customers'
questions." Each Area-e section will carry anywhere from seven to 10 e-readers,
a spokesperson told TWICE.