e-reader app for iPad by Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble will provide a free e-reader application for Apple’s iPad in time for the tablet’s launch on April 3, the bookseller said in a blog.

The B&N eReader for iPad will follow the company’s pattern of providing access to its eBookstore from computing and mobile devices, including PCs, Macs, iPhones, and BlackBerries.

The bookseller also indicated that its eReader software will also be updated soon for many supported devices for “an enhanced on-the-go reading experience,” although it didn’t indicate which devices.

The eReader for iPad application will compete with Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader, now sold in bookstores, but the company sees a greater advantage in selling printed books and e-books than focusing on sales of a single e-reader. To that point, the blog notes that the eReader for iPad continues “to fulfill our promise of providing consumers any book, any time, any where.”

The bookseller hasn’t said how the Nook is selling, but its introduction over the December holidays was delayed and many users and reviewers found the device navigation slow.

The company’s support for iPad is also a confirmation of iPad’s value as an e-reader device under the more general heading of a multimedia tablet device. Already, a ChangeWave Research survey of 3100 consumers has given a strong preference to the iPad, by 40 percent, over other e-readers.

Apple began taking orders for the iPad Friday, although the device won’t be available in stores until April 3.

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