Barnes & Noble Prepping Plastic Logic E-Readers?

Competition in the nascent e-book market is starting to heat up, and while a lot of the action thusfar has centered on Amazon and Sony, bookseller Barnes & Noble shouldn’t be left out of the equation, snapping up Fictionwise earlier this year and launching its own device-independent bookstore. Now, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Barnes & Noble is getting ready to launch its own Plastic Logic e-reader, perhaps in time for the holiday buying season.

Plastic Logic E-Reader

Although Barnes & Noble hasn’t made any official announcement, the Plastic Logic e-readers would be similar to offerings from Sony and Amazon with a 6-inch E-Ink paper-like display. Furthermore, while the initial Plastic Logic e-readers will be grayscale like similar offerings already on the market, the company has publicly stated it believes color versions are on the horizon…and a Barnes & Noble spokesperson may have tipped the company’s hand at a recent trade show, noting a color e-reader slated to launch in early 2010.

Industry watchers note that Barnes & Noble could be a serious player in the e-reader market, with one key advantage over Amazon being its large network of retail locations where it can showcase e-reader devices to customers already interested in buying books. Amazon relies strictly on online sales. Sony sells its devices in its own retail locations, and just announced a partnership with Best Buy to get its Sony Readers into Best Buy locations; Best Buy is also showcasing the iRex Digital Reader.