It’s an already hot space that’s getting hotter: The e-book market just got a few big jolts, with Apple adding iBook support to the iPhone and now two of the frontrunning e-reader devices coming to retail.
The Nook already enjoyed some measure of retail presence in Barnes & Noble stores, but with a new footprint in one of the few remaining consumer electronics retailers (even Radio Shack is in trouble) the device will see more exposure to the casual consumer who doesn’t necessarily follow the still-emerging e-book space.
Both moves into retail likely reflect an acknowledgment of the threat from Apple in this ecosystem. Apple, too, has the benefit of a retail presence — in its own stores of course, as well as with the iPhone and iPad at Best Buy. And with the announcement of iBooks for iPhone OS 4.0, Apple essentially just added about 85 million potential platform users to its 450,000 iPad install base of potential iBook buyers.
It seems inevitable that more and more of us will be reading published works on our assortment of mobile devices, but it will be interesting to see if there will be a pull-away winner in the device or content space — or both. If you’re the wagering type, what’s your guess on who might win this race? Or will there be room in the market for a few fairly significant players?