By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 8:43 am
Back before Barnes & Noble announced its Nook e-reader, some folks wondered whether the rumored B&N e-book device would simply be the one from Plastic Logic. It wasn’t. But today, Barnes & Noble and Plastic Logic announced that B&N would be selling Plastic Logic’s QUE in stores and online.
I was startled by the news at first blush, but upon reflection, it makes sense. The QUE has a larger display than the Nook, giving B&N a counterpart to Amazon’s jumbo-screened Kindle DX to sell. It calls itself a PROreader and is aimed at business types. And while we don’t know all of the QUE’s specs, it has enough in common with the Nook–AT&T 3G wireless, Wi-Fi, a touchscreen, and access to all the content in B&N’s online bookstore–that they’ll make sense as a set.
For all of the Kindle’s apparent success–I say “apparent” because Amazon doesn’t release specific sales figures–most of the book lovers in America still haven’t seen an e-reader in person, let alone bought one. (Borders sells Sony’s Reader, but it does so at a lonely little kiosk that I rarely see anyone paying attention to.) We still don’t know how long a future e-readers have, but if Barnes & Noble pours its heart into selling them, it’ll be as significant a moment in the gadget’s history as Amazon’s introduction of the Kindle a couple of years ago.