U.S. bookseller Barnes & Noble claims to be unconcerned about the iPad’s threat against their own e-reader, the Nook. Indeed, they are so excited about the possibilities of the iPad that they are now promising iPad owners that they can expect to download their own free Barnes & Noble e-reading software just around the time of the iPad’s launch, which will allow individuals to buy any of more than a million eBooks as an in-app purchase.
In truth, it makes sense: the Nook’s not really doing much business, and the iPad is going to be huge. Unlike the closed ecosystems of other e-readers, Barnes & Noble can launch all feet in and essentially parasite off of the iPad’s success.
The question is: will Apple allow Barnes & Noble and Amazon to open competing e-book stores? I tend to doubt it: Apple’s taken strong stances in the past against the duplication of functionality, and they are going to want to keep a stranglehold on the iPad e-book marketplace, the same way they control the iPod’s music and video marketplace. The more booksellers on the iPad, the better from a consumer perspective… but I really worry that Apple’s going to stamp down hard not just on commercial e-reader apps, but fantastic existing apps like Stanza.