You know how before you got to see The Avengers you had to sit through all the Iron Mans and Captain Americas and Scandinavian God Fall Downs, so that all the preliminary character work was done and blowing stuff up could commence immediately? Well, that’s an exceedingly generous analogy to draw to the contents of this post, which brings news of new deals for two separate e-readers before both join forces with a third. 3D glasses will not be provided, but if you’re reading this on public transportation then we can offer you something approximating a D-Box seat.
First up, John Lewis has been announced as the first of the ‘well-known UK partners’ that will stock Barnes & Noble’s NOOK e-reader (so anyone who had money on Posh and Becks, sorry, no dice). As previously revealed, the (theoretical at least) Kindle rival will be launched in the UK in October through Barnes & Noble’s own nook.co.uk. As yet, only the vague promise of ‘autumn’ has been given by the American bookseller as to when John Lewis customers can expect to find them on the high street (so presumably no later than a month after they become available online).
Secondly, the American arm of Kobo – the Canadian e-reader manufacturers whose products are sold in the UK by WH Smith – has joined forces with the American Booksellers Association as part of an affiliate scheme that will see independent bookshops link with them to sell e-books. The offer has also been put forward to UK indies, seemingly, and met with an apparently warm reception, so anyone in the overlap of the Venn Diagram that reads ‘e-book lover’ and ‘Amazon hater’ might want to keep an eye on this one as it develops over the coming months.
Lastly – this is the Avengers bit, for anyone still trying to cheer themselves with that flimsy pretext at this point – both NOOK and Kobo have also said that they will sell digital versions of titles published by Amazon’s new New York-based publishing imprint when it rolls out its first slate this autumn. Besides the corporate dilemma inherent in punting the wares of a rival e-book manufacturer, this move is particularly interesting on the part of NOOK given that Barnes & Noble previously refused to stock Amazon’s self-published print titles, citing Amazon’s ‘continued push for exclusivity with publishers, agents and the authors they represent’. Apparently NOOK has overcome that particular ethical hurdle, but the fact that it even raised the point to begin with confirms it’s pretty much the Hulk of this group.