This article, by Quentin Fottrell, originally appeared on SmartMoney.
By pumping $300 million into the Nook, Microsoft may actually be betting against Barnes and Noble’s e-reader.
The software giant plans to include the Nook app in its new Windows 8 operating system, which experts say suggests the two companies think the future of digital books is on computers, cellphones, and tablets – not just traditional e-readers. “Barnes & Noble will likely become more device agnostic,” says Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords.com, one of the world’s largest distributor of self-published e-books. “Consumers will be able to read Barnes & Noble e-books on a wide range of devices.”
As it is, only 41% of people read e-books on the Nook or Kindle, according to a study released this month by Pew Research. Some 29% read them on cell phones, 23% on tablets and 42% on computers. Since most people have their phone with them at all times, it’s not surprising that phones and work computers would be used for reading in addition separate e-readers, analysts say.