* Nook to be available at Best Buy stores as of April 18
* Best Buy to offer Barnes & Noble software on some PCs
* Best Buy only retailer ex-B&N to sell the Nook
* Barnes & Noble shares up 3 cents at $22.80
(Adds details on agreement, iPad and Kindle, byline)
By Phil Wahba
NEW YORK, April 12 Barnes & Noble Inc (BKS.N)
will sell its Nook electronic-book reader at Best Buy Co Inc
(BBY.N), expanding distribution as it faces growing competition
with the entry of Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iPad.
The deal will put the $259.99 Nook in Best Buy's 1,070
stores beginning on April 18, making the electronics retailer
the first chain to carry the device other than Barnes & Noble,
the largest U.S. specialty bookstore chain.
Best Buy will also include Barnes & Noble's BN eReader
software on some of the personal computers and smartphones it
Currently, the Nook is available at Barnes & Noble's
website and 723 bookstores.
Barnes & Noble launched the Nook in October, aiming to take
on Amazon.com's (AMZN.O) Kindle and Sony Corp's Sony Reader
(6758.T) for the holidays, but the device only arrived in
stores in February after a number of production delays.
The company is focusing on the growth of the e-book market
to overcome a long-term sales decline at its brick-and-mortar
stores. Analysts estimate that digital books account for about
5 percent of overall U.S. book industry sales and see more
readers migrating to the format.
Last month, Barnes & Noble named William Lynch, who oversaw
the development and launch of Nook, as chief executive officer.
[ID:nSGE62H0GV] During the holiday quarter, comparable sales at
Barnes & Noble's physical stores fell 5.5 percent, while online
sales surged 32 percent.
The deal with Best Buy will greatly increase the Nook's
availability and ability to compete directly with the recently
launched iPad, an entertainment system that also functions as
an e-reader and is sold at Best Buy in addition to Apple's
Apple said last week that it had sold about 450,000 iPads
in its first few days. [ID:nN08199547] Barnes & Noble and
Amazon have declined to provide sales figures for their
e-readers, but each claims its device is enjoying robust
Best Buy also carries Sony Corp's e-reader, while Amazon
sells its market-leading Kindle on its website.
Barnes & Noble shares were up 3 cents at $22.80 in morning
trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba in New York and Brad Dorfman in
Chicago, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Lisa Von Ahn)