As we all look forward to going to sleep tonight with visions of Apple tablets running through our heads, there’s a rumor floating around that Cupertino may be joining hands with bookseller Barnes & Noble to bring e-books to the device.
TechCrunch is reporting that Apple and Barnes & Noble have been “working closely together” in an effort to bring the bookseller’s shop onto the tablet, as well as powering an entirely new book section within iTunes itself. If true, you can expect B&N to be big part of tomorrow’s media event in San Francisco at 10 am PST.
It’s generally assumed at this point that any tablet device from Apple will be geared toward full-color e-books and magazines, at the very least. Publishers have been salivating over such prospects for months, realizing that Apple could be the savior of their tired publishing model, much in the way it revolutionized music sales seven years ago with the iTunes Music Store (which later became simply the iTunes Store).
The suits in Cupertino have been rumored in recent weeks to be holding closed-door meetings with publishers HarperCollins and McGraw-Hill, but the quickest way to get a million or more books on the tablet in one shot would be to partner with the current e-book underdog, Barnes & Noble. The bookseller’s own Nook device has been slow to gain traction against Amazon’s popular Kindle, while both booksellers offer reader apps for the iPhone via iTunes.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs famously dismissed the e-book market just over a year ago, claiming that “People don’t read anymore.” But Jobs has been equally dismissive of other things in the past which were later turned into blockbuster Apple products. Amazon Kindle sales have picked up dramatically over the last year, with the device claiming the top spot on the e-tailer’s sales charts this past holiday season.