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Barnes and Noble Plans E-Reader App for iPad

Barnes & Noble plans to offer its eReader application for the Apple iPad, giving users of the upcoming tablet the option of buying digital books from an online store other than Apple’s iBook store.

The B&N software is designed specifically for the iPad, set for release April 3, and will provide access to more than 1 million e-books and periodicals on the bookseller’s eBookstore, the company said in its blog.

The ebook reader app will support the Barnes & Noble eBookstore, and it will support content customers have downloaded to their Nook ebook reader. The Nook is Barnes & Noble’s own ebook reader device.

Apple’s iPad is a tablet form factor device with a 9.7-inch multitouch display. It runs a version of iPhone OS, is compatible with most iPhone applications, and includes built-in Wi-Fi support.

One of the features Apple showed off when it introduced the iPad at a media event in January was a built-in ebook reader and iBookstore — Apple’s own iTunes Store-like ebook, newspaper and magazine store.

Since Apple is planning on selling ebooks for the iPad, there has been some speculation as to whether or not competing ebook store services would write their own reader apps for the device. Now that Barnes & Noble has announced its ebook reader app, it seems the answer is “yes.”

B&N said Thursday it would release the application around the time the iPad is made available. The company currently offers eReader software for Windows PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch and Blackberry. B&N plans to update those applications shortly.