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Best Buy to Sell Barnes & Noble’s Nook E-Reader Sunday

E-reader makers are expanding their retail tentacles. After months of selling the devices directly through their web site, they are turning to retail giants for some help in getting the gadgets into the hands of consumers.

Barnes & Noble’s Nook is coming to Best Buy, a development that introduces the Kindle-like e-reader to the electronics retailer’s tech-enthusiast clientele. Starting Sunday April 18, Best Buy will feature Nook displays in its 1,070 U.S. stores. Customers will be able to try and buy the Nook, or purchase one at the retailer’s website.

Barnes & Noble introduced the Nook last year to compete against Amazon.com’s Kindle and other e-readers.

The launch of the Apple’s iPad and the imminent arrival of tablets from companies such as HP and Dell has raised the stakes for e-reader manufacturers. The iPad’s color screen, access to the iBooks store and the ability to surf the internet and use apps makes it a multi-purpose device that some consumers are likely to prefer over the black-and-white screen e-readers. Apple says it sold 300,000 iPads by midnight on April 3, the first day of the device’s availability. At least 250,000 digital books have been downloaded by iPad customers so far, says the company.

The increased competition from tablets may have forced e-reader makers to spread their wings. Since the device’s launch in 2007, Amazon has sold the Kindle exclusively through its web site. Barnes & Noble also made its website the biggest channel for Nook though it has been stocking its retail stores with the product.