Barnes & Noble’s Three eReaders

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The tech blog JKontherun made a compelling observation: Barnes & Noble in fact sells three eReaders–the Nook and two others–through bn.com and its two other eBook stores. Remember that Barnes & Noble bought the long-established online eBook retailer Fictionwise last march. Fictionwise itself had already acquired the eReader online store, and, as Barnes & Noble promised at the time of the acquisition, it has continued to allow Fictionwise and eReader to operate as independent subsidiaries.

The Nook is only available on bn.com, but on both Fictionwise and eReader, the two other eReaders are available. First, there’s the Jetbook Lite, made by Long Island, NY-based Ectaco. It looks a lot like the old Sony Reader, but only costs $150, plus you get $50 worth of eBooks from either store. Then there’s the eSlick, made by Freemont, CA-based Foxit, a company that specializes in electronic documents. The eSlick costs the usual $259, and has a paired-down interface; the eSlick (eSlick? jeez–are eBook that cool?) comes with a $100 gift certificate.

Obviously, neither of these are Kindle killers, or Nook-knockers, for that matter. But Barnes & Noble is sticking with the diversity strategy, hoping that by covering more bases, the company can hold a bigger market share. And after the Nook’s poor reception over the past couple of weeks, they’ll need the help.

(By the way, it’s worth noting that Amazon, comprehensive online retailer that it is, sells many eReaders, including, of course, the Kindle, but also the Jetbook, Sony and a couple of others.)