Eat your heart out, Evelyn Wood. Barnes & Noble
The bookstore giant is wasting no time with this month's acquisition of Fictionwise, the parent company of e-book sites eReader.com and eBookwise.com. The beta test release of a new eReader app for Research In Motion's
The story sounds vaguely similar to Amazon.com's
Smartphones and e-books aren't logical bedfellows right now. Checking out an article or a short story on your BlackBerry Storm or 3G iPhone makes sense, but you'd probably chew on some barbed wire before reading Tolstoy on a tiny smartphone screen.
Thankfully, the future promises to be kinder on your teeth and gums. Just as laptops shrank and evolved into netbooks, what's to stop smartphone makers from meeting netbooks halfway? Chunky cell phones seem like something out of the 1980s, but as texting, email, and Web surfing become bigger components of the mobile computing experience, don't assume that Apple and Research In Motion will simply cede that market to Palm
The notion of a Kindle-shaped smartphone may seem abhorrent, but making calls through a smaller Kindle wouldn't be so bad, would it? There's a sweet spot out there where telephony won't feel so phony as communication and entertainment consumption converge.
Today is a good step in the right direction for Barnes & Noble, even if the company itself doesn't know where it's going with this.
Stories that may have happier endings:
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz finally bought his Kindle last year. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.