London Nook event suggests "UK entry"

US retailer Barnes & Noble is to sponsor an event for developers in London later this month, raising speculation about a spring entry of its digital reader the Nook into the UK and Europe.

The event on 19th March will be hosted by Mobile Monday London and will feature a panel discussion with B&N director of developer relations Claudia Romanini, a workshop for Nook developers and a 90-minute “networking” period.

According to the Mobile Monday blog, the event will include discussion ahead of “Wednesday’s much heralded ‘expected announcement’”—thought to be the iPad 3—of what content is suitable for the tablet format, and the significant emergence of tablet-only content. “With 73 million tablet devices sold in 2011, this means that tablets accounted for around 25% of mobile PC shipments last year," Jo Rubin writes on the blog. "Although this was still dominated by iPad a lot of the excitement and commentary seem to be around the Kindle and the Nook—combining as they do a content ecosystem with the delivery of that content.”

Wired.com quotes an email from Andrew Rhomberg of forthcoming e-book discovery site Jellybooks: “The rumors have been around for months, but UK entry of Barnes & Noble seems to be for real now . . . London Book Fair is just one month later, so spring launch happening after all?” B&N did not respond to a request for comment.

Earlier this year, B&N confirmed its plans to bring the Nook overseas and said it was considering spinning off its digital business from its main book retail venture. Rumours have been rife regarding a possible link-up between B&N and Waterstones. Wired reports that: “sources speaking off the record say both companies are in active negotiations to bring the Nook to Waterstones". Just last week it was reported in Holland that B&N planned to deploy a Dutch e-book store and was in discussion with Central Book House.