Rumors are going around today that senior management from Barnes & Noble, the US largest US bookstore chain, will be in attendance at the London Book Fair. According to The Bookseller, they'll be meeting with UK publishers as part of B&N's plans to expand the Nook Store.
Update: It's no longer a rumor. More after the break.
I was just forwarded a link by a contact working with the LBF. The London Book Fair has never been known for having a lot of tech exhibitors, but clearly that will not be true this year. Not only will B&N be at the London Book Fair, they're going to be sponsoring the London Book Fair's first ever .
As you can see from the image above, the app zone will not be a large space. It looks to me to be intended as a cafe/bar space where developers might hold small meetings, do demos, and the like. Also, B&N is scheduled to hold a meet & greet event Monday night. It looks to me like this won't be a launch event, but closer to the workshop that B&N held in London last month.
At this point it seems that when it comes to B&N launching/partnering/expanding/anything-ing in the British ebook market, we should discuss the when part of the occasion, not if. I believe this to be a certainty because even senior folks from Barnes & Noble have hinted at it. I've heard rumors of B&N buying Waterstones. And B&N has even held a workshop in London for developers. And they've gone so far as to launch a new subsidiary in the Netherlands.
But I don't think that launch is going to happen at the London Book Fair. My source has suggested that there aren't any internal indicators that it will happen.
The London Book Fair is due to kick off next Monday, and it would have made a good platform for the launch. But a launch would also require some advance planning. Invites would be going out right now. I wouldn't expect to get one, but at least one of the UK gadget blog invited to the event would have posted a copy of the invite. That hasn't happened. B&N would also have an event space reserved, and that reservation would have leaked by now. It hasn't.
Now, I know that Wired predicted that Barnes & Noble would launch in the UK at the LBF next week, but I also spoke to their source. He told me the exact same thing that he told them, and I reached a different conclusion. I thought the launch was far less likely than Wired made it sound.
via The Bookseller