Well, this isn't a huge surprise, since we've seen the rough outline of a nondescript, details-scarce reader from Barnes & Noble tucked away in FCCland, but the Wall Street Journal has "people briefed on the matter" who are saying the reader will be out possibly as early as next month. Word is the reader will have a six-inch E-Ink screen, with a touchscreen interface and virtual keyboard, and it will also have a wireless internet hookup to that great bookstore in the sky. With an IREX wireless reader already featuring the B&N ebook store, and a Plastic Logic device doing B&N exclusively, we'd say Barnes & Noble is certainly working this from a number of potentially redundant angles. It's unclear what particular innovation or distinction a Barnes & Noble-branded reader would bring, or who might build it, but our fingers are crossed for one particular avenue of one-upmanship: price.

[Via Reuters; thanks Tom]