Earlier this morning, Barnes & Noble revealed? NOOKstudy, a new software e-reader for Mac and Windows that focuses on making electronic textbooks more useful. Barnes & Noble developed this software with input from students and universities. NOOKstudy will allow students to read and annotate textbooks, as well as store copies of their syllabi, lecture notes and other course-related documents. The software, which will be available for free, is scheduled to ship in August.

Some analysts predict that close to 20% of textbooks sold in 2014 will be in digital form, so it only makes sense for a large retailer like Barnes & Noble to try to move into this market.? With this move, Barnes & Noble is challenging Amazon, whose Kindle hasn't been able to succeed in educational settings yet, as well as online textbook services like CourseSmart.

With NOOKstudy, Barnes & Noble addressed a number of issues that students found with the current crop of e-textbooks. NOOKstudy, for example, will allow users to work with multiple textbooks simultaneously and give students a central repository for all of their notes and related materials. Notes and highlights will also be searchable.

As of now, however, it's not clear if NOOKstudy will allow students sync their notes between different computers. For now, Barnes & Noble also doesn't offer any mobile versions of the software, but since the NOOKstudy application will use the same publishing format as the regular Barnes & Noble e-reading apps, we assume that students will at least be able to access their textbooks from any mobile device that Barnes & Noble currently supports.