Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Look Out Kindle - Nook Has Landed

The new Barnes & Noble e-book reader, known as Nook, may prove to be more of a headache for Amazon's Kindle than the Sony Reader has been. Nook offers some important features that users of the Amazon and Sony readers can only dream about: sharing of e-books and the first inkling of a color screen. According to Computer World, the color screen is limited to search results that come via Nook's "virtual keyboard," but that is a good start and it is certain to gain the Nook a second glance from anyone shopping for an e-book reader. Most important, however, is that Barnes & Noble e-books can be loaned to friends who have either a Nook of their own or access to the free download that B&N offers to computer users and those who own certain smart phones.
Nook weighs 11.2 ounces and is 7.7 x 4.9 x .5 inches in size. The upper electronic paper display, with 16 levels of gray scale, is 6 inches diagonally, while the lower color LCD display is 3.5 inches.

A first in e-readers will be the ability for users to lend their e-books for up to 14 days at a time. With LendMe technology, an e-book can be shared to a friend's Nook, iPhone, iPod touch, and some BlackBerry and Motorola smartphones, possibly the upcoming Cliq, which is based on Android. Desktop and laptop PCs with Barnes & Noble eReader software can also receive the books being lent.

Users can also listen to songs uploaded through a computer to the Nook, as well as audiobooks and podcasts, using standard headphones.
OK, Amazon. The ball is back in your court now. The Nook is priced at $259, same as the Kindle, so here's hoping that Amazon and B&N start a little price war of their own. Come on, guys, it's all about market share at this point...start slicing away.

13 comments:

  1. Yes! Price war would be good because the employee discount doesn't apply! ;)

    We're having a lot of fun with introducing this thing at work... won't be able to get my hands on one until another month, though.

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  2. Loaned only once per book and only for 14 days. Also...did a little research and right now all ebooks for all available ebook readers are almost all more expensive than buying an actual paper book.

    www.shishnit.org

    p.s. the "nook" only has a shopping screen in color....can't see color on that screen either because e-ink technology doesn't have color yet. The technology hasn't improved ...just B&N is now in the market.

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  3. p.s. I'm not anti-ebook reader etc. I own the original Sony Ebook reader. I still love turning real pages and while I enjoy the technology I don't like having no security about my purchased ebooks...the minute they change the technology your e-books are poof gone.

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  4. Oh this one's a beauty. I do hope they cut their prices down :)

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  5. Also...did a little research and right now all ebooks for all available ebook readers are almost all more expensive than buying an actual paper book.

    But I think you can download books from gutenberg.org right???
    Larry

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  6. Annie, do you plan on buying one of these? If so, I'd love to see you bring it to Owensboro next year...you're going right? :-)

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  7. Kristy, good points, especially on the pricing of e-books. I think they are definitely a rip off at current prices and, like you, I own one of the original Sony e-book readers...haven't bought an e-book in a long, long time, though.

    As for the color shopping screen, that's still a nice addition and it might be enough to make a difference if someone is trying to decide between a Nook and a Kindle. I suppose when technology does get to the point that book pages are in color, pictures, etc., the price of the readers will take a huge, if temporary, jump.

    As for e-books disappearing on you, I agree. I can't even estimate how many mp3-formatted songs I've lost over the last few years. Money down the drain without a physical backup to save me...

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  8. Mark, they have to get prices down if they really want to develop the size market they seem to be fighting over...too high for the average consumer right now, for sure.

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  9. That's right, Larry. You can download all the free material that's available. Sony just added that ability to its new readers (mine doesn't work that way and I'm still ticked). Kindle and B&N offer the same, so the classics are pretty much yours for the taking from what I can tell.

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  10. Sam, it's still a little to pricey for me, but I'm telling everyone I want gift cards for Christmas, so maybe that'll get it for me. :)

    I really, really hope I'll be coming to Owensboro!

    By the way, (I have to do the sales pitch), nook has access to over 500,000 free titles (classics and book in public domain) and the majority of ebooks Barnes & Noble sells are $9.99 - pretty good price for new releases and best sellers.

    Oh, and all your books will be saved on your Barnes & Noble account, so if something happens to the nook, your book is safe and can be downloaded again.

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  11. Good luck on the gift card idea, Annie...hope you gather enough to get your own Nook. I agree that it's too much money for what it does but, from what I understand, it's a costly thing to produce. With all the enhancements that each new generation of e-book readers offers it might be a while before the price drops much.

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  12. Sam, you can't download books from anywhere other than bn.com on to the nook -- so gutenburg books are out. B&N does have those 500,000 free titles, though.

    I'm a merchandise manager at a Barnes & Noble in Cleveland. Just found out we're to be shut down on Jan. 31. I did a little research -- I turned up four other Barnes & Nobles that are closing at the end of January. And a few others closed earlier this year. I was super excited about the nook, and I was so happy my company was strong enough to produce and market it in such a down economy. But then we found out we're to be shut down, and now I'm bitter. I feel like we've been sacrificed in order to provide the capital the company needs to go full speed ahead with the nook. We're to be jobless. Collateral damage.

    Guess I'm past the shock, and in the 'angry phase.'

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  13. Lauren, I'm really sorry to hear the bad news about your store and I sure understand that "anger phase," having gone through it myself in 2007. I really hope that B&N is not cutting it so close, capital-wise, that the company has to close stores in order to produce this snazzy new product.

    Good luck in finding something else soon, hopefully in the book business. I'm actually surprised to hear that the chain is closing stores right now. Hang in there.

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