LONDON Barnes & Noble has launched its rival to Amazon.com’s Kindle e-reader. Called Nook, the device has wi-fi, though it only works in Barnes & Noble’s bookstores, and also features a second color touchscreen showing book covers below the familiar black-and-white reading frame.
The Nook will retail at $259, the same price as the U.S. version of the Kindle. The Nook device will not ship until Nov. 30. Like Amazon.com, most best sellers and new releases will sell for $9.99. In addition to wi-fi within B&N shops, it offers 3G wireless access on AT&T’s mobile broadband.
B&N said it was the first Android-based e-book reader. Nook is also the first e-book reader to officially offer digital lending of content, though some reports dispute how much is allowed and which publishers have agreed to participate.
Customers will be able to browse complete e-books for free on their Nooks at any B&N store, whether the actual book is in stock or not. “We asked our customers what they wanted in an e-book reader, and specifically designed nook to be the most full-featured, fun, stylish and easy-to-use e-book reader on the market,” said William Lynch, president of Barnes & Noble.com.
According to a report on Publishers Marketplace, chief executive, Steve Riggio said: “This represents for us a multi-billion dollar opportunity. We make buying e-books easy — that’s our mantra.”
Nook can hold up to 1,500 books and other printed content, and comes with an expandable memory slot, for a further 17,500 books. It has a battery life of 10 days, compared with Kindle’s 14.