A leaked WSJ ad, scheduled for Oct. 25th, has gadget bloggers buzzing about Barnes & Noble's new e-reader, the Nook.
Running on Android, the Nook is said to be priced at Kindle's $259 pricepoint. Many people have likened the device to a Kindle/iPhone hybrid, as unlike Kindle with a physical keyboard, the Nook has a touchscreen interface like the iPhone and iPod touch for navigating and browsing. The Nook also is rumored to support color, another advantage over Kindle. Coupled with a rumored deal for the device with Best Buy, Amazon might see their market share seriously sliding in the coming months. But the most intriguing of the rumors, in this era of gadget porn, is not even hardware related.
The first big tidbit is that books will be "heavily discounted"- without a qualifier, it's difficult to say how impactful this aspect is. I've been very pleased with my iPhone Kindle app- the 6.39 pricepoint of most of the trashy vampire romances I favor is decent, but feels a bit like a jack at about a buck fifty less than the ink and paper counterparts Amazon would have to find, handle, wrap, pack, ship and of course, print on dead trees. But the even more intriguing aspect is that the Nook may allow for lending of titles between friends. One of the biggest hurdles the eBook format has in catching on is the inability to share books- the crunchy granola intellectual types that read books tend to like to pass them around between friends so they have something to discuss over soy lattes and cruelty-free hemp granola bars.
While Kindle's got a tight grip on the e-reader market right now, the Nook sounds like it will be a powerful adversary as consumers make the leap away from analog books. Being perfectly honest, I've read more books in the past six weeks than I have in the past six years since downloading the Kindle app. And by December, the number of consumers using an e-reader is expected to double to 3.8 million from 1.6 million in August. Confirmation and more details are expected from B&N at 4pm EST during an event at Chelsea Piers in Manhattan.