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The Barnes & Noble Nook: One step better than Kindle?

By / October 20, 2009



"If you just ordered a Kindle, stop reading now or you’re in for a giant dose of buyer’s remorse," trumpets Gadget Lab. The Barnes & Noble Nook is scheduled for landing today and some are saying that it bests the Kindle, inside and out.

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The news about Barnes & Noble's new e-reader was leaked when someone at the Wall Street Journal saw an ad set to run in next Sunday's New York Times. The new gadget looks a lot sharper than the Kindle (see the pictures at Gadget Lab) and will cost the same ($259). It has a color multi-touch screen and will offer wireless capability.

Reports have it that Barnes & Noble will be offering book titles to readers at heavy discounts. They will also make available to Nook readers the 500,000 free (public domain) titles from the Google Book Project.

Add to all that the report that the Nook will allow its users to freely lend, borrow, and resell e-titles – something Kindle does not permit (and one of the advantages hitherto firmly in the court of paper books.)

The New York Times has its own story about the Nook today, in which a prediction from the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry, is referenced. Codex foresees that the number of people who own e-readers will more or less double to about 3.8 million readers by the end of this year, from about 1.6 million in August.

If you're a reader, this may all be good news. If you're a bookstore owner, however, this has got to be one of the scariest mornings of your life. Because it's not just the Nook. Take a look at the other big headline making book news this morning: Target has now entered the book price wars. Along with Walmart.com and amazon.com, Target will be offering some of the season's hottest titles at $8.99, plus free shipping.

If you're a traditional brick-and-mortar bookstore – wow. I can't even begin to imagine where it goes from here.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor’s book editor. You can follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/MarjorieKehe.   

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