All hail the Barnes and Noble Nook, king of the e-reader heap.
After weeks of speculation, the bookseller Barnes and Noble has officially unveiled the Nook, an e-reader touted as the world's most advanced. Where does this leave the Amazon Kindle 2? Temporarily boxed out. Coverage of a Nook event in New York city today dominated the publishing and tech blogs, with sites such as Channel Web opining that the "Nook has the hooks" to take down its competitors.
"Barnes & Noble's new Nook e-reader is the e-reader that competitors must now beat," David Coursey of PC World writes today. "So long Kindle 2, it was nice knowing you, but a better reader has come along. And just in time for the holidays, too. If Amazon doesn't have a new model up its sleeve, it will be a Merry Christmas at B&N and a sack of coal for Amazon."
Well, we're not sure we'd put it quite that colorfully, but the Nook certainly is an major league contender. Among the features on the Nook are a 3.5-inch multi-touch color display – the Kindle has only a touch-pad – 2GB of built-in memory and Wi-Fi connectivity. There's also an option for users to "lend" their friends parts of their e-book collection. The free loan period would last up to 2 weeks.
But the big selling point is the amount of content Barnes and Noble is going to make available. In July, Barnes and Noble announced it would create an electronic bookstore to sell more than 700,000 titles. By the end of this year, Barnes and Noble hopes to offer more than 1 million e-books, including every title currently made available in digital form.
By comparison, Amazon sells over 300,000 digital titles for the Kindle. That's a fairly big discrepancy. Furthermore, as Coursey notes, "owners of the Nook can access 500,000 public domain titles from Google that are not available to Kindle users."