Barnes & Noble Nook e-Book reader announced

Barnes & Noble Nook e-Book rea...
Barnes & Noble nook e-Reader with 6in reading pane and 3.5in touchscreen color navigation pane
Barnes & Noble nook e-Reader with 6in reading pane and 3.5in touchscreen color navigation pane
View 4 Images
Barnes & Noble nook e-Reader with 6in reading pane and 3.5in touchscreen color navigation pane
Barnes & Noble nook e-Reader with 6in reading pane and 3.5in touchscreen color navigation pane
The nook's colorful navigation menu
The nook's colorful navigation menu
Library covers are previewed by swiping a finger across the navigation interface
Library covers are previewed by swiping a finger across the navigation interface
The old meets the new at a Barnes & Noble bookstore
The old meets the new at a Barnes & Noble bookstore
View gallery - 4 images

The world's largest bookseller, Barnes & Noble, has confirmed it is to enter the e-Reader market with a device called the nook. Powered by Android 1.5 and sporting the now familiar e-Ink text display, the nook also benefits from a 3.5-inch color touchscreen interface for library browsing and book ordering. It allows wireless access to over a million eBooks, magazines and newspapers and purchases can be shared with friends.

Barnes & Noble claims that the nook is the world's most advanced e-Reader but with numerous other models available, what does this one have that leads its manufacturers to make such a claim?

What customers want

William J Lynch, President of Barnes & Noble.com said: "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." The nook has a high quality 6 inch e-Ink Vizplex reading display with 16-level gray scale adjustment and a number of text-size options designed for comfortable ease-of-use.

Underneath the reading area sits a 3.5 inch color touchscreen interface which is used for navigation of the Barnes & Noble e-Bookstore or to swipe through the cover art and title library of purchased e-Books on the device's 2GB of memory. Tap the cover of the book you want to read and text appears in the reading pane.

Whilst this is not the first time we've seen this technology used in an e-Reader, Barnes & Noble does look as though it will be the first to bring it to the marketplace with release scheduled for the end of November.

A never-ending source

The nook's internal memory can store up to 1500 e-Books but this can be expanded via the MicroSD slot to become virtually limitless. Barnes & Noble claims that titles are downloaded from its e-Bookstore in seconds over AT&T's wireless 3G mobile broadband network - at no extra cost to the user. Barnes & Noble store is also offering free wireless in-store browsing of complete books.

The e-Bookstore currently holds over a million titles and whilst best-sellers and new releases have been priced at under US$10, many classics and popular reads can be downloaded free of charge. The e-Books sitting on the nook will be stored in either open EPUB or PDB format which is copy protected by Adobe's Content Server software solution but the device also reads PDF documents.

Barnes & Noble currently offers subscription to a number of newspapers in the US and the company plans to expand this service to cover every major US daily. Subscription to many magazines is also offered.

Share with friends

Using what Barnes & Noble calls LendMe technology, the nook will also allow users to lend titles to friends. Your friend's device doesn't have to be another nook as Barnes & Noble e-Reader software can also be freely used on PC, laptop or Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry or Motorola Smartphones and any Android or Windows based mobile device.

The nook also takes the worry out of being in the middle of a particularly good thriller and forgetting to take your device with you. The Reading Now technology acts as a virtual bookmark which will allow you to pick up the trail on your mobile device, PC or Mac and then again when you next pick up your nook.

A full battery charge should take 3.5 hours and will be good for ten days of reading so long as you don't use the device's wireless capabilities. With battery life in mind, the device incorporates Smart 3G technology to turn on wireless connectivity only when it is needed.

If, like me, you like to also listen to music while you read you'll no doubt be pleased to learn that the nook can also store and play MP3s, not only good for music of course but also audiobooks and podcasts. For use in public there's a standard headphone socket or mono speakers for when in more private surroundings. Load in some JPEGs and you have a portable photo album too.

Coming soon

All of this is nicely wrapped up in a comfortable and portable 7.7 inch x 4.9 inch x 0.5 inch and 11.2 ounce body for which, naturally, there are a range of accessories. Barnes & Noble has certainly squeezed a lot of useful tech into the pocket-sized nook for US$259. But enough to make it the world's most advanced e-Reader? What do you think?

A video overview of the product can be viewed below:

Molly meets nook

View gallery - 4 images
i think its fantastique because of the amount of paper that can be saved and that includes not cutting trees,no chemichal wastes etc. but will this be available in Europe?
When will college and high school text books be able to be bought and store on the nook? I like this much better than the laptops in classrooms.
The qyuestion is at that price why isn't it color and have internet access? As it is it shouldn't be over $100.
John in Brisbane
I reckon that there is probably about $100 t0 $150 of value in the reader and that the books are over-priced - once the novelty wears off, this kind of content really should sell for less than $5 per title. Given the uptake and cross over with other digital devices that will occur, maybe this will end the traditional publishing house model? Its nice to think that anyone could release a book this way and have it spread virally to become a hit. I imagine that there will be no substitute for good editing and promotion though.
\"We asked our customers what they wanted in an e-Book reader\" I always have to ask, who are these customers you\'ve surveyed, where do they do their sampling, and how can I be someone they ask when they go about the business of pleasing their customers? Really? When I see reviews that include this company hype and tripe like “full-featured, fun, and stylish…” I doubt that’s what was requested by any serious techy or reader. Simple should always the first answer. This is what makes the iPod such a success. Keep it simple and make it work the first time.
Facebook User
Nook is a rook, at least for customer service. The one I purchased at the B&N store in Santa Rosa broke in a month. The store sent it back to a B&N office in Houston five weeks ago and I\'ve heard nothing since. The nice faces at the store have called Houston repeatedly but get evasive answers. The district manager won\'t return e-mail or phone call. Customer service number transfers the caller to a \"digital representative\" but due to \"the high volumn of calls\" nobody ever answers. Worst customer service I\"ve ever experienced, and that includes the phone companies and Comcast.