There is a new e-book reader literally every month and the U.S. has many e-reader devices, each with its own share of pros and cons. Yet another big player, Barnes and Noble, has entered the market with very interesting hardware.
According to the Codex Group, a consultant to the publishing industry, Amazon has sold about 945,000 units, compared with 525,000 units of the Sony reader. Now Barnes & Noble, one of the largest bookstore chains in the U.S., released their own e-book reader, the Nook, for pre-order; the company launched an e-bookstore in July.
Users have access to over one million books, magazines, and newspapers, which can be downloaded with the integrated Wi-Fi and 3G. Its full-color touchscreen makes it easy to bookmark, make annotations, and highlight passages. This is one of two innovative software features; the other is the ability to share e-books with friends for up to 14 days. What is really cool about this is that it's open to any and all devices, including the iPhone, Blackberry and the PC.
In any of the chain's 1,300 bookstores, consumers can download e-books for free on the in-store Wi-Fi network. Outside the stores, consumers can access the e-bookstore on AT&T's 3G network, which Barnes & Noble touts as the nation's fastest. The Nook also has software which detects when a consumer walks into a store so that it can offer coupons and other promotions. It also has the largest built-in memory of any device with 2GB.
The Nook will start shipping in late November for $259.