Media Money with Julia Boorstin

Barnes & Noble Opens Up Its 'Nook'


Barnes & Noble has finally unveiled the details of its much-anticipated e-book. It's called the "Nook,"and like Amazon's Kindle, it costs $259.

With this entry competition in the e-book market, of which the Kindle has 60 percent market share, will really heat up. And this holiday season, as Sony goes after a bigger piece of the market with a lower $199 price tag on its e-reader, we can count on this to be the hot gadget gift. The company is taking pre-orders now, it'll ship at the end of November.

The "Nook" comes with a new look and capabilities that distinguish it from the Kindle. It has two screens, a color touch screen like Apple's iTouch and iPhone  that allows users to navigate between choices, and a then a black and white e-Ink screen, similar to the Kindle's. The device downloads new publications and books through free 3-G wireless, saying that it enables "in store browsing" of complete books.

This is also the first eBook that's based on Google's Android software, which Forrester Research analyst Sara Epps described as "a big deal and very cool". (Other eBook devices run on Linux). Barnes & Noble is offering more than a million titles, including more than 500,000 free eBooks through Google, which Amazon doesn't currently offer..

Barnes & Noble is promoting the fact that this is the first e-Book that enables users to lend book to friends. The technology called "LendMe" lets users pick a book they want to share, and then send it not just to other "Nook" devices, but also to iPhone, iPod touch, Blackberry, PC and Macs that have Barnes & Noble eReader software. (It makes sense: in that it allows fans of the device and software to spread the world, while getting new users to download the software). The company is really trying to make the reading experience seamless between the Nook and other devices, offering free e-Reader software to download to iPhones and laptops.

Twitter has been abuzz with jokes about the name of the device since it leaked out yesterday afternoon. "Nookie," "Not a Book," the list goes on... Despite the jokes Barnes & Noble has a real advantage in its network of stores; starting tomorrow it'll roll out storefront displays in its highest-volume stores, and consumers will get to check out the device at customer service centers in every store.

Let this holiday's eBook horse race begin! We'll be watching.

Questions?  Comments?