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Barnes & Noble’s Nook hits Best Buy, new versions coming soon
by Kathryn Robbins on April 17, 2010
Ever since Steve Jobs announced that the iPad was on the way, gadget geeks and e-reader fans have been frothing at the mouth. The device grabbed headlines in major newspapers and even ended up on Martha Stewart’s blog. So what can Barnes & Noble do to outshine the almighty iPad? Their plan is to sell the Nook through Best Buy and offer more affordable models.
According to Gizmodo, the bookseller is looking to diversify the Nook lineup with two new versions that will be released later this year. The Nook Lite is essentially the same Nook that’s on the market right now but won’t use AT&T's 3G Wireless Network.
The Nook Lite’s lack of 3G may be an annoyance to those that live in urban areas, but AT&T’s 3G network doesn’t cover the entire country. The Wi-Fi only device will be priced at $199 which is lower than the entry level models of the Kindle 2 or iPad.
The other new entry is the Nook 2 which is also known under its codename, “Project Encore.” No details have emerged, but a good bet is that the Nook 2 will add color elements to compete with the iPad and the next generation Kindle. Additional functionality may also be another factor since they are issuing a firmware upgrade for the Nook that includes a web browser next week.
Barnes & Noble’s previous strategy was to sell the e-reader in their 723 brick and mortar stores, on their website, and more than 600 college campuses. Starting tomorrow, the Nook and various accessories will be sold in 1,070 Best Buy stores and online. Best Buy will also highlight Barnes & Noble’s free e-reader app on certain in-store computers and smartphones.
This is a bold move by Barnes & Noble to take their e-reader into the same store that sells the iPad. The Nook Lite may get some needed buzz because it is on track to hit stores by the end of the quarter, just in time for the high school and college graduation season. The $199 price is less than a new iPod, a fact which may finally lure curious customers to check out the e-reader.