The Nook, a $259 e-reader from Barnes & Noble Inc., will hit the booksellers' stores on Nov. 30. That's in time for holiday shoppers, but too late for "Black Friday," Nov. 27, the traditional day of pre-holiday sales by retailers.
In-store signs began advertising the sales date recently, although Barnes & Noble didn't issue a press release announcing the actual date. When it announced the e-reader on Oct. 20, it only said sales would start in late November, meaning it will meet that commitment with no room to spare.
Barnes & Noble has 774 retail outlets and presumably will offer the Nook in all those stores. Even though the in-store signs say the device can be pre-ordered now online and in the store, a spokeswoman today said something slightly different -- that demo units and units for sale will begin shipping to stores on that date.
The Nook is 7.7 inches by 4.9 inches and is a half inch thick. It weighs 11.2 ounces. The gray-scale E-ink display is 6 inches across diagonally, with a separate 3.5-inch color display below that can be used to search for book titles and for other purposes with its touchscreen keyboard.
Barnes & Noble is comparing Nook to the Amazon.com Kindle 2, which is also $259. Kindle uses the Sprint Nextel Inc. wireless network for downloads of books, while Barnes & Noble will rely on AT&T and Wi-Fi. Most first releases and other popular books on both devices will sell for $9.95
Barnes & Noble customers will be able to actually hold the device Nov. 30, but can now pick up a pamphlet in stores that is cut to the size and shape of the Kindle. The pamphlet is printed on paper, ironically, a nod to the old-fashioned technology that e-readers someday could replace.
After its Nook announcement, Barnes & Noble on Oct. 27 said it would sell the QUE from Plastic Logic Inc. next year in its stores. That device is a larger e-reader focused on business professionals.