Rare Book Monthly

Articles - November - 2010 Issue

Barnes & Nobles Announces Nook Color; will Amazon also join the fray?

1nook

The New Nook Color.


By Tom McKinney

Last month both Amazon and Barnes & Noble made headlines in the world of e-books, although for entirely separate reasons. On the 22nd, Amazon announced that their Kindle e-book readers would soon support a lending feature similar to that which Barnes & Noble has had implemented since the launch of their Nook e-book reader. Just like the Nook, Amazon's Kindles will have the ability to "lend" an e-book for up to fourteen days (books that are lent out cannot be read by the lender during the lease) to anyone else also equipped with a Kindle. Many are saying this is the death knell for Barnes & Noble's Nook; there remain very few incentives to convince buyers to choose Barnes & Noble over Amazon - the lending ability the last major one.

However, just three days after Amazon made their announcement, Barnes & Noble announced a new Nook e-book reader, dubbed the Nook Color. And this one's quite a bit different from their original: it has a full color display. The e-ink is gone and has been replaced by the same type of display used with Apple's iPad. I've written previously about full color e-book readers, but this is the first time one of the major, established e-book reader retailers has put out an effort in color.

As recently as late May, Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos was quoted as saying that color e-ink displays were a long way away from being ready for the public, and that a color Kindle would not be announced any time soon. He may be right in that a "color e-ink" display is not ready for primetime, but smaller companies, and now Barnes & Noble, are banking on customers preferring any kind of color screen - even if it is the same as or similar to your television or computer screens. The main benefits of color are somewhat dependent on personal preference: magazine content now becomes an exclusive of color e-readers and tablets, and for the family, children's books in color are now viable as well. To motivate parents, 12,000 new kids titles are being added to the Nook's selection. Other color e-readers have the ability to play video, so having color can be one component to adding more than just reading to an e-reader experience (a color screen without adequate processing power, for example, would be a dud). The difference in cost between e-ink readers and color readers is still usually over $100, so it has its price. Depending on the success of the new Nook, Amazon may feel compelled to bring out a competitor.

Since Barnes & Noble's announcement of the Nook Color, commentators in the press and on the web have noted that this latest product blurs the line between e-reader and tablet. At $250, the price remains in normal e-reader territory and is a full 50% cheaper than Apple's baseline iPad. Compared to Hewlett Packard's recently released Slate 500 tablet (which I admit is geared towards a completely different purpose, as similar as the products look) we're looking at $250 vs. $799. So what's different about the Nook Color and its more expensive tablet cousins?

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Caius Julius Hyginus, <i>Poeticon Astronomicon,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1482. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Giovanni Botero, <i>Le Relationi Universali... divise in Sette Parti</i>, Venice, 1618. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> <i>L'Escole des Filles</i>, likely third edition of the first work of pornographic fiction in French, 1676. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Illuminated Book of Hours in Latin on vellum, Flanders, early 16th century. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes Regiomontanus, <i>Calendarium,</i> Venice, 1485. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Pedro de Medina, <i>Libro d[e] gra[n]dezas y cosas memorables de España,</i> Alcalá de Henares, 1566. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:<br>Early Printed, Medical, Scientific & Travel Books</b>
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b><br>Luis de Lucena, <i>Arte de Ajedres,</i> Salamanca, circa 1496-97. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Andrés Serrano, <i>Los Siete Principes de los Ángeles, válidos de Rey del Cielo,</i> Spain, 1707. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Mar 8:</b> Johannes de Sacrobosco, <i>Sphaera mundi,</i> first illustrated edition, Venice, 1478. $15,000 to $20,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> A Rare 3-rotor German Enigma I Enciphering Machine. $70,000 to $90,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Important collection of correspondence between Werner Heisenberg and Bruno Rossi. $40,000 to $60,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Walt Whitman Autograph manuscript containing his thoughts on death. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> David Roberts. <i>Holy Land</i>. Six volumes. 1842-1849. First edition. $15,000 to $25,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Extensive collection of Ray Bradbury's primary works, most signed or inscribed. $15,000 to $20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Peter Force. Declaration of Independence. $12,000 to $18,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Steinbeck. <i>Grapes of Wrath</i>. A fine copy of the first edition. $10,000 to $15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Lewis & Clark. <i>Travels to the Source of the Missouri River</i>... First English edition, extra-illustrated. 1814. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> Manuscript document signed by Nuno de Guzman relating to Hernan Cortes, 1528. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Feb. 11:</b> “Nos los inquisidores..." The first book in English printed West of the Mississippi. [1787]. $5,000 to $8,000.

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