Barnes & Noble pushing e-reader market forward with new Nook

Apparently there is still room for innovation in the electronic ink e-reader market as Barnes & Noble prepares to roll out a new version of the Nook Simple Touch.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

While the pricing of digital books is center stage right now, Barnes & Noble is bringing the focus back to the devices you can read them on with the introduction of a new Nook e-reader.

See also: Barnes & Noble announces Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, its first eReader with a lit screen

The product getting a revamp this time is the Nook Simple Touch -- new and improved with the addition of GlowLight technology.

Now, when I first read that the Nook was going glow-in-the-dark, I almost giggled. It seemed rather silly at first, but then when I saw the new version in person, it makes complete sense.

As someone who reads digital books everyday, I alternate between an iPad 2 at home and the original Nook Simple Touch pretty much everywhere else. This is because while the Nook Simple Touch is small enough to bring anywhere and perfect for reading outdoors, it is not good for reading in the evening before bedtime -- even when right under the nightstand lamp.

In fact, I would go as far to say that Barnes & Noble is pushing the entire e-book reader market forward with this addition -- at least as far as the electronic ink versions are concerned. That's actually quite refreshing considering beyond weight, display size and possibly the unit price, it's hard to comprehend how this market could innovate at all this point.

Obviously now, it's going to be Amazon's turn to answer with a similar feature on a Kindle in the near future. Interestingly enough, it seems that Barnes & Noble is constantly the one picking up the ball first when it comes to improving the e-reader devices while Amazon might be placing more focus on the digital books and publishing platforms.

For example, Barnes & Noble came out with a colorized e-reader first (the Nook Color) followed several months later by a much more compact, e-ink touchscreen version (the Nook Simple Touch). Amazon has a few more options with the cheaper, ad-based versions as well as enormous success with the Kindle Fire. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see that there is some competitive action going on here.

Pricing might still be the make-or-break factor for a lot of consumers. The basic Nook Simple Touch costs $99, while this new Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight will retail for $139 when it is released in early May. (Pre-orders start today.)

By comparison, the most basic Kindle starts at $79 and the Kindle Touch (which supports audio, another nifty feature not found on the Nook Simple Touch) retails for $99.

However, the $139 Nook Simple Touch comes with at least two new features that customers previously had to buy separately, jacking the costs up considerably: the aforementioned glow light and an anti-glare screen layer.

Thus, if these two qualities really matter to you, then you're getting a much better deal with the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight.


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