Nook HD and Nook HD+ go on sale in the UK

Barnes and Noble's Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets are now available to buy in the UK, with prices starting from £159.

US book retailer Barnes & Noble (B&N) has released its Nook HD and Nook HD+ tablets in the UK, putting it in direct competition with Amazon's e-reader and tablet devices.

The tablets went on sale on Thursday in John Lewis, Argos, Asda, Dixons, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Blackwell's and Foyles, as well as via the Nook website.

The Nook HD costs £159 for an 8GB model and £189 for a 16GB version and is available in white or grey. The device is powered by a 1.3GHz dual-core processor, has a 7-inch 1440 x 900 pixel display and expandable storage via mircoSD. The tablet weighs 315g, which B&N claim makes it the lightest device to offer a "high definition" experience.

The Nook HD+, offered in dark grey, is larger in terms of both memory and screen size than the Nook HD. The 16GB costs £229, while the 32GB model is on sale for £269. It offers a 9-inch screen and weighs 515g, some 200g heavier than the Nook HD. The HD+ also offers a slightly faster 1.5GHz dual-core processor, rather than the 1.3GHz model found in its sibling.

Both the Nook HD and the Nook HD+ come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so they can access the integrated Nook Store, which offers books, newspapers and magazines for users to buy and download. Like the Amazon AppStore or Google Play, it also offers apps and games to download; it is expected to start selling movies and TV shows from December.

Amazon's latest offering in the Kindle Fire line , the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD, offers less power but more memory than the Nook HD. The Kindle Fire HD comes with a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and, like the Nook HD+, 16GB or 32GB of memory. The Kindle Fire HD retails at £159 for a 16GB model and £199 for a 32GB model.

B&N's Simple Touch and Simple Touch GlowLight e-readers are already available  in shops.