Books written by Ray Sullivan

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Nook Launch in UK

Barnes & Noble, who are apparently the largest bookseller in the world, are about to launch their best-selling Nook eReaders in the UK. And about time too.  This incursion into the UK has been rumoured for at least a year.  There was a time recently that it looked like B&N were going to hook up with British bookseller Waterstones.  That should have been a good fit - Waterstones have a high street presence and are highly regarded as a bookseller.  They have also been hit by the rise in eBooks - show me a bricks and mortar bookshop that hasn't - and they were very critical a year ago about Amazon and in particular the Kindle eReader family.

So it was a bit of a surprise earlier this year when they decided to hook up with Amazon to sell their products in store.  Incidentally they also have an eBook store that only seems to sell EPUB books that won't run on Kindle devices but should on virtually every other device, including the Nook range.  This is like a  Ford dealer selling GM parts only!

Obviously something didn't gel between B&N and Waterstones so that rumour ended, however the whispers of a UK launch have continued.  A couple of weeks ago B&N sent out a press release stating that they would be in UK stores and although their website indicates that the release is still imminent it looks like they are here now.  The stores selling the Nook products are:  Argos - the no-frills catalogue store; Blackwells, the academic bookstore; Foyles, a London based independent bookstore; Sainsburys, the major supermarket chain;  Currys/PC World, the major UK digital equipment retailer; John Lewis, the classy department store chain and its supermarket arm Waitrose.  Some of these are touting the products online right now.

Initially it is the e-Ink devices being sold first, the Simple Touch and the GlowLight, pitched at £79 and £109 apiece.  Disappointingly the Nook HD and HD+ aren't slated for release just yet - before the Christmas buying season would be good but the lack of a release date makes me wonder if they will make it in time - and the proposed pricing isn't looking too promising (from £159 for the 7 inch version) in the light of the Amazon Kindle Fire release announced a few days ago.

So, should we be jumping for joy at another eReader device?  Well, yes.  For starters, the Nook range comes highly recommended and the basic units are priced competitively.  They also use EPUB, so you can buy eBooks from a multitude of sources and load them up.  Like all the best eReaders they let you download wirelessly direct from the B&N bookstore, which unfortunately doesn't appear to be up and running over here yet, but you will also be able to buy books from the other stores too and transfer them by USB.  I suspect that most books available in one store is also available in the rest, but you may get price variations you can take advantage of.

I personally think everyone should have an e-Ink eReader; a Nook, Kindle, Kobo, whatever.  They are usable in daylight and the batteries last forever, or at least a month, and are an affordable route into the world of eBooks.  I don't know about you, but I've detected a shift in opinion on the whole eBook/eReader thing over the last few months.  I'm not getting the 'I prefer to read real books' speech from people who've never actually tried an eReader, but I am getting a lot of questions from persons previously resistant to the concept.   I also think this is the last year e-Ink devices will sell in serious numbers, perhaps more than ever before, but the potential of the multi-functional tablets will take over completely by this time next year.

In the meantime, why not take advantage of the increased competition provided by the Nook range to introduce yourself or a friend to eReaders this season.  It may not be your last chance, but perhaps your best chance to hammer out a deal.


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