Can Nook Glowlight outshine the Amazon Kindle?
Reviewers are impressed with the Nook Simple Touch, but can it take Amazon's crown?
BARNES & NOBLE will take on Amazon in the British digital book market by launching its Nook ereader this October. The company will sell both the Nook Simple Touch and the Simple Touch with GlowLight devices in the UK, along with the full Nook digital store, which has been available in the US for over a year.
The Guardian reports that since the release of the Nook, Amazon, which has dominated the ereader market for the past few years with its Kindle, has seen its share in the US market reduced from 90 per cent to 60 per cent, with Barnes & Noble taking 26 per cent.
However, the BBC reports that Barnes & Noble will face a greater challenge in the UK as the brand is much less well known. The company has 691 bookstores across the US and a further 647 shops in colleges and universities, but none in Britain. The company will instead sell its products in Sainsbury's and Waitrose supermarkets, as well as Currys and PC World.
Both Nooks are touchscreen ereaders with 2GB of storage and micro SD slot. The GlowLight features an integrated light source for reading in the dark and both have received encouraging reviews.
Engadget says Barnes & Noble has "struck gold with its iconic design", a squat shape and rounded corners, fitting comfortably in the hand. The Nook also has physical page-turn buttons, which Kindle got rid of long ago, but they are useful when the screen freezes, which invariably all touchscreen ereaders do.
Endgadget adds that the Nook duo is very competitively priced: the Simple Touch will be sold in the UK for £79 - that's £30 cheaper than the Kindle Touch - and the Glowlight will cost £109.
Expert Review praised the Simple Touch GlowLight's battery life, which lasts an impressive two months with the light switched off, and a month with it activated. It said the Nook "has the manpower to take on the current king of the ereaders, Amazon's Kindle".
Nook users will have access to Barnes & Noble's 2.5m digital titles, which Gizmodo notes is well above Amazon's selection (just over 1m) for its Kindle.
The main selling point in the UK will be that the Simple Touch with GlowLight will be the only illuminated ereader on the British market. Amazon has its own version, the Kindle Paperwhite, but has no plans for a UK release anytime soon.
Gadget website T3 said they were impressed with the backlight, which doesn't irritate the eyes and is easily adjusted, making the GlowLight the "first real rival to the best-selling Kindle on UK shores". The feature will be a hit with frequent travellers, insomniacs and bedfellows of late night readers.
The trouble for Barnes & Noble will come when Amazon releases the Paperwhite in the UK. CNET admits that while the Nook GlowLight sets a new standard for ereaders and is a quality product "the Kindle Paperwhite is even better".