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 The e-ink is gone and has been replaced by the same type of display used with Apple's iPad.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>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Eric Carle, <i>The Very Hungry Caterpillar,</i> hand-painted collage. Sold for a record $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Charles Addams, <i>Couple passing a giant bird house,</i> watercolor cartoon for <i>The New Yorker,</i> 1948. Sold for $16,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Miriam Troop, <i>Rain on Laundry Day,</i> oil on canvas, cover for <i>The Saturday Evening Post,</i> 1940. Sold for $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Rockwell Kent, <i>To All Fascists,</i> ink broadside for The League of American Writers, circa 1937. Sold for $6,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Jo Mielziner, <i>Pet Shop Drop,</i> backdrop design for <i>Pal Joey</i> on Broadway, 1940. Sold for a record $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Lee Brown Coye, acrylic cover illustration for the 25th anniversary of <i>Weird Tales,</i> 1944. Sold for $18,750.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Virgil Finlay, <i>The Outsider & Others,</i> pen & ink dust jacket illustration for H.P. Lovecraft's book, 1939. Sold for $5,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Al Hirschfeld, <i>Paul Robeson as Othello,</i> illustration for <i>The New York Times,</i> 1942. Sold for $68,750
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Illustration Art:</b> Frederic Remington, pen & ink illustration for <i>A Scout with the Buffalo Soldiers</i> in <i>The Century</i> magazine, 1889. Sold for $17,500.
  • <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> EARLY AVIATION PHOTOGRAPHY ARCHIVE. Chronicling 20th century aviation from the earliest Wright Brothers images through commercial and military applications. $50,000 to $70,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> FIRST TELEPHONE CALL TO THE MOON. Partial transcription signed by Apollo 11 astronauts and President Nixon. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> SPUTNIK-1 EMC/EMI LAB MODEL, 1957. Full scale vintage test model of the Sputnik-1 satellite, Moscow, [February, 1957]. $400,000 to $600,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> Apollo 11 Beta cloth crew emblem, SIGNED BY THE ENTIRE APOLLO 11 CREW. $8,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 17:</b> GEMINI 1/8 SCALE MODEL. Rarely seen large-scale contractor's model. $3,000 to $5,000
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871. <i>Indian Ornithology.</i> [Patna, India]: 1828. $50,000 to $80,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DUPRÉ, LOUIS. 1789-1837. <i>Voyage à Athènes et à Constantinople, ou Collection de portraits, vues et costumes grecs et ottomans.</i> Paris: Dondey-Dupré, 1825. $60,000 to $90,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed ("J Adams"), [to Dr. Perkins?] while recovering from his small pox inoculation, [late-April, 1764]. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUSTEN, JANE. Autograph Letter Signed ("J. Austen"), to her sister Cassandra, 4 pp, "Thursday – after dinner," [September 16, 1813,] Henrietta St. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. <i>The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories.</i> New York & Philadelphia: J.J. Audubon & J.B. Chevalier, 1840-1844. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> DODWELL, EDWARD. 1767-1832. <i>Views in Greece.</i> London: Rodwell and Martin, 1821. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Oct. 23:</b> JAMES, JESSE. Autograph Letter Signed ("Jesse W. James"), to Mr. Flood demanding Flood retract spurious accusations, 3 pp, June 5, 1875. $200,000 to $300,000.

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