Nook news: Sale, market cap, and NFC chips
May 2, 2012 | 2:19 am
In honor of Mother’s Day, Barnes & Noble has chopped $20 off the price of its (non-glowlit) Nook Simple Touch, which can now be had for $79, and the Nook Color, which is now $149. The sale lasts until May 12th. This deal makes the Nook cost the same as Amazon’s ad-supported Kindle, but without the ads—currently the lowest price for a non-refurbished e-ink reader.
Meanwhile, if you’d ever wondered just how big this e-book thing was really getting. GigaOm reports that, with Microsoft’s recent investment in Barnes & Noble’s Nook subsidiary, the subsidiary is currently valued at $1.7 billion—which means it’s worth more than the rest of Barnes & Noble put together. And that’s for the (distant) second-best e-reader on the market.
And in case you’re wondering where the Nook is going to go next after getting glowy, B&N CEO William Lynch drops some interesting tidbits in an interview with Forbes:
We’re going to start embedding NFC [Near Field Communication] chips into our Nooks. We can work with the publishers so they would ship a copy of each hardcover with an NFC chip embedded with all the editorial reviews they can get on BN.com. And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience. That’s coming, and we could lead in that area.
When asked if NFC Nooks would be shipping this year, Lynch said simply, “Maybe.”
Lynch also points out that Nook buyers don’t stop buying print books, and thinks there’s opportunity for things like bundling for which B&N has barely scratched the surface so far.
I’m a little skeptical about how useful NFC will be for an e-book reader, but on the other hand given that B&N is the only one of the major e-reader makers to have its own physical bookstore, you could say that this is firmly in the realm of playing to its strengths. Given that e-book buyers do still buy print books, B&N could actually be in a better position than Amazon to tie them together. After all, you can’t browse books on shelves at Amazon.