Don't write off Barnes & Noble's Nook as just another e-reader. This is no thoughtless offering in the upcoming e-reader glut; it's a deliberate attempt by Barnes & Noble to capitalize on all the mistakes of Amazon's Kindle, with a better product at the exact same price.
The things you'd expect in an e-reader--Wi-Fi, an online book store, the ability to mark-up what you read with notes--are paired with things that haven't yet become the standard, such as a touch screen, a color navigation display and way to lend e-books to friends. If any e-reader illustrates how badly the Kindle needs a redesign, not just a price cut, this is it.
The Nook's $259 price point is exceedingly important at a time when e-readers are trying to break into the mainstream. Though Amazon popularized the e-reader, competitors such as Sony, Plastic Logic and iRex are trying to muscle in with varying angles of attack. Sony, for instance, offers a choice of three different models, with progressively better features and larger screens. The other two companies are vying for customers with deep pockets, offering a magazine-style experience on screens the size of computer paper.
Barnes & Noble's Nook goes back to basics with a compact E-reader geared towards the average user. There's no justification of a high price tag by saying the product is “business” oriented, nor is there any glaring omission in features that would make the Nook inferior to its competitors. It's just an exciting product that gives the e-reader market a well-needed kick in the pants. Ahead, we'll look at some of the features that justify my lavish praise.
(Note: Some of these images were taken from Barnes & Noble's Nook Web site, which has since been taken down. I've contacted Barnes & Noble for an explanation.)