Sold-out! Grinch Steals Nook Christmas

Barnes & Noble seemed to have it all wrapped up. Except now it will be wrapping up many fewer Nook e-readers than had been hoped.

Thanks to a supply shortage, this year's must-have techie gift has gone from fizz to flat in near-record time.

"While we increased production based on the high consumer interest, we've sold out of our initial Nook allotment available for delivery before the holidays," the bookseller said in a statement.

Nooks ordered from today will be delivered starting January 4, which is not quite the same as Christmas morn. All lucky Nook recipients will find under the tree is a holiday certificate emblazoned with a ship date after the new year.

How lucky will those people feel?

If you've missed your Nook, you can also forget the idea of buying the other hot new e-reader instead.

Sony reported Thursday that its hot new model, the Daily Reader, is now being sold on a "first-come, first-served" basis and holiday delivery cannot be guaranteed.

That leaves the Amazon Kindle as the only widely available hot e-reader this holiday. However, if people wanted Kindles they would probably already have them. Both the B&N and Sony e-readers are way cool. The Kindle, not so much.

Bah, humbug!

Barnes & Noble obviously has a few things to learn about the consumer electronics business. Sony has less of an excuse. And thus was missed the "Holiday of the e-Reader."

We already know what next year's hot gadget will be: A Chrome OS netbook, perhaps costing about what B&N is fetching for this years' Nook ($259). Given the choice, which of those would you choose?

If anybody has an extra brand-new Nook right now, however, I might be interested. Otherwise, it is a Windows 7 notebook for Christmas at my house. Yes, Microsoft once again wins because of others' mistakes.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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