Just two days after Sony said that its wireless e-reader, the Daily Edition, might not make it to buyers before the end of the year, Barnes & Noble said its Nook e-reader is sold out.
The Nook hasn't started shipping yet, but the bookseller now says that preorders have consumed stock available for the holidays. Anyone ordering the Nook now will have to wait until after Jan. 4, when Barnes & Noble expects to ship additional readers.
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Anyone who has already ordered the device will get it in time for the holidays, said Mary Ellen Keating, a Barnes & Noble spokeswoman.
Hoping not to miss out on potential sales, Barnes & Noble is encouraging people to preorder the Nook to give as a gift anyway. The bookseller promises to send an "elegant Nook holiday certificate" that will arrive by Dec. 24 and that buyers can give as a placeholder until the real Nook arrives.
Although neither company is saying how many preorders they've gotten for their devices, analysts have been expecting healthy sales of e-readers. Lower prices, more content and plenty of attention are contributing to higher-than-expected sales for e-readers, according to a recent Forrester report. The report, issued in early October, boosted projections that analysts there set earlier this year for e-reader sales. Forrester expects sales of 900,000 units during November and December for a new 2009 total of 3 million units, more than the initial 2 million projection.
While Sony and others have been selling e-readers for years, Amazon jump-started the market when it added wireless access to its Kindle. Users don't pay a monthly fee or a transaction charge but can buy and download books over the wireless connection. Sony's Daily Edition and the Barnes & Noble Nook adopted a similar model.
Sony's Daily Edition, its first with a wireless connection, opened for preorders on Wednesday. Sony said it couldn't guarantee a delivery date and that devices would ship Dec. 18 through Jan. 8.
More people than expected signed up to find out about the Daily Edition's availability, and the company will deliver as many as it can in time for the holidays, a company spokesman said earlier this week.
Amazon started selling the first version of the Kindle in late 2007. The latest version appears to still be in stock.