So far, the Kindle has dominated the e-reader market in the UK – and for good reason. With its clear display, lightweight body and long battery life, it’s one of the best value e-readers available.
But, could all that be about to change? American bookstore chain Barnes & Noble has just made the long-awaited announcement that it is bringing the Nook to the UK. This will be the US firm’s first international expansion.
In the US, the Nook range has already emerged as the main rival to Amazon’s Kindle, with the cheapest model there costing $99.
The devices will be available to buy online for the UK market from mid-October, so are expected to be on a lot of people’s Christmas lists.
There will also be a companion online store selling more than 2.5m e-books, magazines and newspapers.
No announcement has been made on the price point here in the UK, but, whatever the cost, Barnes & Noble chiefs are confident they can stake a major claim on the British market.
The Nook boasts a screen which “reads just like paper even in bright sunlight”. The e-reader’s makers also claim the Nook has the longest battery life of any e-reader, saying you can read for more than two months, based on half an hour of daily reading, without having to recharge the device.
In the US, they have a 27% share of the e-book market and they will be looking to gain at least that percentage here too.
Launched in October 2009, the Nook is just one of the e-readers that have eaten into Amazon’s market share. At one point, Amazon claimed to generate 90% of sales in the US but that figure now stands at around 60% as the Nook and Apple make inroads.
Barnes & Noble’s chief executive William Lynch said: “We’re confident our award-winning technology, combined with our expansive content – including books, children’s books, magazines, apps, movies and more – will bring UK customers the option they’ve been waiting for.”
He said the Nook was aimed at customers who were both “discerning and highly educated”.
And the Nook has certainly won rave reviews from US critics who have praised its fast display and the backlighting technologies of the Glowlight version which allows you to read in the dark without interrupting any neighbouring slumberers.
Following in the footsteps of its rivals, Barnes & Noble is expected to announce partnerships with high street retailers shortly.
Waterstones already sells Kindles while WH Smith sells Kobo devices in its stores so it is unclear which retailers Nook will go with.
Only Nook’s mono readers, the Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight will be introduced to the UK, with the 7-inch Nook Color tablet expected to follow later.
The move comes as the popularity of e-books continues to increase with Amazon recently announcing that electronic editions were now outselling hard copies.