Barnes & Noble, Amazon push ahead with e-readers

Both Barnes & Noble and Amazon are forging ahead with standalone e-readers, even though each also has a strategy for moving into the multipurpose tablet universe

Now that tablets are all the rage, it's easy to think e-readers may no longer have a market.

Not so fast.

Both Barnes & Noble and Amazon are forging ahead with standalone e-readers, even though each also has a strategy for moving into the multipurpose tablet universe. It probably helps that Amazon just announced Thursday that the online retailer is now selling more e-books than print books.

The latest round comes from Barnes & Noble, which casually revealed in an SEC filing that it will be introducing "a new e-reader device" on May 24. At the moment, we know nothing other than of this new device's existence, but here are some thoughts on what might be coming -- and why.

The company recently launched a significant update to enable apps on its Nook Color tablet, so it seems likely that, instead of releasing another tablet, B&N will update its original Nook e-reader. That model, first released in December 2009, has received software updates, but pales in comparison to Amazon's nearly year-old, third-generation Kindle, which is slimmer and has a sharper, clearer E-Ink Pearl screen.

Another reason to suspect the Nook will get an overdue refresh: B&N settled a long-running dispute with Spring Design, makers of the now-discontinued Alex eReader, by getting "non-exclusive, paid-up royalty free license for the entire portfolio of Spring Design patents and patent applications." This could lead to improved dual-screen technology on a next-generation Nook; the first Nook had a small LCD strip for navigation, but Spring Design's dual-screen approach-with an E-Ink screen on top and a roomy 3.5-inch Android-based LCD on bottom -- was far more functional than B&N's was.

Meanwhile, Amazon updated its Kindle a couple of months ago, introducing the cheaper, $114 Kindle With Special Offers, which makes up for its price cut by advertising special deals on the screensaver. It's an advertising ploy, to be sure; but between that step, and Amazon's recent gift card incentives if you buy a Kindle, and it feels like a sub-$100 e-reader can't be far behind. And at that price, it would be a strong complement to whatever Android tablet Amazon rumors say to expect for this year.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags consumer electronicse-readersamazon.comBarnes & Noble

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Melissa Perenson

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?