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Barnes & Noble's nook digital book reader to let users lend titles to their friends

October 20, 2009 |  4:49 pm
Nook_one hand view
The $259 nook digital book reader. Credit: Barnes & Noble.

Barnes & Noble Inc., looking ahead to the next chapter in digital publishing, this afternoon took the wraps off an electronic book reader, dubbed "nook." 

Anyone who has read Dr. Seuss' "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" will recall Theodor Geisel's Nook who took a look at the book on a hook. For Barnes & Noble's $259 device, the hook is its ability to let users lend their books to their friends for up to 14 days at a time. Using the LendMe feature, nook owners can send a copy of their digital titles to their friends' iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry or computer.

The second hook: The nook marries a gray-scale E Ink screen, which is standard with other digital readers such as the Sony Reader or the Kindle, with a separate color touch screen below the E Ink display (see photo to the right). As with the Kindle and the upcoming Sony Daily Edition, nook lets shoppers browse and buy books, newspapers and magazines wirelessly, and without a computer, by hopping on AT&T's cellular phone network.

The New York bookseller said it would start distributing the device in November (free shipping if ordered from the company's online store).

Barnes & Noble, which operates more than 777 stores in the U.S., in July re-launched its online bookstore, which carried 700,000 digital titles.

-- Alex Pham

Follow my random thoughts on games, gear and technology on Twitter @AlexPham.

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