Amazon.com’s Kindle may have the highest profile of any e-reader, but Barnes & Noble seems to be pretty darn serious about its Nook. The New York Times reports that the company is planning to make space for Nook boutiques in its superstores, dedicating a thousand feet of floor space near their cafés to Nooks, Nook accessories, and in-person and video demonstrations.
B&N plans to free up room for Nooks in part by shrinking space devoted to CDs; in this era, you gotta think that it probably would be deemphasizing sales of music on shiny discs no matter what. It says it’s not going to carry fewer dead-tree books.
The move presumably means that B&N is in the hardware business for the long haul and already has future generations of Nooks in the works. The first-generation Nook got off to a somewhat bumpy start–its software was slow and buggy, and some promised features weren’t immediately available–but the company has improved it through multiple software updates. It’s also knocked the price down to $199 and introduced a $149 model with Wi-Fi but no 3G connection.
Barnes & Noble also offers e-reader software for the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, PC, and Mac, and it powers the e-book stores for devices from Nook competitors such as Pandigital. The Times doesn’t say whether the new boutiques will spotlight any of these other ways to read digital books.