October 20, 2009, 8:02 AM — Today is the day of the Barnes & Noble press event where it is expected they'll announce their new e-reader. Last week Gizmodo leaked some images of a curious device with two screens: a larger e-ink greyscale for book reading, and a smaller color LCD screen for (presumably) web browsing.
Yesterday the Wall Street Journal (subscription required) reinforced the leak by giving us a name: the Nook. Get it? Like a reading Nook? That's a good name for a Barnes & Noble device. Friendly, nonthreatening, evocative of lazy evenings spent curled up with a good book. My mom would use something called a Nook.
In addition to the name, the WSJ (which says its information comes from an ad set to run in this Sunday's New York Times Book Review section) offers a price ($259) and, says the device has a color touchscreen (lending credibility to the leaked Gizmodo shots), some kind of wireless connectivity and that the device allows lending e-books to friends.
I've said before that the lending aspect seems like an important step in making e-readers family friendly; I want to let my partner read a book I've bought without giving up my e-reader (she would have her own). The accepted way to do this currently is to tie both e-readers to the same store account, but that feels clunky to me. When the store gives me recommendations I want them to be based only on prior books I've bought, not get suggestions based on what we've both purchased. We don't have kids, but if we did this could be an even bigger issue. Granted e-book sellers could solve the problem on the store end of things by letting us set up individual profiles tied to one master account, and have the e-readers use the profiles for recommendations and the account for DRM purposes. The easiest and best solution, of course, is for book sellers to learn from the music industry's painful past and just give up on DRM altogether.
My DRM tirades aside, we should know all the details of the Nook later today.