Barnes & Noble Revamps Book GlowLight E-Reader
October 30, 2013

Barnes & Noble Updates The Nook GlowLight Amid Concerns

Michael Harper for – Your Universe Online

Barnes & Noble has unveiled their latest version of the Nook, their black-and-white e-reader. The new Nook comes equipped with a backlight for easier nighttime reading and weighs less than its main competitor, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Barnes & Noble’s e-book and tablet business has been struggling since its beginning underneath heavy competition from Amazon, Apple and others. Their tablets in particular have been unable to capture any significant portion of the market, which may explain why the bookseller has chosen to only update their e-readers and continue to sell last year’s model of the Nook HD tablets.

The company hasn’t decided to abandon the tablet market, but is likely reworking its strategy to thrive in a highly competitive marketplace. These devices fall under the umbrella of Barnes & Noble's Nook Media LLC, a business run by the bookstore chain and other investors, most notably Microsoft. While it had previously been rumored that Barnes & Noble would abandon this business and stop making hardware, Nook Media’s COO says his business isn’t going anywhere.

The Nook GlowLight replaces the previous $99 GlowLight models and improves on the glowing screen. The light behind the e-reader is said to provide a more even glow across the screen while preserving the device’s long battery life of eight weeks. The display has also been improved, providing 60 percent more pixels than previous displays. The amount of storage has also been increased, doubling last year’s model to 4 GB. This means the new Nooks can hold libraries of up to 2,000 books.

The new Nook’s spec sheet fares well against the competition, namely Amazon. At 6.2 ounces, the Nook GlowLight weighs 15 percent less than Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite e-reader. The Paperwhite doesn’t offer a touch screen display and ships standard with ads. For the same $119 price tag, the Nook is free of ads and can display books outside of Barnes & Noble’s library, including titles from Apple’s iBookstore.

Yet even as the Nook stands up as a worthy competitor against the Kindle, Nook Media CEO Michael Huseby admits the e-book business is suffering at the hands of more capable and prominent tablets.

“Black-and-white e-readers aren’t growing the way they were three or four years ago,” said Huseby in an interview with the New York Times. “But for our particular market, our customers who visit our stores and really value Barnes & Noble as a brand, this is a product they really value.”

Nook Media’s chief operating officer Mahesh Veerina agrees and says the company will continue to crank out these products for their customers going forward.

“We’re here to stay and continue to do these products,” said Veerina. “We’re going to the core of what we are — the reading experience — rather than just sell a tablet."

The new Nook GlowLight e-readers are available online and in stores now for $119.