Barnes and Noble's Nook sells out before release

If you were waiting until after Thanksgiving to start shopping for the holidays (silly you) and were hoping to pick up Barnes & Noble’s new e-reader, the Nook, for the technophilic book-lover in your family, you may be out of luck. According to the B&N website, “the hottest holiday gift is out of stock.”

The devices have been disappearing like $259 hotcakes, selling out well before Black Friday and the device’s predicted release date, Nov. 30. Those who order the color-screen reader after last Friday will not receive theirs until the New Year, with the site currently predicting a ship date of Jan. 4.

This initial sales success positions the Nook as a top alternative to Amazon’s Kindle, especially since Sony recently announced possible delays for its own e-reader, the Daily Edition. The Kindle experienced similar stock depletions during last year’s holiday season.

With all these units being sold, it’s clear that e-readership is up and the phenomenon is more than just a passing literary fad. Even with hardcovers selling at $9 a pop, consumers are still flocking to get their hands on these portable libraries, and, I’ll admit, even a Luddite like myself has entertained jumping on board the biblio-file bandwagon.

How about you guys? Will e-readers be the new iPhones, ascending rapidly from luxury techno-gadget to completely ubiquitous companion? Or will you give up your glue-and-paper copies only when the librarians pry them from your cold, dead hands?

Comments (27 total) Add your comment
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  • sbwm

    Avid Reader with rooms of books – instant convert to the Kindle and will never go back. It is just awesome! I didn’t think I would like it at all – but I do. Instead of 8 books stacked by my bed – Kindle. Travelling with a stacks of books – no more! Carpool line – now patient while waiting. I couldn’t ask for more.

  • maiv

    I’m not surprised. I’m slowly turning into an e-book fan after pledging not to be for the longest time

  • Crystal

    I thought that I would not like the whole e-book thing, and then my mom bought me a Kindle. Yeah, I’m a convert. Loooooove it.

  • Ace

    I love the idea of e-readers. So much easier to store multiple books, saves paper, cheaper hardbacks. But I just think I would miss the feel of holding a book and turning the pages. Not to mention…don’t we stare at computer screens enough already?

    • Jackie

      Ace, I couldn’t agree more! I think I like the idea of the e-readers more than the e-readers themselves. I sit in a cubicle and work in front of a computer all day – why would I want to sit on a train and look at a screen on my way home? Plus, I would definitely miss having an actual book in my hand. There was an episode of “Buffy” from season 1 where Giles is talking to Miss Calendar about computers versus books, and he says he doesn’t like computers because of the smell. When she reminds him that computers don’t smell, he says “I know! Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower or a, a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell. Musty and, and, and, and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer, is, uh, it… it has no, no texture, no, no context. It’s, it’s there and then it’s gone. If it’s to last, then, then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should
      be, um… smelly.”

      • Amy

        Thank you so much for posting that. Not only do I love Buffy but that is exactly how I feel about books. I’m not against e-readers, but I would always prefer a book any day.

    • Roy

      > don’t we stare at computer screens enough already?

      > I sit in a cubicle and work in front of a computer all day – why would I want to sit on a train and look at a screen on my way home?

      Realizing these are two separate quotes, I feel they share a common theme – that we look at computer screens too much. I feel that I should point out that e-readers do not have a classical computer-screen: it’s not backlit, it’s not LCD or CRT, it is e-Ink, which has far more in common with a printed page than a monitor.

      I also imagine the other uses of the reader, such as being able to search through books quickly, the ability to carry around my library with me.

  • Jill

    I have A LOT of hardcovers and paperbacks and I think I would miss the feel and smell of a real book. I guess I’m still old-fashioned that way. And yeah, Ace is right….we do stare at computer screens way too much as it is. Texting while driving anyone?

  • Stacie

    Never will I use an e-reader. Too many things would be lost.

    • Peter

      I love books as much as the next person, but please explain how “Too many things would be lost”?

      I have shelves of hardcovers and boxes of paperbacks in boxes and I am looking forward to my nook.

  • JPX

    Who would want to read a book in this manner? For me holding the physical book is part of the joy of the reading experience. Reading a book on a tiny screen seems grossly unsatisfying.

  • Joe

    I fear for the future of books. I understand the convenience of this but reading off a screen annoys me and i like having a hard copy.

  • JQR

    I like the idea of lots of books at my finger-tips. But…I don’t like not knowing what page I’m on (depending on text size chosen, the number of words on a page will vary and so there is no real page number) and often when I’m reading a book I’ll want to flip back a page just to remind myself what just happened – seems to be more of a hassle to do so on an e-reader. Furthermore, I read in bed – laying down on my side, with the book held proped open with one hand, etc. – hard to do w/an e-reader. Lastly – I don’t buy books, I use the library and when I do own a book, I love to lend my favorites to others (and vice versa).

    • Caitlin

      I know exactly what you’re saying. My aunt has a Kindle and I think it’s amazing how she has so many books all stuffed inside one thing. But I hated the idea of no color covers, no page numbers or how you could no longer feel the page texture in your hand. Then she got me a Kindle for my birthday. Instead of returning it I read one book and got hooked. I actually find it easier to hold. So what no page numbers or colors? I can now have more than two options to read when I travel or on my break. When I heard the Nook had a color part I pretty much jumped out of my chair with excitement. BUT I do miss actually the collection of book flaps and such, but overall the e-reader is so much better and sadly satisfying. :)

      • Caitlin

        Oh P.S. Nook allows you to lend books out to anyone with a PC, Mac, iPod Touch, or iPhone for about two weeks. It may not be the same thing as just lending out the physical book but it’s still possible.

  • ENC

    I was hesitant on the Kindle, then when this came out I went for it. I have the same reservations about real books vs e-books so Im curious how my opinions will change once I start using it.

  • Juniper

    I would love a Nook for traveling. I read really fast and I’m usually finished with a book in a few days. I’m planning an extended trip in a few years and it’s just not feasible to take lots of books with me, or to keep buying them ($!) or to depend on book exchanges in hostels to have something good. However, a Nook would be perfect – lightweight, lots of books, and I could read in the dark. But in normal circumstances, I’d choose a book over a Nook any day. (Also, the name reminds me of a baby pacifier.)

  • Ailene

    I’m itching to get one, but either way I won’t get it in time for XMAS so I’m still thinking about it. I love physical books, like everyone here, but it would just save me a lot of space personally. I have so many books piled up that it would be really nice to not have to buy a physical copy of every book I wanted to read.

  • SeekerMommy

    I am also more of a fan of actual books than e-books. I suspect that I would have been more of a fan had the price of Kindle E-Books not been very close in price to the actual books themselves. If I am going to pay that much money, I want the hard copy.

    The plus of the Kindle over the Nook is that it utilizes whatever wireless service it can and is not just reliant on AT&T as the Nook is. If you live in an area where AT&T doesn’t have a strong network presence as I do, then it just isn’t worth it.

    • erinbee

      Actually, Kindle uses Sprint/Nextel.

  • Kate

    I love the kindle. For me to get to a book store is 45 min drive. To order snail mail is 3 to 7. Ebooks are awesome for me!!!

  • john

    For you people complaining about reading off a “computer screen”, do you realize the Nook and Kindle use e-ink displays that aren’t like a typical computer monitor? The e-readers read like ink on paper, the screens are not back lit and they do not reflect. There is no eye strain like reading on a monitor. Try one, you’ll see an e-readr is nothing like a monitor. Plus, if it is dark you need a book light just like reading a normal book. I think some of you are a little confused on how these work.

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