The release of Barnes & Noble's new electronic book reader, nook, has been delayed. The online and brick-and-mortar retailer said high pre-orders for its device set back the release by one week.
The nook didn't hit store shelves Monday as expected and will instead be available on Dec. 7. And stores that do get the nook will only have a limited number, the company told Reuters.
The nook is the fastest-selling product at Barnes & Noble, according to the company, and pre-orders exceeded expectations. The company sold out of its first allotment for delivery before the holidays. And individuals ordering a nook beginning on Nov. 20 were told not to expect shipment of the device until the week of Jan. 4, according to an official company blog.
In High Demand
The hype surrounding the nook mirrors what rival Amazon.com experienced each time it released a new version of its Kindle e-reader. Pre-orders sold out quickly, and Amazon had a difficult time keeping up with the demand. Sony is facing the same dilemma and is telling consumers that its high-end e-reader will not be available until after Christmas.
While hype surrounding a product increases demand, not having the device available until after the holidays may hurt nook's prospects in the market.
"This does show how hard it is to bring consumer devices to market," said Michael Gartenberg, a vice president at Interpret. "We have had a series of delays to deal with and very limited supplies. Consumers, whose interest may have been piqued by the nook, will not put an IOU under the tree and under the menorah."
While nothing drives demand like telling consumers they cannot have it, in Barnes & Noble's case it didn't work.
"This causes frustration," Gartenberg said. "There is a fine line between things that are hard to find and what is actually available."
Consumers currently have many e-reader choices.
Barnes & Noble's nook, priced at $259, features touchscreen controls, free Wi-Fi, the ability to sample e-books for free, and access to more than one million electronic books, magazines and newspapers.
Amazon's latest Kindle 2 carries a $489 price, but the original Kindle is priced at $259.
Besides Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's nook, and Sony's Reader, there are devices from smaller players, including Astak, Interead and iRex Technologies. Two more will join the e-reader market as early as next year when ASUS and Plastic Logic plan to release devices.
Price, size and choice of content will help consumers with their purchase decisions, according to ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr.
The nook has some features not available in other e-readers, but because it's not available on time and because there haven't been many reviews of the device, consumers may look to the Kindle instead, according to Gartenberg.
"People have not had time to put the nook through its paces, and consumers like to see reviews before making their purchase," he said. "You want something with a proven track record and you will probably go to Amazon."