| NEW YORK, April 12
NEW YORK, April 12 U.S. book retailer Barnes &
Noble Inc debuted an e-reader o n T hursday with a screen
that can glow in the dark, a move aimed at improving its
position against Amazon.com.
The 6-inch (15-cm) touch-screen device, which will hit
stores in early May for $139, lands in a market where Apple Inc
and Amazon are battling with Barnes & Noble for
customers who want to read books and magazines on small portable
devices. Weighing just under 7 ounces (200 grams), it is Barnes
& Noble's lightest Nook yet and is aimed at people who want to
read in the dark without a light.
To read in the dark with other e-readers that use electronic
ink, consumers had to buy an external light that attached to the
device. While Apple's iPads have backlit screens, Barnes & Noble
said its technology creates a better nighttime reading
experience than an LCD screen because it throws off less light
and will not disturb a reader's partner who is trying to sleep.
While Barnes & Noble is first to market with a glowing
e-reader, Amazon may be hot on its heels. The Internet retailer
is working on releasing its own e-reader with a glowing screen,
according to a report on Ap ril 6 from the blog TechCrunch.
Amazon did not respond for comment on the report.
"If Amazon isn't already working on one, they will
immediately start working on one now after today's
announcement," Forrester analyst James McQuivey said.
Fighting deep-pocketed Amazon has proved to be an expensive
proposition for Barnes & Noble, as it has poured hundreds of
millions into developing the Nook. In January, the retailer
forecast a steeper net loss than expected for the fiscal year,
as it continues to spend on the technology.
"We are investing a lot but we feel good that those
investments will pay off," Barnes & Noble Chief Executive
William Lynch said in an interview on Th ursday.
He added that the chain, the No. 2 seller of e-books behind
Amazon, is increasing its market share faster than any other
company. In February, he estimated the company captures 27
percent to 30 percent of the U.S. digital books market.
Barnes & Noble introduced its first version of the Nook in
2009, two years after Amazon's Kindle.
Lynch declined to comment on whether Barnes & Noble would
change the prices of its e-books after the Department of Justice
reached a settlement with three major book publishers that it
says colluded with Apple to push up e-book prices.
Amazon had said it plans to lower its e-book prices. Apple
did not comment o n Wednesday on a lawsuit filed against it and
five booksellers alleging collusion.
"We'll come out with some points of view on that in the
coming weeks," Lynch told Reuters.
Users can turn off the glowing feature on the screen to read
outdoors as well, while the battery can last one month with the
glow on without Wi-Fi. The $139 price on the new Nook is the
same as that of Kindle Touch without ads.
McQuivey, the Forrester analyst, said the device would
appeal to Barnes & Noble customers, as well as consumers who
have never bought an e-reader before. Attracting Kindle users
will be a tougher proposition.
"To its core base, it says, 'we are still committed to
this,' but if you owned a Kindle for years, there's no way
you're going to move to Barnes & Noble at this point," McQuivey
Barnes & Noble shares fell 72 cents or 6.13 percent on
Thursday to $11.05. Amazon shares rose $2.73 or 1.4 percent to
$190.69 per share.