NEW YORK (
Barnes & Noble
is taking a step back with its newest Nook device, stripping out the bells and whistles with what it dubs the "simplest touch reader." But is launching a pure e-reader the smartest move for the book seller?
Nook Simple Touch may come as a surprise to Wall Street, which expected Barnes & Noble to narrow the gap between the Nook and
iPad. Instead, the company has chosen to intensify the competition with
Nook Simple Touch features a black-and-white, e-ink touch screen, with no color capabilities or applications. Barnes & Noble touts the device's long battery life, which can last up to two months if used for just a half-hour a day with the Wi-fi turned off.
>Click here to take our Barnes & Noble poll.
Nook Simple Touch, priced at $139, will go head-to-head with Amazon's basic Kindle, which retails as low as $114 with ads.
Barnes & Noble's New Nook: No Color, No Apps
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The e-reader is currently available for pre-orders and will go on sale in time for Father's Day.
For all intents and purposes, the Nook has been Barnes & Noble's saving grace, becoming the best selling item of all-time at the retailer during the holiday season.
It is also believed to be one of the driving forces behind
$1 billion buyout offer made last week.
"Barnes & Noble is the established leader in bookselling and is at the forefront of the transition to digital, with a management team that has demonstrated expertise in operations and positioned the company for growth in a dynamic marketplace," Liberty said in a statement.
But is this the type of digital advancement Liberty was expecting next out of Barnes & Noble?
Chief Executive William Lynch said during the Nook unveiling on Thursday that management was inspired to create Nook Simple Touch from a letter it received from a customer, looking for a device to purchase for a parent who was having difficulty reading small print. The goal of the device, Lynch said, is to minimize the technology aspects so users can be immersed in reading.
While Barnes & Noble says Nook Simple Touch is the "e-reader for everyone" it is clearly targeting the grandma demographic, a market few gadgets address.
On the one hand, this could be an untapped market that is craving to be noticed, or it could end up being a dead-end for Barnes & Noble.
Following the launch of Apple's iPad last year, it has been widely debated as to how much legs dedicated e-readers still maintain.
What do you think? Is there a market for Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch or is this a step backward for the company? Take our poll and see what other readers are saying.
--Written by Jeanine Poggi in New York.
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