New York -
today released a revamped version of its basic Nook e-reader that features a full touch screen.
The revamped Nook, The Simple Touch Reader, has the same 6-inch readable area as the first-generation model, but it drops the four buttons found on the original and the small touchscreen. There is also a new user interface, more fonts and screen sizes and faster page turns with less flashing, the company said.
The Nook is available for pre-order today for $139 and is expected to ship around June 10, said William Lynch, CEO of Barnes & Noble.
"There is a portion of the market that does not need all the functionality of the NookColor. This is the easiest to use, most portable e-reader ever created," Lynch said at a press event held here at the flagship Barnes & Noble store in Union Square.
Lynch said customers had requested a very basic e-reader someone's grandmother could easily figure out, that could fit in one hand and was able to quickly dive into the bookseller's online store for a simpler shopping experience.
Jamie Iannone, Barnes & Noble's president of digital products, said the new model, at 7.5 ounces, is 35 percent lighter and 15 percent thinner than the original model. The two-month battery life is based on about 30 minutes of reading time per day, he said.
Overall it is about two inches shorter as it drops the lower color touchscreen found on the first Nook. There are now six fonts and seven type sizes to choose from and the improved user interface gives book recommendation, along with more detail about the book that is being read.
Lynch said it is being offered only in a Wi-Fi configuration as sales data indicates customers are not as interested in 3G as originally thought, even for the Color Nook. The new model cannot handle apps nor will the new user interface be available to owners of the first generation Nook.
The company also lowered the price on the original Nook to $119, from $139, for the Wi-Fi version and $30 to $169 for the 3G model. These will be discontinued after stocks sell out.
Lynch claimed Barnes & Noble now has a 25 percent share of the e-book market compared to 17 percent in print books.