Demand is so strong for the Nook that Barnes & Noble has begun telling new customers not to expect delivery of the soon-to-be-released e-reader until the second week of December.
When the nation's largest bookseller unveiled the device in October, customers placing early preorders were told they could expect the Nook to ship by the end of November; customers placing preorders now are being told they can expect shipment by December 11. The new shipping date was first reported by Brighthand.com.
A Barnes & Noble representative confirmed the December 11 shipping date but disputed the characterization of the new shipping date as a delay.
"Like with any hot, new consumer device, the sooner you order it, the sooner you receive it," said Mary Ellen Keating, senior vice president of corporate communications and public affairs. "We had high expectations for the Nook and couldn't be happier" with preorder sales. However, she declined to say how many of the e-readers had been preordered.
"We are working hard to meet demand for the holidays," she said.
Earlier this month, start-up Spring Design filed a lawsuit against Barnes & Noble, alleging the bookseller misappropriated its trade secrets in the design of the Nook. Spring Design had announced its Alex e-reader just days before Barnes & Noble formally unveiled the Nook. Both e-readers use the Android operating system and combine an e-ink screen with a color touch screen. It seeks both monetary damages and a halt to sales of the Nook.
The $259 Nook, a challenger to Amazon.com's Kindle, will join an expected boom in e-reader sales. In a report released last month, Forrester Research raised its 2009 forecast for e-reader sales in the United States to 3 million units from its previous prediction of 2 million sales. Forrester also expects Amazon's Kindle to command about 60 percent of the e-reader market in 2009, compared with 35 percent for Sony's Reader.