Some customers who placed early orders for Barnes & Noble's Nook may not see their e-reader arrive in time for Christmas.
Barnes & Noble told some customers by e-mail Friday that though their shipment "has been slightly delayed," the company is aiming to get their device to them by Thursday, which is Christmas Eve. If it's not shipped in time, Barnes & Noble promises "with our sincerest apologies, we will send you an e-mail notification on December 23rd with a $100 Barnes&Noble.com Online Gift Certificate." The e-mail also said if the Nook doesn't get there by Christmas Eve, the company will ship the device overnight so customers receive it by December 29.
The Consumerist posted a copy of the e-mail Saturday that one of its readers received.
Responding to a request for comment Saturday, Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said:
"The vast majority of customers who pre-ordered nooks and were given a pre-holiday estimated shipping date should receive their devices in time for the holidays. We are working very hard to keep up with the demand and to get all nook orders out the door and to customers on or before Dec. 24. Unfortunately, there may be a very small percentage of customers who may not receive their nooks before the holiday. We communicated with this handful of customers yesterday, offering our sincere apologies and providing them with the following: a nook holiday gift certificate so that they have something to wrap and give if it was bought as a gift as well as a bn.com gift certificate that can be used online. Any customer who has not yet received their device but whose ship date prior to the holidays has changed in anyway was notified yesterday of updated timing."
Barnes & Noble's e-reader made its debut at a launch event in New York on October 20. The $259 device was touted as the first Android-powered e-reader. A few weeks later, Barnes & Noble said initial demand was so great that it had to start telling customers not to expect delivery until December 11. Originally, early orders were supposed to ship by the end of November.
Toward the end of November, the Barnes & Noble Web site declared the Nook was out of stock. Back then, Keating told CNET the company was "on track to ship devices that were preordered prior to today by the holidays," and that the November 20 update on availability applied only to orders placed starting then. The Nook's arrival in Barnes & Noble stores for sale or demonstration purposes was also expected to be delayed a week because of high demand. The company said it was giving priority to customers who had ordered the device before November 20.
On Saturday, the Barnes & Noble Web site showed the expected ship date for new orders is February 1.