Nook update adds "Read in Store" functionality

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Huh. This is interesting. So Barnes & Noble just added “Read in Store” functionality to the Nook, a feature that allows you to browse any ebook on your Nook while you’re in the store. When you leave, the ebook disappears. It’s the Brigadoon of ebook reading.

The update also adds chess, soduku, and some improvements to speed and UI. However, the Read in Store is the real star. But is it valuable? I mean when is the last time you stood in a store, in front of a book, and then said to yourself “Hey, I’d like to see this on a screen.” While I’m totally down with the concept, this doesn’t do much for the long-tail books that aren’t situated front and center by the doors.

If you want to update right now, pop over here. Click through for the press release.

Robin also just noticed that the games were the first real Android programs available for the Nook, opening the door for potential app additions along the line. Interestingly stuff.

Barnes & Noble Launches More NOOK™ eBook Reader Firsts:
Read In Store™ Experience and Apps with Games, Along With
Web Browser and Enhanced Wi-Fi® Connectivity

NOOK Customers Can Browse Complete eBooks for Free in Barnes & Noble Stores

Enjoy Chess and Sudoku, Faster Page Turns, Enhanced Home Screen and More
on Updated NOOK Software Now Available

New York, New York – April 23, 2010 – Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest bookseller, announced more new firsts and features for its popular NOOK eBook Reader, including the breakthrough Read In Store experience (in beta) to browse complete eBooks in Barnes & Noble stores at no cost, as well as challenging games – the first Android applications available on the device – enhanced Wi-Fi connectivity and a basic Web browser (in beta). The new features, along with additional reading and device performance optimization, such as faster page turns and an enhanced home screen, are part of NOOK v1.3 software, which is now available.

In Barnes & Noble stores, NOOK automatically connects to the fast and free Wi-Fi where NOOK customers can tap on the Shop button to now enjoy the beta Read In Store feature. Customers can read many complete eBooks available in Barnes & Noble’s expansive eBookstore of more than one million digital titles, even if the physical book is not in stock. From current bestsellers to classics, customers can enjoy a wide variety of eBooks from hundreds of publishers, including all the major publishing houses. Soon, in-store visitors will also be able to virtually flip through leading daily newspapers and magazines covering news, finance and technology available in the eBookstore.

NOOK customers can explore the content of as many digital titles as they wish, on any given day, including any available eBook for up to an hour per day; and to come, current-edition newspapers and magazines in the BN eBookstore will be available for up to 20 minutes per day. NOOK’s Read In Store experience is another first for the retail and eBook arena, like the More In Store™ experience which offers NOOK owners access to free, exclusive content from leading authors and special discounts and promotions when in Barnes & Noble stores.

“Our digital customers will feel at home in our stores with Read In Store, which puts a digital spin on the popular Barnes & Noble bookstore experience that millions of our customers enjoy each day. At no cost, NOOK customers can browse through our robust collection of digital content while enjoying their favorite beverage in our café,” said Tony Astarita, Vice President, Digital Products, Barnes & Noble.com. “We know our customers enjoy discovering great reads in our bookstores. So, we worked closely with our valued publishing partners to offer this innovative digital experience for NOOK owners when they visit any of our 723 Barnes & Noble stores.” Mr. Astarita added, “We also included new games and many other entertaining features to continue to deliver on our promise to make NOOK the most fun, easy-to-use eBook Reader for people who love to read.”
Other updates NOOK customers will enjoy with v1.3 software include:
Reading experience: To help customers get to their content conveniently and quickly, Barnes & Noble has continued to optimize NOOK’s performance with improved page turn speed, faster access to previously opened eBooks, enhanced color touch screen navigation and more.
Games: From eBooks to rooks, play Chess against NOOK with one of three levels of difficulty, or get puzzled with Sudoku, choosing from four levels of play. Control the game using the color touch screen as the game board appears on the E Ink® display.
Wi-Fi connectivity: In addition to Barnes & Noble bookstores and other Wi-Fi hotspots, enjoy high-speed connectivity in even more places, such as those that require access to additional information through a Web browser including hotels and coffee shops.
Basic Web browser (Beta): While connected via Wi-Fi, explore the Web and check Internet-based e-mail accounts on the E Ink display, while using the color touch screen for navigation and to access the virtual keyboard.
Updated home screen: From the home menu (located on the lower color touch screen), get easy, direct access to existing features including Audio and Wi-Fi settings, as well as new features such as Games and beta Web browser.
NOOK v1.3 is now available via manual download at http://www.nook.com/update with additional information and easy-to-follow directions. NOOKs connected to Wi-Fi will receive an automatic NOOK v1.3 update over the next week.

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