I stopped by local Norwalk, CT Barnes & Noble to gauge interest in the company's latest product the Nook, the Google Android-powered ebook reader. What I found was an extremely enthusiastic staff who were thrilled to walk me through the product, show me its features and explain they are sold out. They say orders have been brisk and customer interest is great. In fact I witnessed someone going from looking over my shoulder as I tested the device to buying it inside of a few minutes.
In my experience, when product categories are in their infancy, having a brick and mortar demo to ease the customer's concerns helps sales. I witnessed this firsthand and even though the company is late to the game they have the advantage of in-store demonstrations of the machine.
Some suggestions for Barnes & Noble:
- Have more signage in stores promoting this device
- Give away some coffee in exchange for having customers see a Nook demo
- If that is too rich of an idea give away coffee coupons sponsored by the Nook
- Get to work on a faster reader soon as this one is a bit sluggish
What I like about the new gadget is its ability to play music, have batteries replaced and take additional storage via a micoSD card. Sadly, you need a screwdriver to change the battery but other than that, this little device excels because it allows you to access free in-store WiFi and use it to read free books while in the store. These are some great benefits to having the reader and the idea reminded me of the less than free model I touched on when referring to a blog post from Bill Gurley.
I think the little gadget has room to become a large player in the market and I am slowly changing my tune regarding ebook readers. Hats off to Amazon for generating interest in a new area of tech and to B&N for taking the concept one step further and mastering the integration between the electronic and brick and mortar worlds. Matthew Miller has more on this new device as well as an in-depth video demo below. One interesting thing Matt tried was to take the AT&T SIM card out of the device and put it an unlocked phone. Basically he confirmed the M2M SIM card is useless outside the Nook.