Barnes and Noble's e-reader experiment, the Nook, has been from the start a disruptive and evasive fly buzzing around Amazon. Now the Nook e-books ecosystem's taking another big step, and launching as an Android app.
B&N notes that the new Nook app is a move to "consistent Nook branding" across all the B&N e-reader experiments, and the app itself is a "fun and easy-to-use" way to access B&N's stable of digital books on Android devices. It also highlights that that the app is the only e-reader app for the Android platform "offering the ability to share eBooks with friends."
The app does all the usual tricks:
- Access to B&N's ebookstore, with one million-plus titles.
- Access to ebooks you've purchased when reading on other platforms.
- Book lending to friends.
- Adjustable fonts, landscape, portrait views and orientation lock.
- Animated or sliding page turns, navigation scroll, bookmarks.
- Syncing with other platforms to share your bookmark info.
- Support for ePub format books, "quickly becoming the industry standard".
But it's actually the first Nook "experience" that's designed to carry the Nook brand and look-and-feel throughout the app, which also aligns it with the physical Nook e-reader devices themselves. This move is actually the most potent bit of the news, especially as B&N notes that it'll be reflected in tweaks to the iPhone app and iPad apps in the "coming months" and it shows that B&N is confident enough in its e-publishing experiment to truly set it up as a competitor to Amazon's Kindle empire. With early sales that blasted past the Kindle's initial sales figures, this confidence may well be well-placed ... assuming just one thing: That the Nook hardware's price-drop "race to the bottom" isn't a sign that the whole nascent industry isn't about to stumble.
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