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Summary:

Barnes & Noble CEO William Lynch says that the company plans to embed NFC (near field communication) chips into its Nooks. Users could take their Nook into a Barnes & Noble store and scan a print book to get info on it or buy it.

Nook Digital Shop
photo: Barnes & Noble

On the heels of yesterday’s news that Microsoft is investing $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook and college businesses, B&N CEO William Lynch says that the company plans to embed NFC (near field communication) chips into Nooks. Users could take their Nook into a Barnes & Noble store and wave it near a print book to get info on it or buy it.

That could help someone gain quick information on their Nook about a book, making it easy to go from browsing to buying. Consumers could also choose to just buy a printed book in the store with the additional information gleaned from the Nook. The model would help ensure that showrooming leads to sales through Barnes & Noble, whether users ultimately purchase a print or e-book, instead of sending them online and possibly Amazon.

Lynch tells Fortune:

We’re going to start embedding NFC chips into our Nooks. We can work with the publishers so they would ship a copy of each hardcover with an NFC chip embedded with all the editorial reviews they can get on BN.com. And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience. That’s coming, and we could lead in that area.

The NFC integration can shorten the amount of time it takes to pull up information on a mobile device. Users could also do this by scanning a QR code or bar code from their smartphone, but the process is usually slower.

Lynch also explains how Nook could integrate with Microsoft Office:

So again we haven’t announced anything specifically, but imagine an integration where an information worker, student, author, consumer, creates something in Office and has it immediately published for sale through the Nook book store. It starts to open a lot of exciting possibilities.

  1. Aaron Ramirez Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    The only difference this is going to make is that the books are now going to be more expensive, and the nooks are too. Why don’t they just put a camera on a nuke and make a cover recognition software that recognizes a book simply by pointing the camera to the book.

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  2. Cynthia Washburn Tuesday, May 1, 2012

    Ummm… I can already buy a print book in the book store – at the cash register with this thing they call money. And I don’t even have to carry another electronic gadget to do it.

    I also don’t understand why I’d want to purchase a document that someone created in Word – why wouldn’t they convert it to PDF or ePub first? This makes no sense.

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  3. Interesting idea. The chips and its identifier should be universally accesible, I am sure they will, so not just B&N, anybody can use those as *hyperlinks*, doubt the publishers will settle for a closed system. The big advantage of chips over optical recognition is that you can identify each book instance, so you can start creating stores that have hardly any inventory and every seller can potentially get a small commission, not only big chains anybody. If I scan the book at my friends house and make a purchase after that my friend should get the commission.

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