Folks waiting to get their hands and eyes on a Barnes & Noble (s bks) Nook needn’t wait much longer. The bookseller today announced in-store availability of the eInk device starting mid-week. The Nook is also listed as “in stock” for online orders, so it appears that production has either caught up to demand or the company has increased production. The official press release says that Barnes & Noble has “ramped up production and is shipping stock to the majority of its stores.” Economics aside, this opens up the market for potential buyers to try the $259 device, and even walk away with one from a brick-and-mortar store, if they want to. Starting on February 10, you can check local in-store availability on the Nook website.
Coinciding with the increased device availability is a firmware upgrade for all Nook devices. Version 1.2 just arrived and will appear as automatic, over-the-air install for Nook owners. Folks that prefer to manually upgrade their Nook, can find the installation files and instructions on the Nook support site. Matt Miller has already updated his Nook and shows off the latest features in a video demo at The Mobile Gadgeteer.
Matt likes the larger navigation buttons on the color display and I can see why — you can’t miss those up and down buttons now. His content from bookstores other than Barnes & Noble now show the correct titles and book information. There’s also a new “Lend Me” icon indicating if a book can be loaned out and personal documents or other content is sortable by author or title. Barnes & Noble mentions additional enhancements like page numbers for bookmarks, easier navigation of daily subscription issues and an improved in-store connectivity experience. Make sure you watch to the end of Matt’s video — he has one other “feature” on his Nook that you just can’t buy in any store.
Related research from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):