Barnes & Noble is pushing the Nook brand with the release of a new reader app for the Android platform. The company has versions of its reader app for other platforms, and those will be rebranded to reflect the Nook brand, for example, the B&N eReader app on the iPhone will soon become the Nook reader. The Nook app for Android syncs with the user’s online B&N e-book account to bring content to the phone and keep bookmarks the same across devices. This brings the Nook app in line with the syncing ability of the Kindle apps, which helps level the competitive playing field pointed out by Om Malik.
The Nook reader for Android has the typical font setting options, and two page turning animations. Tap the page and the page curls up while turning to the next page. Flick the page right to left and it simply jumps to the next page for those impatient to get on with reading. Users of more than one device will appreciate the rapid syncing of bookmarks and current reading position in open books.
This app is part of B&N’s strengthening of the Nook brand, by extending it beyond the electronic Nook reader. B&N is clearly doing this as Amazon set the bar with the Kindle platform from the beginning. As Om makes clear, Amazon may have already won the e-book war.
All three of the major U.S. booksellers — Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Borders — now have electronic book readers and apps on all of the major smartphone platforms. This makes good business sense as it extends the reach of their proprietary online content to millions of devices, no matter how a particular electronic reader may be selling.
While Amazon has recently bragged about the volume of e-book sales it is making, none of these companies are willing to share what percentage of these sales are actually made for consumption on smartphones instead of the special readers. One has to wonder if consumers are buying more e-books to read on smartphones, and not buying the expensive electronic readers. There are quite a few more smartphones capable of running these apps in consumer hands than the special readers.
Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Irrational Exuberance Over E-Books?