Barnes & Noble’s new Nook is for reading in the dark

If you are one of the 64 percent of people who read in bed, do you need a dedicated e-reader? Yes, says Barnes & Noble (s BKS), so that you don’t disturb that special someone sleeping beside you.

The company’s newest Nook is the $139 Simple Touch with GlowLight (leaked Wednesday by The Digital Reader). It has a front-lit screen and it is aimed at the person who likes to stay up late reading while her partner snores beside her. B&N says the “number-one request from e-ink customers is the ability to read in the dark to avoid bothering a significant other.” (See more slightly hilarious statistics from Barnes & Noble’s “bedtime reading debate” survey below.)

Nook with GlowLight looks similar to the existing $99 Nook Simple Touch, until you turn the LED GlowLight on. Then you get “uniform light across an E Ink display, creating a better nighttime reading experience than LCD.” (The eBook Reader Blog explains a bit more about how this technology works.) The adjustable GlowLight is designed to behave more like a bedside lamp or sunlight and less like a computer, iPad or TV screen, so it shouldn’t affect users’ sleep patterns.

Specs At 6.95 ounces, Nook with GlowLight is a bit lighter than the 7.48-ounce original Nook Simple Touch. If the Nook with GlowLight has the light turned on continuously and Wi-Fi off, its battery life is supposed to be over a month. With GlowLight off, the battery life is over two months, the same as the original Nook SimpleTouch.

Availability Nook with GlowLight is available for pre-order today. It ships and will be available in stores in early May, in time for “moms, dads and grads.”

Competition Amazon may be working on its own front-lit Kindle; TechCrunch reported last week that “a new generation of glowing Kindles will be coming our way sometime this year.”

Barnes & Noble says the $139 for the Nook with GlowLight is a bargain. The device ships with a power adapter and “revolutionary built-in screen protector.”  To get a similar experience from Amazon, B&N says, you’d need to buy the ad-free Kindle Touch ($139) and separately purchase a power adapter, reading light and screen protector.

Now for those funny sleep stats B&N polled 1,358 adult readers in early March and found:

West Coasters, take note: “For couples in the Bay Area, reading in bed with the light on may be a hidden source of relationship distress. San Francisco respondents are more likely than those in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston and Chicago to say reading with a light in bed is something their partner does that interferes with their sleep [or] be annoyed by their significant other using a light to read while they are trying to fall asleep.” Also, “More than 1 in 3 say that instead of accommodating a sleepy bedmate by turning off the light, the partner who wants to sleep should simply roll over or cover his or her eyes.”

This reminds me of the type of argument my parents would have You better believe that’s intentional. Over 70 percent of Nook buyers are women between the ages of 25 and 45 and B&N is not necessarily trying to win over the iPad-in-bed crowd here (though that would be a nice bonus). Instead, the company hopes the Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight is the kind of device that your mom (or, well, your wife…or yourself…yikes) will stack on her bedside table alongside the cough drops, hand lotion and Kleenex.