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12/7/2009
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Barnes & Noble Delays Nook Sales In Stores

The company had hoped to have the e-book reader available in its highest-volume stores this week, but online demand is outstripping supply.

Barnes & Noble won't have its new e-book reader available for in-store sales until January 2010.

Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader
(click image for larger view)
Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader

The bookseller had planned to offer the device in its highest-volume stores starting this week. However, "overwhelming demand" from people ordering online made it impossible to sell the Nook in stores too, a spokeswoman said Monday.

"We wanted to make sure we filled preorders first," B&N spokeswoman Carolyn Brown told InformationWeek. B&N will have demonstration models available in stores, so customers can try the device, she said.

B&N said it won't start shipping the Nook to fill orders placed this week or later until Jan. 15. Orders placed between Nov. 20 and last week would ship no earlier than Jan. 5. The retailer hopes to deliver by Christmas orders placed before Nov. 20.

Whether B&N's continuous delays in shipping the Nook will hurt sales remains to be seen. Rivals Amazon and Sony, which make the Kindle and Reader, respectively, have also had delays in shipping their products in the past.

Assuming that B&N can eventually bring supply in line with demand, the Nook, introduced in October, could become a strong competitor to the Kindle and the Reader. Amazon's device currently accounts for the majority of e-reader sales, but the market is very young.

Forrester predicts sales of e-readers will reach 3 million units this year, with 30% of the purchases occurring during the holiday season. E-reader sales next year could exceed 6 million units, according to Forrester.

B&N, meanwhile, plans to sell more than just the Nook at its stores and online. The company in late October said it will also sell Plastic Logic's e-reader, the QUE, starting in January. The QUE is a larger e-reader than the Nook and costs more than $200 more.

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