The Nook, introduced in October, has received mixed reviews, mostly because of software bugs and slow response times. Barnes & Noble is apparently trying to address some of those problems with version 1.1 of the e-reader software, released Monday.
According to Barnes & Noble's support site, the update addresses the page turning and formatting problems, and improves startup time for some features. In addition, the v1.1 eliminates page skipping with some e-books and provides "overall system improvements," the bookseller said.
Barnes & Noble plans to ship more extensive software in the near future. "We expect to conduct a larger Nook software update early next year," Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said in an e-mail sent toInformationWeek Tuesday.
Along with fixing software problems, Barnes & Noble has struggled to ship enough Nooks to meet demand. While orders taken before Nov. 20 were supposed to arrive in time for Christmas, the company acknowledges that a "very small percentage" won't meet the deadline. As a result, customers who don't get their Nooks on time will receive $100 gift certificates for purchases on Barnes & Noble online, the company said. Nooks ordered today won't ship until Feb. 1.
In the meantime, Barnes & Noble's competitors appear to be doing substantially better in meeting demand. Amazon as of Tuesday was offering "free" two-day shipping for the Kindle, which is the market leader. Sony, which recently launched a new version of the Reader, was promising delivery of the device by Christmas on orders placed by Dec. 20.
E-readers are among the hottest-selling items in the holiday season. Forrester Research predicts that 3 million units will be sold this year in the United States, with 30% of those sales occurring in November and December. Next year, U.S. sales will reach 10 million units, Forrester predicts.