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Some Nook Buyers Getting $100 Gift Certificates

Barnes & Noble will give credits to some e-book buyers who were promised delivery before Dec. 24.
Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader
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Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader
Barnes & Noble, which has struggled to meet demand for its Nook device, said Monday that some pre-holiday buyers of the e-book reader will receive $100 gift certificates.

Those people who were promised delivery on or before Dec. 24, but won't receive the device until after that date will receive the voucher for use on the bookseller's retail Web site. Barnes & Noble insists only a "very small percentage" of Nook buyers promised the device by the holiday won't receive it on time.

"The vast majority of customers who pre-ordered Nooks and were given a pre-holiday estimated shipping date should receive their devices in time for the holidays," Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating told InformationWeek in an e-mail.

Nook supply is so thin that devices ordered today won't ship until Feb. 1, according to Barnes & Noble's Web site. The bookseller has had to change the ship date several times since introducing the $259 product Oct. 20. Orders placed before Nov. 20 were promised by Dec. 24.

Besides the delay in shipping online orders, the company said this month that the Nook won't arrive in Barnes & Noble retail stores until January. The company had hoped to have the devices ready for in-store sales before the Christmas holiday. Instead, it only plans to have demonstration models available for customers to try the device.

Meanwhile, reviews of the Nook has been mixed, with some high-profile reviewers complaining of software bugs and slow response times. The New York Times reviewer David Pogue called the Nook a "mess" and said it was "clearly rushed out the door" to try to take sales away from competitors, such as Amazon's Kindle, the market leader, and Sony's Reader.

USA Today reviewer Edward Baig was less harsh, but said the Nook was "a promising newcomer with pizazz but also too many bugs and torn pages." B&N has reportedly said it would release a software update to fix some of the bugs.

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.