Just when the Amazon Kindle e-book finally starts international shipping, along comes another.
British bookworms can now buy the Kindle from the US Amazon store on an AT&T international contract). Meanwhile, behemoth bookseller chain Barnes & Noble has waded in with an Android-based e-book with a full colour screen. The 7.7in screen Nook will cost $259 - the same price as the Kindle.
In common with other eBook readers, it uses E-Ink's electronic type, but the Nook is the first colour reader to launch and is also being touted by Barnes & Noble as the most advanced eBook reader to date. It comes with 3G wireless as well as Wi-Fi. As with the Amazon Kindle, this connectitivity is provided by AT&T. It has 2GB of onboard memory and also accepts SD cards should you want to extend the 1,500-strong book list the internal memory can store. It will work with both PCs and Macs.
What especially caught our eye here was the LendMe feature. This allows Nook owners to virtually lend a book they've bought to a friend with a suitable device on which to read it - anything with a reasonable size screen, be that a netbook, an iPhone, a BlackBerry and so on. The friend then has two weeks to read it.
There will be a range of covers that can be bought for the nook so owners can personalise theirs. We've asked Barnes & Noble about the possibility of international usage for the Nook, but haven't yet had word.
However, now that the concept of an ebook that runs off the Google smartphone OS has been proven - and with colour to boot - we're hopeful the US bookstore will also offer it worldwide and that other manufacturers will follow its lead. If so, we sincerely hope ebooks themselves will start to drop in price.
The Barnes & Noble Nook is the first eBook reader to use the Google Android operating system