As we reported back in August, Barnes & Noble has announced that its Nook Simple Touch eReaders will launch in the UK in early October. The two touchscreen models are available to pre-order right now from www.nook.co.uk.
Barnes & Noble Simple Touch eReader
It's the first time Barnes & Noble eReaders have been available to buy in the UK, from John Lewis, Argos, Dixons and other retailers.
Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch
The cheaper of the two, the Nook Simple Touch, costs £79 and has a 6in E-Ink display with a 600x800 resolution. You can swipe or touch the screen to flip to the next or previous page, just as with Amazon's Kindle Touch, which currently costs £109.
The Simple Touch has just one button on the front to access the menu, and a power button on the rear. There's 2GB of storage, enough for 1,000 books. Plus, under a small flap at the side hides a microSD slot for adding an extra 32GB if 1,000 books isn't enough for you.
Wi-Fi is built in for downloading books from Barnes & Noble's Shop, which is easy to navigate and search thanks to the touchscreen. There are over 2.5 million titles available for instant download.
It's clear from the specifications that the Nook Simple Touch is designed to match or beat the Kindle Touch, and then undercut it by a mile on price.
The Simple Touch supports ePub5 and PDF files, plus JPG, GIF, PNG and BMP images. Barnes & Noble says the battery will last up to two months with Wi-Fi turned off.
Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch GlowLight
The second model is identical, except for the fact that, as the name suggests, it has a built-in light so you can read in dim or even pitch-black conditions. If you use the light for four hours per day, the battery will still last for a month, says Barnes & Noble. With it turned off, you can expect the same two-month gap between charges as with the cheaper Simple Touch.
Amazon doesn't sell an eReader with a backlight in the UK, and the GlowLight's price of £109 seems set to take even more sales away from Amazon's Kindle Touch. In the US, Amazon has the Kindle Paperwhite with a backlit screen, but that doesn't look like it's coming to the UK before Christmas 2012.
Both eReaders measure 165 x 127 x 12mm, but the GlowLight model is a few grams lighter at 200g. The Simple Touch weighs 212g. They also offer a choice of seven font sizes and six fonts.
We took the photo above of the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight in a darkened room, and you can see the LEDs glowing more brightly across the top of the screen.