USA TODAY US Edition
New Nook lets you read in dark without external light
Barnes & Noble Glow light technology eliminates need for external lighting
Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight costs $139 and will be available in May. Barnes & Noble says light was most-requested feature.
NEW YORK — Barnes & Noble on Thursday unveiled a Nook electronic reader that it says becomes the first E-inkbased device that lets you read in the dark, without an external reading light.
The Nook Simple Touch with Glow light is “the most versatile e-reader that’s ever been created,” says CEO William Lynch Jr. You can read with it on a sunny beach as well as in a dark bedroom.
E Ink screens like the one on the Nook and Amazon’s rival Kindle devices replicate well the experience of reading on paper — even in the bright outdoors. But until now, such screens were rendered useless in the dark without a light, same as a physical book. Barnes & Noble’s Glow light technology changes that.
There’s been speculation online that Amazon is preparing its own Kindle E Ink reader with built-in lighting technology for this year. Amazon declined to comment.
This latest Nook costs $139 and will become available in early May, though Barnes & Noble has started taking preorders on its website and in stores. Barnes & Noble isn’t making changes to the other Nook readers in its lineup, including the light-free but otherwise similar $99 E-ink-based Nook Simple Touch reader.
The company’s color Nook Color and Nook Tablet reader tablets, along with the Amazon Kindle Fire and the Apple ipad, use different screen technologies that do let you read in the dark but not easily outside.
Both of Barnes & Noble’s E Ink devices have highcontrast, six-inch grayscale touch-screens, 2GB of storage, ample room for about 1,000 books, with a slot to expand through micro sd. Both deliver ebooks and magazines through Wi-fi and carry the same paperback-size footprint. The Glow light version is actually a tad lighter — 6.95-ounces vs. 7.48 ounces.
Most Barnes & Noble e-book titles cost $9.99 or less. Lynch declined to comment on the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit filed Wednesday against Apple and major publishers that charged they had conspired to raise the prices that consumers pay for e-books.
In demonstrations, the soft light appeared to fill the screen uniformly. You can manually adjust brightness, but there’s no sensor that would automatically detect the lighting conditions in the room. The new reader comes with a built-in screen protector and power adapter. Page turns are fast. With Wi-fi off, the company says, you can read for more than a month on one battery charge, based on a half-hour of daily reading with Glowlight set at its default brightness level.
Barnes & Noble said a light was the most-requested feature since Simple Touch’s debut. Two out of every three readers it recently polled read in bed; and 42% said they have moved to another room to avoid disturbing their partner.