Barnes & Noble Joins the Ebook Reader Game with Nook

Barnes & Noble is the latest company to jump into the ebook reader market with the introduction of its Nook. The Nook is aimed at competing with Amazon's Kindle, and adds a splash of color to the reading experience thanks to its secondary display.

Like the Kindle, the Nook includes a six-inch diagonal E Ink display, but also sports a small color touch-sensitive display for navigation and browsing book titles. In another nod to the Kindle, the Nook includes free 3G wireless downloads. Instead of partnering with Sprint, Barnes & Noble struck a deal with AT&T.

The Nook from Barnes & Noble

The Nook also includes built-in Wi-Fi and free network access at all Barnes & Nobles stores.

The ebook reader includes 2GB of storage for books, magazines, newspapers and music, and comes with a built-in speaker and a stereo headphone jack. The Nook supports native PDF documents so users don't have to change file formats before uploading their own content.

The Nook is priced in line with the Kindle at US$259, and is Mac and Windows-compatible. In a break from Amazon's stricter licensing restrictions, Nook users can share titles with each other for 14 days at a time.

While the Nook isn't an Apple product, it at least offers a hint of what could be in store if the Mac and iPhone maker releases a tablet device with ebook support. Barnes & Noble's move to replace physical buttons with a touch interface looks to be a move in the right direction, and the device runs on Google's Android OS which potentially makes the Nook easier to upgrade and enhance.

With Amazon, Sony and now Barnes & Noble in the mix, the ebook reader market looks to be heating up. Whether or not Apple wants raise the temperature even more however, is still limited to talk from the rumor mill.