Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

What Do You Want to Know About the “Nook,” Barnes & Noble’s New E-Reader?

nook smallNot sure what Barnes & Noble has to say about the “Nook” that it didn’t discuss yesterday, when it unveiled its new e-reader. But the bookseller’s press conference this morning, scheduled for 9:30 EDT, gives us an opportunity to try a little crowd-sourcing experiment: Send me any questions you have and I’ll try to ask the company on your behalf.

You can reach me via email ( or by leaving a comment below. I can’t promise any results, but I’ll do my best.

For the record: From afar, the Nook appears very similar to Amazon’s (AMZN) Kindle, with a few additional bells and whistles–a second color screen at the bottom of the device for navigation, wireless connection from AT&T (T) instead of Sprint (S), Wi-Fi connectivity, etc. The most intriguing tweaks, from my perspective, are a “sharing” feature and the fact that the Nook runs on Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system, which might allow for interesting upgrades over time.

But all of these features seem to be aimed at tech’s earliest adopters and not the general book-buying public that Barnes & Noble (BKS), Amazon, Sony (SNE) and everyone else is hoping to court. Recall that in the early days of music players, plenty of competitors offered competitively priced gadgets with features that Apple’s (AAPL) iPod didn’t have, and today, it’s like we never heard of them. My hunch is that we might see a similar dynamic play out with e-readers.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work