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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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik