Barnes & Noble Fixes Nook Software - InformationWeek

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Barnes & Noble Fixes Nook Software

The update addresses performance problems including slow page turning and poor formatting of e-books.

Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader
(click image for larger view)
Barnes & Noble Nook eBook Reader
Barnes & Noble has released its first software update for the Nook, fixing performance problems that included slow page turning and improper formatting of some downloaded electronic books.

The Nook, introduced in October, has received mixed reviews, mostly because of software bugs and slow response times. Barnes & Noble is apparently trying to address some of those problems with version 1.1 of the e-reader software, released Monday.

According to Barnes & Noble's support site, the update addresses the page turning and formatting problems, and improves startup time for some features. In addition, the v1.1 eliminates page skipping with some e-books and provides "overall system improvements," the bookseller said.

Barnes & Noble plans to ship more extensive software in the near future. "We expect to conduct a larger Nook software update early next year," Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating said in an e-mail sent toInformationWeek Tuesday.

Along with fixing software problems, Barnes & Noble has struggled to ship enough Nooks to meet demand. While orders taken before Nov. 20 were supposed to arrive in time for Christmas, the company acknowledges that a "very small percentage" won't meet the deadline. As a result, customers who don't get their Nooks on time will receive $100 gift certificates for purchases on Barnes & Noble online, the company said. Nooks ordered today won't ship until Feb. 1.

In the meantime, Barnes & Noble's competitors appear to be doing substantially better in meeting demand. Amazon as of Tuesday was offering "free" two-day shipping for the Kindle, which is the market leader. Sony, which recently launched a new version of the Reader, was promising delivery of the device by Christmas on orders placed by Dec. 20.

E-readers are among the hottest-selling items in the holiday season. Forrester Research predicts that 3 million units will be sold this year in the United States, with 30% of those sales occurring in November and December. Next year, U.S. sales will reach 10 million units, Forrester predicts.

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