Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch Now Offers GlowLight Feature

Barnes & Noble's Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight has a display that can be like a backlit tablet's--solving users' reportedly biggest problem while B&N faces its own crisis.

Barnes & Noble€™s newest Nook e-reader is €œamazing in bed,€ the company said in an April 12 statement, introducing the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, the world€™s €œfirst and only€ E Ink Reader that lets users read in the dark. The backlit display, more tablet-like than traditional e-reader, can be activated with the push of a button. (The e-reader€™s only button.)

€œWith a soft, adjustable glow, GlowLight gives bedtime readers just the right amount of light for reading, without disturbing a sleepy spouse,€ according to a company statement.

The Simple Touch, B&N added, €œeliminates the No. 1 problem couples have in bed,€ the issue of one person trying to sleep while the other person reads. Citing a B&N survey of 1,358 adults, people found someone else using a light to read in bed more disruptive than €œa frisky partner€™s €˜midnight moves.€™€

Let€™s stick to the facts. The Simple Touch weighs less than 7 ounces, has built-in WiFi and a battery that lasts through a month of reading on a single charge, even given that new light. It also has a 6-inch touch-screen€”with a touch, users can turn pages, look up works or change the font size. They can also shop from the Nook and download more than 2.5 million books, magazines and newspapers.

The Nook€™s GlowLight also makes it as good for outdoor use€”where women are particularly inclined to read, according to its survey€”as in low-light conditions.

As of April 12, the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, priced at $139, became available for preorder, with B&N promising it€™ll arrive in time for Mother€™s Day (May 13).

The day before, B&N€™s stock price tumbled 6.4 percent, for a total of 17 percent for the month already, The Wall Street Journal reported. The cause was the Department of Justice€™s lawsuit against Apple and five major U.S. book publishers, which the DOJ accused of colluding to keep ebook prices high.

Another way to look at the accusation: They were teaming up keep Amazon from keeping prices overly low. If the DOJ suit enables Amazon to again have greater control of ebook prices, B&N profits may suffer.

€œIf Amazon wants to be aggressive in pricing ebooks and losing money, it will impact Nook€™s profitability in the near term,€ a Janney Montgomery Scott analyst told The Journal, which additionally cited analyst expectations that B&N will post a $62 million operating loss during its fiscal year ending April 28.

In launching its suit€”which now only includes Apple and publishers Macmillan and Penguin, following immediate settlements by Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins€”the DOJ say it sought to help booksellers like B&N.

€œIf approved by the court, this settlement would resolve the Department€™s antitrust concerns with [Apple and the publishers] and would require them to grant retailers€”such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble€”the freedom to reduce the prices of their ebook titles,€ U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in an April 11 statement, preceding a press conference on the suit.

Apple, Macmillan and Penguin have since defended their actions, with Apple calling the price-fixing accusations €œsimply not true€ and the publishers defending Apple€™s pricing model as essential to keeping competition alive among booksellers.