It is no small secret that in the world of e-readers, Kindle is king. While other platforms are on the rise, Kindle remains the dominant player in the market. There is much talk of iPad beating Kindle, which misses completely the multi-platform strategy that Kindle employs; iPad sales provide a huge market opportunity for Kindle that outweighs the threat of iBooks.
Perhaps the strongest platform to have both its own device, and its own publisher relations is the Nook, which is of course the Barnes & Noble offering. It has long struggled to differentiate itself enough from Kindle to grow its market share. It recently tried to do so with aggressive price cuts, which forced Amazon to cut its prices in similar fashion. Even Sony joined in.
But past more forward looking harware, the Nook platform has never enjoyed a large element in its favor that would put it at a long term strategic advantage against the Kindle reader and its associated software. That ends this August, when Nook will introduce NOOKstudy for the upcoming school year.
While e-readers are extremely useful for reading in quantity, they have long lacked the note taking ability of a paper book and a highlighter, meaning that using electronic books for educational purposes is something of a stretch. NOOKstudy is designed to fix that, and does not even require a Nook device to use. From their own copy:
NOOKstudy keeps your eTextbooks, class handouts, course syllabi, lecture notes, even your leisure reading, instantly accessible right on your computer. Organize your materials by course so you can focus on what you need.
Open multiple textbooks at the same time or have pages from two different books open simultaneously. Zoom in on full-color diagrams. And NOOKStudy automatically returns you to the last page you were reading. Plus, no more waiting, instantly download over 1 million eBooks and eTextbooks.
Take notes directly in your eTextbooks and tag content with easy-to-search terms like “for the final exam.” Highlight and annotate important passages, mark questions for in-class discussion, or even integrate your web research.
Search the entire text of a book with ease. Search through your own notes. Plus, look up definitions or formulas on web sites such as Google and Dictionary.com.
And while you don’t need a Nook to do all of that, your laptop will suffice, wouldn’t it be great to have, as a companion to the platform? And what demographic has parents with money to spend on their education just waiting in the wings? College kids, the people that NOOKstudy is most aimed at.
Nook is going to offer the platform, and use it to upsell into their normal e-reading line. In regards to capturing the next crop of people who will eventually buy an e-reader, NOOKstudy is going to give Nook an advantage over Kindle. It is not enough to turn the tables 100%, but it is a start, and that has to be hailed.