While most folks have fixated on the Nook‘s ($259) secondary color screen, compared to the pedestrian and now antiquated Amazon Kindle, the most significant feature of Barnes & Noble’s upcoming Android-based eReader is digital lending. From the Nook FAQ:
With our new LendMe™ technology, you can now share from nook to nook. But it doesn’t stop there. Starting Nov. 30th, you can lend to and from any device with the Barnes & Noble eReader app, including PC, Mac OS®, BlackBerry®, iPhone™ and iPod® touch. All you need to know is your friend’s email address. You can lend many of your eBooks one time for a maximum of 14 days. When you use our LendMe™ technology, you will not be able to read your eBook while it is on loan, but you always get it back.
We’ve previously seen some minor forays into digital media sharing (Welcome to the Social, MusicGremlin) and I had proposed a single license transfer model. Yet this appears to be the most consumer friendly and practical implementation. When combined with in-store wireless book browsing, the Nook experience (on sale 11/30) appears to closely mirror how we interact with physical media. However, B&N’s ambiguous language (“many” “up to” “a maximum of“) has me wondering what sort of lending policy variation we’ll see on a per title basis. And, if B&N is able to license content sharing from the publishers, you know Amazon will most likely implement similar functionality in the near future (along with another price drop?). But they better move quick before I pick up a pair of Nooks.
And now, some gratuitous product shots. Click to enlarge: