Barnes & Noble plans instore NFC Nook-book bonk-buying

Can we expect a 'publish to Nook' button in Word?


B&N's CEO reckons NFC will be the glue to holds the disparate parts of the business together, with the help of Microsoft's money and a following wind.

The idea, expounded during an interview with Fortune magazine, is for a Nook equipped with NFC wireless communication tech to be tapped against shelved volumes, said tomes having been electronically tagged by the publishers at printing so that they respond with relevant information over radio waves.

The bonk would bring up reviews from Barnes & Noble's online incarnation and allow instant purchasing - so the physical shop becomes a showroom for digital purchases.

The model makes sense because at least this way bookseller B&N makes money from the sale rather than bleeding revenue to Amazon (as happens daily in bookshops across the country).

William Lynch, B&N CEO, complained that his company doesn't get enough credit for its technological lead, pointing out that the Android-based colour Nook was a year ahead of the Kindle Fire and that its latest innovation (an e-ink screen with a built-in reading lamp) has sold out.

When it comes to Microsoft's money, and integration, Lynch reckons that's really about content creation rather than shifting the default Nook platform onto Windows 8. Nook, like Kindle, is already available on a range of platforms including iOS and Android, although it lacks the international reach of Amazon's baby, so Windows 8 will (initially, at least) be another supported platform.

But when it comes to content creation then integration, a tie-up with Microsoft Office has got to be the holy grail: one can imagine a "Publish to Nook" button in Word which would surely be a killer feature.

Microsoft's own e-book format, Microsoft Reader, had that as an optional patch which wasn't enough to save the format - Reader will be killed off entirely at the end of August although no content in .lit format has been available since November. Including a "publish" button in every copy of Word might just tip the balance, assuming the competition authorities don't notice. ®

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