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Barnes & Noble has high hopes for its new e-book reader, the NOOK Color. Described by some as half e-reader, half-tablet, the $250 device, which runs on Google's Android operating system, has been sold an estimated 3m times since its debut last November.

Now, B&N is eager to develop a strong developer ecosystem. The retailer has launched a NOOK SDK 1.0 and a shiny new NOOK Developer website which invites developers to "change the future of reading" with B&N.

B&N is going all out to attract developers. The NOOK Developer website pitches NOOK development as a great opportunity. "Nobody knows more about readers than Barnes & Noble and there's no better time to capitalize on this market opportunity," B&N states on the website. "We are opening our doors to your innovation by offering unprecedented access to unique merchandising opportunities."

The NOOK Color, of course, isn't the iPad. Given that the NOOK Color is being marketed as an e-book reader, B&N is not surprisingly encouraging developers to focus their efforts on "reading-centric" applications. These might include dictionaries, how-to guides, studying tools, and educational games.

The million-dollar question, of course, is whether NOOK Color owners will open their wallets to buy such apps. B&N can court developers and welcome them with open arms, but at the end of the day, it's all about the ability to sell. On this front, developing for the NOOK Color early on may require some amount of faith. According to a recent survey conducted by ChangeWave, the iPad accounts for nearly half of e-book purchases, and the iPad may be cannibalizing Kindle sales, raising questions about the NOOK Color's long-term prospects. On the other hand, a poll taken by Piper Jaffray found that only 6% of iPad 2 buyers on iPad 2 launch day planned to use their iPads to read books. Given that NOOK Color owners ostensibly purchased a NOOK to buy e-books, it seems possible that developers building "reading-centric" apps will find a more receptive customer base with the NOOK Color.

Whatever the answer to these questions, the good news for developers is that the number of platforms on which to develop keeps growing, and judging from B&N's NOOK Developer site, the retailer is serious about building a solid platform and working closely with developers to create great experiences for its customers. What's not to like about that?

Patricio Robles

Published 8 April, 2011 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

2419 more posts from this author

Comments (4)


mandy frank

I absolutely love my Nook Color!

over 5 years ago


Ed Henry

Great if you live in the US. B&N won't let me buy a Nook in Australia or any of the books. so I really can't comment on the Nook which I did consider when I looked at eReaders.
I have to say that for me the new Kindle is fantastic and the perfect size for reading. The latest cover with it's built in light is perfect and enables one to read anywhere and in any light. The Kindle is the same size as a paperback but can be read one handed (unlike a book). and of course the books are available worldwide. I was able to buy additional books when visiting UK. I have an iPad but still prefer the Kindle to read books on as it can be read outside in the garden whereas the iPad can't. Five stars for the Kindle.

over 5 years ago


russian ladies

Soon regular books will be forgotten. People increasingly use laptops and electronic books and other technical innovations. Technology is not standing still. What do you think, how many years will be 2 computer revolution?

over 5 years ago



The NOOK does look very good, i can't stand that companies like apple and motorola are ripping everyone off with tablets. They are overpriced for what they do.

The NOOK seemes quite cheap to me, and if it allows you to surf the web and acts as ereader then i do not see the need for an ipad.

go barnes and noble!

over 5 years ago

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