When my NOOKcolor arrived right on time yesterday, I thought about calling this post “Barnes and Noble Pulls an Amazon.” What I mean by that is, for the first time in the brief history of the universe, B&N got the drop on their cross-country rivals. And part of how they did that was by tearing the following pages from the Amazon play book:
1. Exceed expectations. I expected, and who didn’t, that NOOKcolor would run into some kind of supply or shipping delay, that the promised ship date would come and go without explanation, and that sometime in December (or January) the unit would limp into the house to a great, deflating sense of disappointment. Not so. This announcement, pre-selling, and fulfillment went like clockwork, from my perspective. Just like Amazon.
2. Give us something we don’t already have. The Nook, you know, fit into a rather large field of e-ink, six-inch ereaders when it trailed the Kindle into the marketplace. Its greatest differentiator at the time was that you could actually go hold one and buy it in a store. And many of its features just didn’t (and still don’t) stack up against its prime competitor. But color? Touchscreen? Video? Well, those are things we don’t already have in a device with the form factor of a dedicated ereader and a built-in connection with a real-life bookstore.
3. Make it, you know, easy. The first thing that happens when you turn on your NOOKcolor is you watch a full-screen video welcome by a very enthusiastic young lady. She tells you just what to do to get started, and then passes you on to other step-by-step screens to set up the device and register it to your account at B&N. I was done in a few quick minutes, and believe me, the first impression made by that video got me excited about the device all over again. I was inspired to tweet my happiness immediately.
Having said all that, and in the spirit of optimism about this new entrant into the ereader marketplace, I am not going to start nit-picking about the device. iPad owners are going to say, “so this is what an Android tablet looks like,” Android phone owners are going to say “I could really use this thing if I could find the link to the Android Marketplace,” and Kindle owners are going to say “I don’t need color and backlighting to read.”
But November 18, the day my NOOKcolor arrived, is now on my calendar as Barnes and Noble‘s day in the sun. And I can’t find too many reasons to rain on that parade.