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Nook outsells Kindle in March…maybe

April 26, 2010

According to DigiTimes Research, more Barnes & Noble Nook e-readers shipped than Kindles in March.  They based this finding from questioning “upstream suppliers” of the e-readers on how many units they shipped, concluding that the Nook accounted for 53 percent of e-book readers shipped to U.S. vendors last month.

As noted by CNET, this refers to e-readers that were shipped, not sold, so whether or not the Nook actually outsold the Kindle is unknown. Considering the April launch of Nook sales in Best Buy, it is certainly plausible that this surge in shipped Nooks was due to stocking the numerous Best Buy stores.

Regardless, the viability of the Nook should be welcome news to Kindle owners who fret about Amazon making drastic alteration to future Kindles in order to assimilate the iPad.  Why?

For e-reader owners who value the extremely long battery-life, a glare-free (either from sunlight or overhead lights) display, one-hand holdable weight, and free and anywhere wireless access to eBooks that the mainstream E Ink e-readers provide, then a healthy and competitive market distinct from the iPad/tablet market is preferable to a Kindle vs. iPad competition.   Thus, improvements/advantages of the Nook e-reader vis-a-vis the Kindle would drive changes in future Kindles more so than iPad features.

Moreover, this same Digitimes Research study estimates that worldwide shipments for 2010 will reach 11.40 million units, up from 3.82 million in 2009.  The other threat to Kindle (and Nook) owners is the pricing and availability strategies of the publishers.  But as more and more people become owners of e-readers, the ability of publishers to withhold/delay titles or dramatically increase prices of eBooks can be curtailed.

So, Kindle owners, welcome the Nook and hold your daggers for the iPad.

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