Barnes & Noble's forthcoming e-reader, the Nook, is slated for a late November release and has been designed by Robert Brunner's design firm, Ammunition. The $259 device features a color LCD touchscreen and a contoured back, making it easy to hold.
The Nook has some features you'd expect of an e-reader, like touchscreen navigation and the ability to wirelessly download titles, and some you would not, like a technology called "LendMe" whereby users can electronically "lend" titles to friends for 14 days, and an unnamed process that we find rather fascinating: As The Financial Times' Ken Li reports from B&N's press conference, there is a "Wifi stream feature of [the] Nook that lets [you] browse [an] entire book while in [a B&N] physical store." (Sorry about all of the brackets, it's from a Tweet.) This strikes us as an extremely interesting way to get people into their physical stores, by offering what is essentially free reading of an entire book if you have one of their devices and are willing to just show up.
This latter feature could be criticized for being counterintuitive in terms of generating profits, or it could be hailed as a brilliant way to maintain the relevance and destination-worthiness of B&N's brick & mortar. Either way we're fans of this sort of out-of-the-box thinking and we're curious to see what results it yields.