Barnes & Noble Glowing E-Reader Aims To Save Marriages

Nook-TabletEven as stories circulate that Amazon was planning a new backlit version of its Kindle e-ink readers, Barnes & Noble appears to have pre-empted its archrival. The new Nook GlowLight uses e-ink technology with a lighting feature that allows for reading in the dark. More than just a convenience for ebook device lovers who couldn’t read their old devices in low-light situation, the GlowLight product is bound to save marriages, B&N suggests.

No joke. The company pitches the new Nook as a marital aid of the non-sexual kind. According to its own research, 72% of reading device owners read in bed, and they are even more likely to do so weekly than the average tablet user. Among the survey respondents, 77% said their bedmate needed light in order to read, while 90% felt that a dark room was best for their sleeping. In fact, about half of the e-readers say they or their partner would read more often in bed if it didn’t interfere with their partner’s sleep.

B&N doesn’t stop there. They are determined to show this is a real issue for most people that the Nook GlowLight solves. Almost a third (31%) say their partner’s need for a light in order to read interferes with their sleep. And they kept drilling into this question by determining that 42% of respondents had gone to sleep annoyed because their partner had a light on in order to read.

Fully titled the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight, the device is a light 7 ounces, even a bit lighter than the current Simple Touch. The 6-inch touchscreen has an adjustable “glow.” The use of the light appears to halve the battery life. B&N is promising two months of daily half-hour reading without the light and one month at the same pace with the light on. It sells for $139.

The new device does gives B&N a much-needed advance march on Amazon. While Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire are technically quite similar, Amazon got the PR drop on B&N last round. The bookstore chain is selling those Nook Tablets hard in retail locations everywhere. My local store has a good hunk of the floor space, and they dedicate staff just for the device.  

Will it save marriages? I have no idea -- but I sure feel sorry for the poor folks who subjected themselves to B&N’s pointed questions about their mates’ reading habits and how much it might have bugged them more than they knew. After this survey, I am guessing that this focus group left the Q&A feeling pretty damned pissed at their damned, inconsiderate, self-absorbed but literate soulmate. To hell with the survey results. I want to see how these respondents went home and ripped their partners a new one for their boorish disregard for their partner’s sleep.

There must be a Web reality series in here somewhere.

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