Barnes and Noble are gearing up to launch a new version of their premium e-reader, the Nook Glowlight Plus 2023 edition. The device will have a 7.8-inch screen and will have 300 PPI, which will make fonts razor-sharp. The same design will likely be employed; I do not see the bookseller deviating from it. The existing Nook Glowlight Plus came out in 2019 and was discontinued in the summer of 2022; it isn’t listed on the B&N website. Millions of people would love to see a new Nook come out with modern design principles, with excellent hardware specs at a reasonable price. You can pre-order it from the Good e-Reader Store.
B&N is the largest bookseller in the United States. They have been making Nook e-readers since 2009. The new management team, under CEO James Daunt, is bullish on the future of digital products. This includes audiobooks, ebooks, manga, magazines and newspapers. The Nook is receiving top priority, so in the past few years, they have refreshed most of its lineup, such as the ecologically friendly Nook Glowlight 4e.
What is going on with the new Nook? B&N designed a prototype in late 2022 and tested it internally. They settled on the design and filed an FCC application to sell the product in the United States. The application was approved, and in the next few months, mass production will start to occur. The product will hit store shelves in late spring or early summer.
The FCC application says little right now. However, we know that the battery is twice the size of their entry-level e-reader, with 2,500 mAh, which should last a month. Netronix has been contracted to do the manufacturing and final assembly. B&N has been working with them since the beginning of the Nook e-reader and has a strong relationship with them. The FCC application does not go into any screen sizes or specs, just that it has Bluetooth, WIFI and internal storage powered by an SD card.
Since I have been covering the e-reader industry since 2008, I can infer some specs that the new Nook will employ. It will not be a digital note-taking device like the Remarkable or Kindle Scribe. The company has yet to make many new hires on the Nook team, so I doubt they are moving in this direction. It will employ an E Ink Carta 1200 e-paper display panel since almost every e-reader has it. The main reason is the increase in performance, without any fancy software tricks. Typically page turn speed and navigating the menus increase by 25% to 30% on average. USB C is standard, so that they will go with that. In terms of the colour scheme, I think they will change it from white to the previous generation and go with black. This will add distinction and separation from the previous generation model to the new one; you don’t want to confuse users with the same colour. When the press cycle dies down from the initial release and product reviews, they will go with another limited edition colour, like what they did with the Nook Glowlight Pearl Pink Limited Edition model. What colour would you like to see?
It will also have Bluetooth like all other Nooks. However, they will not support audiobooks anytime soon. This is a mistake, and I have brought it up with them numerous times. You can’t buy audiobooks on the Nook app for Windows, Android or iOS. They want to avoid paying these companies a percentage of each transaction. However, they control the entire billing and distribution process on their e-readers, so there is no middleman. All e-readers these days support audiobooks. Amazon has Audible on the Kindle; Kobo has its audiobook solution; Apple sells audiobooks; Spotify got into it recently. Android e-readers from Bigme and Onyx have Bluetooth and speakers and full Play Store access. It feels like out of the big three players in the e-reader space, Nook is the odd man out.
I am excited about a new flagship Nook e-reader. People love large screen displays since digital content and consumption habits have changed in the past four or five years. Webtoons and manga are prominent in the US right now. It would be great to view all of this on a new Nook. What features would you like to see in a new Nook e-reader?
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.