Barnes & Noble's new $139 Nook is simple, touch-friendly

Just a month after releasing a major update to the Nook Color, Barnes & Noble announced today a smaller, more simplified version of the original black-and-white Nook. At $139, the device will compete better with the Amazon Kindle, which retails for the same price with its Wi-Fi only version, and the just-released $129 touch-enabled Kobo e-reader.

New York Times launches digital subscriptions: Are e-readers an afterthought?

After announcing its new digital subscription plan a couple of weeks ago and launching the plan in Canada, The New York Times is now expanding its paywall to readers everywhere. The strategy is very device focused (you have to purchase a mobile or tablet app; you can’t buy website access on its own), but there’s one class of device that’s curiously absent — e-readers like Amazon.com’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

Interest in iPad 2 far outstrips interest in rival tablets

The iPad 2 is far outrunning its rivals in terms of worldwide awareness, according to Google Trends. As you can see from the chart below, people are Googling the iPad 2 far more than they are the Motorola Xoom or the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The same holds true for rivals such as the Amazon Kindle, the HP TouchPad, and the RIM PlayBook.

Could Google make Web-based books free?

Books have long stood apart from the rest of the media world, run by an oddball clutch of publishers, distributors and retailers whose practices have little in common with other traditional media formats, let alone new media. But as books head into the cloud, driven by players like Amazon.com and Google, they stand to be transformed by advertising and social networks.

Amazon debuts Kindle for the Web on heels of Google eBooks

Signaling renewed competition in the e-reading space, Amazon today debuted a web-based extension to their existing Kindle platform with a new product called Kindle for the Web, which is nearly identical to a product Google announced yesterday dubbed Google eBooks, which is also a cloud-based ebookstore and reading webapp that lives within the browser.