Barnes & Noble is releasing a new Nook e-book reader for the Christmas holidays while it evaluates the future of tablet computers.
Nook tablets haven't sold well amid intense competition with Apple's iPad, Amazon's Kindle Fire and others. Barnes & Noble Inc had a slim 2 per cent share of the worldwide tablet market in the fourth quarter of 2012, but fell off IDC's top five list this year.
The company said it isn't giving up on tablets, but it will focus on a new e-reader this year while continuing to sell last year's tablet models.
The move comes as research firm IDC says the market for dedicated electronic-book readers is declining. Instead, consumers have been more interested in tablets, which can do much more, including video, email, Facebook and games.
Barnes & Noble's new e-reader, Nook GlowLight, is available in its retail stores and online starting Wednesday for $US119 ($A125.88), the same as the standard model of Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Paperwhite reader.
At 176g, the GlowLight is 15 per cent lighter than the Paperwhite. It's also ad-free, while Amazon charges $US20 more for a Paperwhite without ads on its screensaver or home screen.
Barnes & Noble officials say the new e-reader's design is based partly on feedback received at the company's retail stores, where Nook devices are prominently displayed.
Consumers' suggestions led to a brighter screen on the brightest setting and more durability in the form of a rubber-like silicone edge, which also provides comfort in the hands. In addition, the frame is white, not black, to match the screen colour.
Jonathan Shar, general manager for emerging digital content at Barnes & Noble, said that even as attention has turned to tablets, e-readers are still popular for long-form reading. The GlowLight has an electronic ink touch screen, which has better battery life and less glare than typical tablet screens.
Unlike Kindles, which are tied to Amazon's bookstore, Nook devices are compatible with books bought at other stores that use the EPub standard, including Apple's iBookstore.