Barnes & Noble has begun selling an e-book reader dubbed the Nook. The device uses Google's Android operating system, comes with 2GB of storage and lets users download material via a Wi-Fi or 3G connection.
The Nook uses a 6in black and white e-ink reading panel, and has a colour screen for web browsing and navigation.
"We asked our customers what they wanted in an e-book reader, and specifically designed Nook to be the most full-featured, fun, stylish and easy-to-use reader on the market," said William J. Lynch, president of Barnes & Noble.
The device supports books sold on the open EPUB format, but also supports PDFs to allow the storing of personal and work documents.
Users also have the ability to share titles with other e-book reader devices. Books can be shared for 14 days before being deactivated by the Nook's digital rights management system.
"Anyway you slice Barnes & Noble's announcement, the Nook is a game changer for the current market, and one that will force Amazon's hand even with its recent release of an international Kindle," said Allen Weiner, research vice president for Gartner's Media IAS service.
"Regarding loaning e-books you can lend Nook to Nook, as well as Nook to other Barnes & Noble e-reader-enabled devices, such as iPhone, iPod touch, select Motorola and BlackBerry smartphones, PC and Mac.
"Just as with a physical book, the lender will not have access to the book during the two-week period (or earlier if the person you loaned it to returns it sooner)."
Barnes & Noble will support the device with its e-book store of 40,000 titles, and over 20 newspapers have signed up to deliver content to the device.
The reader will begin shipping next month with a price of $259 (£156).
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