Nook might be quitting the hardware business but they are glowing on strong in the UK where their GlowLight rival to the Kindle Paperwhite has just gone on sale through a range of retail and online outlets.
The GlowLight is priced at £89, which undercuts the Paperwhite at £109, and the Nook e-reader is available through Argos, Asda, Blackwells, Foyles, John Lewis, Sainsburys and Very. The connections with Blackwells and Foyles are particularly impressive as these are highly regarded bookstore chains in the UK.
Waterstones is the only UK bookstore chain that sells Kindles, although the display of the devices has become much more reduced in recent months in Waterstones branches, while high-street newsagent and bookseller WH Smith pushes Kobo.
The new GlowLight is is said to be the lightest Nook ever at 173 grams (15% lighter than the Paperwhite) and features high-resolution text at 212dpi on its 6-inch touchscreen plus new custom fonts and new page turning with no flash.
It has 4Gb of memory on board, which looks good, but, confusingly, the company says it has 2.5Gb for content and 2Gb reserved for Nook content (presumably the OS takes up 1.5Gb). I’ll be checking on the details of this but the GlowLight is claimed to be able to hold around 2,000 ebooks while the Paperwhite holds about 1,000.
The GlowLight is, of course, a grey-scale e-reader, which is how it manages to offer such crisp E-Ink text, and supports epub and PDF files, plus jpeg, bmp, gif and png image formats.
I don’t know yet whether it’s possible to load third-party apps on the new GlowLight but you could add the Kindle app on the previous version through side-loading and the Nook press release does even refer obliquely to side-loading, but it looks like there is only 500Mb available for side-loaded content.
I’ve been interested to read reviews of devices recently where people are referring to their main use of e-readers as borrowing ebooks through their local libraries via the OverDrive service, and the new GlowLight could be a great device for this channel.
The GlowLight is the sole e-reader survivor at Nook as the firm is teaming up with Samsung to produce the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 Nook tablet, which is expected to appear some time this month.