If you were interested in buying the Barnes & Noble Nook as a holiday gift, strike it off your list. The e-reader is now officially sold out through 2009, according to the B&N Web site.
"The hottest holiday gift is out of stock," a message at the top of the page reads. "Order the Nook today to be first in line for the new year."
If this sounds familiar, it's because last year Amazon had a similar message on its site when it stock ran out of the Kindle. However, in the case of the Nook, the company hasn't shipped a single unit yet, and it's a little unclear what day it actually will. (We've yet to receive word when we'll get our review sample).
The New York Times' Bits blog has a quote from Sarah Rotman Epps, an analyst at Forrester Research, explaining what a lot of us already knew: that Barnes & Noble had rushed to announce its product to compete with Amazon and it wasn't really quite ready to begin selling its device this year--at least not in huge quantities.
"Even without specific problems in the supply chain, the manufacturing process takes time for new products--it could be three months from the time they place the orders with their factories until they actually ship," Epps said.
This is probably good news for Amazon, which should have plenty of its e-readers available. But it's worth noting that if you do want to hold out for a Nook, you shouldn't have to wait too long. The B&N Web site says that if you order a unit today, you'll get it shipped to you by January 4.
Update: After reading our piece, Barnes & Noble spokesperson Mary Ellen Keating told us she hoped folks won't cross the Nook off their holiday lists, which is why the company created a "holiday gift certificate that can be wrapped and given to the recipient."
She also noted that Barnes and Noble is "on track to ship devices that were preordered prior to today by the holidays," and that today's update only affects orders made beginning today. Also, she said that Barnes & Noble expects to have a limited stock of devices available in its highest-volume stores during the holiday season.
Barnes & Noble Nook e-book reader--photosSee all photos