Analyst says Nook selling better than Kindle

Report from DigiTimes Research claims the Barns & Noble e-reader sold--or at least shipped--better than Amazon's Kindle in March. Hard to confirm without exact figures.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
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Barnes and Noble Nook
The Nook might be selling better than many expected. Barnes & Noble

The Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader shipped more than Amazon's Kindle in March, DigiTimes Research claims in a new study.

According to DigiTimes, it consulted "suppliers" of the e-readers to determine how many units shipped. Based on that information, the researchers found that the Nook "accounted for 53 percent of e-book readers shipped to U.S. vendors last month." The company didn't provide data on how much of the market the Kindle took, but based on the fact that the Nook accounted for more than half of all shipments in March, the researchers concluded that the Kindle trailed.

But before we crown the Nook as the next big thing in the e-reader space, it's important to consider that Amazon, like Barnes & Noble, doesn't release Kindle sales figures, making it difficult to pinpoint exactly how many units either company has sold. And since DigiTimes can only see how many units were shipped and not sold, the Kindle, which is currently the top-selling device on Amazon.com, could have beaten Barnes & Noble's device in sales. That said, Barnes & Noble representatives told CNET recently that sales "continue to exceed projections."

DigiTimes' findings and Barnes & Noble's comments highlight something rather interesting: the Nook, a device that many believed would be the also-ran in the e-reader space, is actually selling well. Although it was criticized at launch for issues like slow page-load times, Barnes & Noble recently updated the device to make it more appealing to users. And by virtue of it being offered in Barnes & Noble brick-and-mortar stores, consumers are having a chance to try it out before they buy.

At the same time, the e-reader space is becoming increasingly crowded. Aside from the Kindle and Nook, Apple's iPad is now competing for readers with its iBooks application. So far, that feature has been almost universally cited as a fine reading experience. Whether or not that will negatively affect Kindle or Nook sales remains to be seen.