Barnes & Noble's
B&N has already filled its initial quota for orders that it can ship by its Nov. 30 debut. A second wave slated to be sent out on Dec. 7 has also been maxed out. According to this morning's Wall Street Journal, new customers are now being given a Dec. 11 shipping date.
As we learned from Amazon during the 2007 holiday season, selling out isn't necessarily an indicator of consumer demand. The leading online retailer had supply-related issues. The Kindle appears to be a success these days, but Amazon has yet to provide hard numbers. All we know is that the Kindle has gone through three price cuts in less than two years.
So what's going on at B&N right now? The Nook is certainly cool -- with a few bar-raising features that include e-book sharing, a secondary touchscreen, and Google
So if demand is iffy, we're down to one of two theories:
- B&N is having supply issues.
- B&N is controlling supply to give the illusion that this is the next Tickle Me Elmo.
The first possibility makes sense, since the original release date also sadly comes just after the critical Black Friday kickoff to the holiday shopping season. It is indicative of a race against time that the leading bookstore chain is losing.
The deliberate-tightening theory is intriguing, but managed dissatisfaction will only get B&N so far. If it wants to take on Amazon.com, Sony
The clock is ticking on the Nook, and time truly is money this time.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been shopping online for about as long as Amazon.com has been in business. He owns a Kindle, but he doesn't own shares in any of the companies in this story. Rick is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.