Get ready for a blue Christmas if the only thing you asked for this holiday season was a Nook e-book reader. The device's popularity apparently caught Barnes and Noble off guard, who has sold out of the its initial supply and said preorders have exceeded expectations.
And if you listed Sony's Digital Edition Reader as your backup gift request, then it's a double dose of 'bah, humbug' coming your way. It too is in short supply, and Sony said it could not guarantee it would have enough to fulfill demand in time for Christmas.
The situation isn't dissimilar from what Amazon went through last year with its Kindle e-book reader, although the current king of the hill has managed to get its distribution channel squared away since then. So why are Sony and Barnes and Noble struggling?
"Even without specific problems in the supply chain, the manufacturing process takes time for new products -- it could be 3 months from the time they place the orders with their factories until they actually ship," Sarah Epss, an analyst at Forrester Research, said in an email. "Sony and B&N wanted to show the market they could compete with Amazon for the holiday season. Consumers responded enthusiastically, but unfortunately, these companies are struggling to deliver on their promise. Now they have to face disappointed consumers with empty packages under the tree."
According to Epps, both companies jumped the gun on their products announcements because neither was truly ready for the holiday shopping season.