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.
Perhaps in an attempt to stave off the competition in what's shaping up to be a battle royal in the e-book reader market, Amazon has again dropped the price of its Kindle 2, this time from $299 to $259. In addition, Amazon said it will start selling an international version with a built-in AT&T SIM card for $279 on Monday, October 19.
“Kindle is the most wished for, the most gifted, and the #1 bestselling product across the millions of items we sell on Amazon, and we’re excited to be able to lower the price," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO. "We’re also excited to announce a new addition to the Kindle family–Kindle with global wireless. At home or abroad in over 100 countries, you can think of a book and download it wirelessly in less than 60 seconds."
The U.S. Kindle Store now comes crammed with more than 350,000 books, including 104 of 112 New York Times Bestsellers, Amazon says. And most of those sell for $10 or less. But Amazon also faces increasing competition from a number of other players suddenly panning for gold in the e-book market, including Sony, Asus, and others.
Amazon's Kindle source code has been garnering a lot of attention lately, despite being available since the latter part of 2007. But it's not all old news - the new and larger Kindle DX source code has also now been added to the list of downloadable codes.
"Amazon is pleased to make available to you for download an archive file of the machine readable source code ("Source Code") corresponding to modified software packages used in the Kindle device," Amazon wrote in a source code notice.
Users can also download the code to all previous firmware versions of the first and second generation Kindles, but the question is, do you really want to? As Rod Begbie, a senior software engineer at Slide, points out, this isn't the actual source code for the Kindle application, and instead is "just the GPL libraries used to pwoer the Kindle software, along with the patches made by Amazon to those libraries."
Still interested? If so, head over to here to grab your download(s).