The Nook has become the fastest selling single item at Barnes & Noble since the retailer introduced the e-reader October 20, company CEO Steve Riggio said in Tuesday morning’s investor presentation. Last week, Amazon reported that the Kindle was its fastest selling product in both unit and dollar terms. Neither company has disclosed the number of devices that have been sold and/or ordered, but B&N.com president William Lynch told analysts the company expects to get a “big chunk” of the 900,000 e-readers that some analysts believe will be sold over the holidays. Riggio said B&N’s goal for the holidays is to make sure they have enough Nooks in stock to meet demand. B&N plans to start shipping Nooks November 30.
Riggio said B&N doesn’t expect to earn a high margin on the sale of the device itself, but he expects that to be somewhat offset by the sale of accessories and warranties (the Nook “eco-system.”) Riggio told analysts that B&N’s margins on the sale of e-books will be higher than on physical books since there are no warehousing, shipping, receiving, pick-and-pack and handling costs. He explained that although there is stiff competition on the pricing of e-book frontlist titles, the e-book market is a long tail business, with a “much much longer tail” than physical books.