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This is the day I usually spotlight an audiobook author, but there are so many interesting news stories, I can’t resist sharing…

Nook News:

Details of Barnes and Noble’s new eBook reader, the Nook, were released and WOW! It looks like developers took a poll of all the things Kindle users wished they had and added them to Nook.

I contacted BN and confirmed that the Nook does play audiobook mp3 files as well as music either via headphones or speaker. This is a fantastic feature and makes the Nook very appealing… at least to me. I plan to wait until I read some user reviews before committing, but at first glance, the Nook looks darn good.

Nook vs. Kindle:

Nook eBook Reader

Nook eBook Reader

Here is a quick comparison, for those interested in what the Nook has to offer. Navigation is through a color touch screen rather than a 5 way controller. Library is displayed by book cover rather than list.

The Nook has 3G and Wi-Fi capabilities. A huge plus is an expansion slot capable expanding the memory to up to 17,500 eBooks. The Google deal allows Nook users to download free public domain titles.

Bring your Nook to a BN store and free content and coupons will be available for download. Rechargeable batteries are replaceable. There are more distinctive operating system and visual features, but one of the most appealing is the LendMe technology.

The Nook will actually allow users to loan copies of eBooks for a limited time with users of Nook, iPhone, iPod touch, Blackberry, PCs, or Macs.

News for International Kindle Users:

Those who invested in Amazon’s Kindle outside of the U.S. will find that they are eligible for a $20 refund. The price has been dropped from the initial $279 USD to $259 USD, the same price as it is in the US.

Latest Kindle:

The newest Kindle version has added a web browser, PDF document converter, and mp3 player. They have not indicated whether this enables the basic Kindle to support audiobooks, but it would appear that it will.

Book Price Wars:

Amazon, Target, and Wal-Mart are all determined to lure you into buying books from them. All three are taking advance orders for books from popular authors (Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Michael Crichton, and more) for under $9 USD each. Presumably this is in response to eBook versions of New York Times Bestsellers being offered for $9.99 as downloads from Amazon.

This will surely have a devastating effect on small, independent booksellers. I wonder if it will also drive down the cost of audio versions. At present, it appears as though the steep discounts may only apply to preorders. Audio version prices are not discounted.

I will be back to spotlighting authors next week!

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