On the heels of yesterday’s news that Microsoft is investing $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook and college businesses, B&N CEO William Lynch says that the company plans to embed NFC (near field communication) chips into Nooks. Users could take their Nook into a Barnes & Noble store and wave it near a print book to get info on it or buy it.
That could help someone gain quick information on their Nook about a book, making it easy to go from browsing to buying. Consumers could also choose to just buy a printed book in the store with the additional information gleaned from the Nook. The model would help ensure that showrooming leads to sales through Barnes & Noble, whether users ultimately purchase a print or e-book, instead of sending them online and possibly Amazon.
We’re going to start embedding NFC chips into our Nooks. We can work with the publishers so they would ship a copy of each hardcover with an NFC chip embedded with all the editorial reviews they can get on BN.com. And if you had your Nook, you can walk up to any of our pictures, any our aisles, any of our bestseller lists, and just touch the book, and get information on that physical book on your Nook and have some frictionless purchase experience. That’s coming, and we could lead in that area.
The NFC integration can shorten the amount of time it takes to pull up information on a mobile device. Users could also do this by scanning a QR code or bar code from their smartphone, but the process is usually slower.
Lynch also explains how Nook could integrate with Microsoft Office:
So again we haven’t announced anything specifically, but imagine an integration where an information worker, student, author, consumer, creates something in Office and has it immediately published for sale through the Nook book store. It starts to open a lot of exciting possibilities.