B&N Delays Nook HD and Nook HD+ Shipments Until December (Or Not)

Nook HD

Bad news on the new Nook HD front. Barnes and Noble was supposed to start shipping their new Nook HD tablets yesterday, and B&N even issued a press release on October 30th stating as much, but something has gone sour since then because B&N is now sending out emails saying the Nook HD has been delayed, and that orders are expected to ship by December 1st (guess not, see update below).

I saw an email from B&N in my inbox this morning and thought it was a shipping notice, but instead this is what I got:

America has fallen in love with NOOK® HD.

Demand has exceeded all expectations, and unfortunately, we’re unable to ship your NOOK in the time frame we stated in our previous email. We expect to ship your order by 12-01-2012. Once your NOOK arrives, you’ll discover a whole new way to enjoy reading with your favorite books, newspapers, and magazines just a touch away.

They are claiming the delay is because demand has exceeded all expectations. Well, that’s a bunch of crap because they were all set to start shipping them out just 3 days ago when they issued the press release saying so, which has since been pulled from B&N’s newsroom. There is clearly something else going on here that B&N isn’t explaining.

Perhaps it has something to do with Hurricane Sandy, but then again if the tablets were going to be released on November 1st as planned, they should have been mostly ready to go before the storm arrived.

Not everyone is getting a delay notice, however. A few people over at the Nook Forums have received shipping notices, and some were able to go and pick up a Nook HD+ in store. A few stores have the 9-inch HD+ model in stock, but I have not seen a single report of anyone getting the 7-inch HD model.

B&N’s website is still showing both tablets being released on November 8th. They better get their story straight. And at some point they need to learn the concept of pre-orders. Every year I pre-order a new Nook literally minutes after the product page goes live, and every year stock is available in stores before my pre-order even ships.

Update: B&N has sent out a new email saying that the earlier one was a mistake, and that orders will ship by early next week. Take a look:

Dear NOOK Customer,

You may have received an email notification this morning stating that your NOOK® HD or NOOK® HD+ order had been delayed until December 1st. Please note that this email was sent in error due to technical issues resulting from Hurricane Sandy.

Be assured that the team at NOOK is working around the clock to get you your device. We are pleased to let you know that orders began shipping yesterday and we expect all orders to ship no later than early next week.

We look forward to you enjoying your new NOOK very soon!

Thank you,
The NOOK Team

21 Responses to “B&N Delays Nook HD and Nook HD+ Shipments Until December (Or Not)”

  1. I have also experienced the black hole that is B&N’s customer service. This is the 3rd time I preorder only to have it delayed by at least a month (original nook, Color, now HD), and I am sure such as last time they will be available in stores much earlier than when preorders will be shipped. Target and other retailers are also allegedly rolling them out this weekened as well. , and at other retailers like Target as well,

  2. Another stumble out of the gate for tablet/eReader companies. I have a Nook HD+ 16GB on hold at my local B&N. It was one of only two units left available for sale. I am told I have 48 hours to come in and pick it up. It seems that their display units have all arrived, but they received only a few to sell, according to the Nook Desk representative. These launch fails are getting annoying (you too Kobo!).

    • I called three local B&N stores. The first had 2 HD+ display units but none for sale. The second had a few on hand but they would only sell them to those that reserved one. The third place had display units as well, and just 1 HD+ for sale so I went down and bought it.

      After several years of this, I now know the fastest way to get a new Nook when it’s first released is to place an order directly with a B&N retail store to reserve it, and then go down and pick it up when it arrives. Pre-orders get no priority with B&N. It’s always the stores that get them first.

      • Interesting! I will keep that in mind. I reserved one at my local B&N on a whim. I guess that turned out to be the best way.

        I am having second thoughts about buying it. I wish the new Google/Samsung Nexus 10 weren’t so damn ugly (and had an microSD card slot). That would make my decision so much easier. That on knowing for sure that N2A cards for the HD+ will be coming shortly…

  3. Got the same email and I am pretty mad. None of the stores have any in stock and I am being told it is because of so many preorders. That is bullsh*t. I preordered mine well ahead of the ship date and the nook is not that popular. What a crappy way to treat customers.

  4. I received the e-mail around 6:30am today for my 16GB HD+ preorder. Called around to local stores only to find that they were getting theirs on the 8th and holding them for in-store reservations. A customer service rep at B&N was sincerely apologetic for not being able to tell me anything more than “we can only go by what the warehouses report.”

    Then at 3pm I got an e-mail with a UPS tracking number. I don’t even know anymore.

    • Indeed. I got the email too, and added an update to the post.

      If the email was an indeed an error as they claim, it sure was oddly specific.

  5. Writing this on my Nook HD+ now! I am impressed so far. The Nook-modded OS isn’t horrible, but it is not Jelly Bean. I will share a more thorough review tomorrow.

  6. Maybe it’s time to change the headline?

  7. @Nathan, by the way, while I was at the mall last night picking up my Nook, I swung by a Best Buy Mobile to check out their tablets. For the first time, I saw the iPad Mini in-person. Now I can safely report that the iPad Mini has the WORST screen resolution of any tablet on the market right now. Even the old Kindle Fire 1st gen (which has the same resolution but better screen technology, apparently) and 1280 x 800 10.1 inch tablets looked ten times better in comparison. It was really a night and day difference in screen and text clarity between the Kindle Fire 1 and the iPad Mini. App thumbnails looked blurry, and text looked faded and grey. Surprising.

    • That’s like the first negative review I have read about it. It’s crazy how much tech websites love Apple’s products no matter what. Engadget said something along the lines of it quite possibly being the best iPad ever. The Verge’s review was just as glowing. Just think if an Android tablet came along with the exact specs and price of the iPad Mini. It would get thrashed mercilessly for the high price and low res screen, and not having an SD card slot or HDMI port and just 16 gigs of memory.

      • Well, I love iOS and the device itself is physically beautiful, so I don’t doubt its functionality. But, if you get the chance at a store, put the old Kindle Fire 1 gen and a random 10″ Andriod tablet side-by-side with the Mini. The other displays will look better. The Mini I was using appeared to have just been put out. There were no smudges or screen protector interfering. It just looked that bad in comparison.

        Now, I am used to the iPad 3’s retina display and the Nexus 7’s 1280 x 800 display, so I’m sure the downgrade is more noticeable to me, but I’m not the only person who has used an iPad 3. Think of all of the Apple fans who will get the Mini and continue to use their retina display iPads. Can you imagine putting down your iPad 3 and picking up the Mini right after? The difference is seriously night and day.

    • “… Even the old Kindle Fire 1st gen (which has the same resolution but better screen technology, apparently) … ”

      Not. Original Kindle Fire is the same as it is now. 1024 x 600


      While the iPad mini is 1024 x 768


      The 2012 Kindle Fire has the same resolution and screen with just a speed bumped ARM SoC and newer software.

      > Mini has the WORST screen resolution of any tablet on the market right now

      Since the iPad 2 is still on the market it is hard to see how the mini’s is going to be worse from a ppi perspective.

      Snap judgements about the mini, especially from those highly predisposed against it, are highly likely not to be too accurate. Even the tech bloggers aren’t immune to snap judgements gone awry.

      “… I know what you’re thinking. Why did I say the iPad mini “comes off as a bit thicker” when I did my post-event hands-on in October? I …”

      If get past the ppi aspects of the device and evaluate it as a whole, the outlier status of this “WORST on the market” review isn’t very surprising at all.

      • The iPad Mini – 1024 X 768 (163 ppi)

        Kindle Fire 1st gen – 1024 x 600 (169 ppi)

        No Lyman, the Kindle Fire and iPad Mini have practically the same resolution, especially with the .9″ size difference between them. The iPad Mini’s small number advantage is lost in its extra length (hence the reason why the original Kindle Fire has six more pixels-per-inch than the Mini). Their screen resolution is almost identical, which is why I was surprised to discover that, while holding them side-by-side, the original Kindle Fire displayed text noticeably better than the new Mini. Fonts were better, text color was better (the Mini displays grey, fuzzy text). Next I compared the Mini to the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2, the Nook Tablet, and even the 10″ Andriod tablets with 1280 x 800 displays (Thrive, Tab 2, Asus TF300). All of them definitely had sharper displays. There was a clear deficit in comparison.

        The biggest difference was when I went from reading the same eBook on my iPhone 4S, to reading it on the iPad Mini (Pride & Prejudice, Project Gutenberg). iPad 3 and iPhone users who ‘upgrade’ to the Mini are in for a shocking plunge in display quality. Whatever functionality the tablet might hold, I would never use it to read blogs or to do any serious long-form reading.

        I would not consider myself ‘predisposed’ to disliking the iPad Mini. I own a 13″ MacBook Pro and an iPhone 4S. My wife has the iPhone 5 (which is amazing), and I have owned iPads 1, 2, and 3. I hope to upgrade to the retina MacBook Pro 15″ soon. I love iOS and their appstore. The iPad Mini is beautifully crafted, powerful device, but its most important component, its display, is almost unacceptable.

        Why couldn’t they have at least come up to the new industry standard of 200 – 215 ppi??? The most likely answer is that they didn’t want the Mini to compete with the iPad 4 or the new iPod. This financially-based decision to offer an inferior product is what bothers me the most.

        • Based on my hands-on observation, I can confidently say that the iPad Mini has the worst display of any of the name brand tablets released in the past year.

  8. ” … I would not consider myself ‘predisposed’ to disliking the iPad Mini. …”
    You are self documented as being predisposed.

    Before you had personall seen a mini you declared the screen effectively unfit.


    So, the fact you went to a store to confirm your hypothesis is not very surprising at all. That this was a supplementary stop to buy another tablet all the more probable.

    “… The iPad Mini – 1024 X 768 (163 ppi)

    Kindle Fire 1st gen – 1024 x 600 (169 ppi)

    No Lyman, the Kindle Fire and iPad Mini have practically the same resolution, especially with the .9″ size difference between them. …”

    The diagonal size difference is highly influenced by the different aspect ratio; at least as much as the different ppi. The iPad (mini or otherwise) is 4:3. The Fire is 16:9.

    As for the 6ppi being a huge difference there is simple experiment folks can perform on their own. Take a ruler to some book text on a screen. Count the number of letter in that inch. If there are 8-10 letters in the inch then 6 more pixels isn’t going to make a huge difference. Even with a one-to-one ratio of letters to “extra’ pixels it won’t have a big impact on rendering.

    If shrink the letters small enough the 163 ppi will crater into blurry state sooner, but with a minor increase in size they’ll be about at the same level. If the font sizes are cranked down to iPhone useful size (to get ‘enought’ text on the smaller screen) on the mini then it probably does struggle side by side. That isn’t “worst”, that is just a oddball usecase. The screen is bigger so you are not backed into that corner case.

    “… Why couldn’t they have at least come up to the new industry standard of 200 – 215 ppi??? …”

    And power it with what and meet the same costs? The circuit board for the mini had to be scaled down from the iPad. The A5X and A6X use external RAM (i.e., a bigger circuit board than the iPad 2).

    They could have built an underpowered, lower battery life , but Retina mini. However, that would have been an unbalanced system. Or they would have given up on thinness, weight, costs, and a few other issues. That the mini weighs less than the major 7″ tablets it isn’t directly competing with is significant factor. The 8-9″ competitors are completely outclassed.

  9. @Lyman: Here we go again … Desperately trying to convince Andrew that iPad mini is great … Desperately trying to defend Apple …

    I can tell you this: you can spend countless hours convincing me how balanced and great the new iPad mini is. I do not need 30+ hours spent with it to make a decision. Number one on my list is the screen quality/resolution, so iPad mini cannot get past item number 1. Apple won’t get my money this time. Apparently they won’t get Andrew’s money too.

    Keep trying Lyman … Better luck next time …

  10. I put my name down to reserve an HD+ last week. The salesclerk assured me it would work with libary books and at the end of the discussion told me she didn’t realize you could borrow books on the Nook from the Library. Decided to pass on the HD+ when my name came up.

    Today I read on the B&N Community that the apps for borrowing from the library allow the borrowing, but people are unable to get the books open on the HD+.