April 23, 2010, 3:47 PM

Barnes & Noble launches Nook TV ads and adds web browsing to the device

Showing just how much importance it’s placing on its Nook e-reader, Barnes & Noble Inc. is running its first TV ads in more than a decade. The ads showcase the e-reader and focus on the highly portable nature of e-books.

Showing just how much importance it’s placing on its Nook e-reader, Barnes & Noble Inc. is running its first TV ads in more than a decade. The ads showcase the e-reader and focus on the highly portable nature of e-books.

The ad campaign, developed with Merkley + Partners, includes radio, print and online ads.

What’s more, the bookseller plans to roll out a software update for the Nook that will let users browse the web and play games on the device, a clear attempt to take on Apple Inc.’s iPad, the new tablet computer that focuses on browsing the Internet, e-mail, video and games that can also be used to read digital books. Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle also offers web browsing.

Additionally, the update will allow users to browse complete electronic books while they are in Barnes & Noble stores for up to an hour a day at no cost, even if the printed book isn’t in the store. Improved Wi-Fi connectivity and touch-screen navigation, as well as faster page turns are also part of the upgrade, the bookseller says.

The advertising campaign centers on “My Story,” a 30-second television spot that encourages viewers to find the Nook at their local Barnes & Noble store, online at Nook.com and at Best Buy, where the Nook went on sale this week.

Barnes & Noble is airing the ads during such top-rated television programs as American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Good Morning America, House, The Today Show, 30 Rock and others.

“We’re excited to launch this campaign to showcase Nook and its benefits, and welcome customers to visit their local Barnes & Noble store to experience the best dedicated e-book reader with the help of one of our trained booksellers,” says Sasha Norkin, vice president of acquisition marketing at BarnesandNoble.com Inc., No. 41 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.

The national ad campaign and the addition of web browsing and other functions are yet more signs of how aggressively Barnes & Noble is pushing its Nook, its best-selling product, to compete against Amazon.com’s Kindle, Sony Electronics Inc.’s Reader, Apple’s iPad and others. Just this week, Best Buy Co. Inc. started selling the Nook in its stores and online at BestBuy.com. Best Buy also is loading Barnes & Noble’s BN e-reader software on select PCs, netbooks, tablets and smartphones. Best Buy also sells Sony’s Reader and Apple’s iPad.

Apple is No. 5 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. Sony is No. 12 and Best Buy is No. 10.

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