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Nooks will have NFC

John Moe May 2, 2012

Not, I should point out, the National Football Conference, but rather Near Field Communications, a chip that makes it possible to pay by just swiping a device in front of a reader gizmo at the checkout at a store. The CEO of Barnes & Noble, William Lynch, said that such a technology is coming to the next round of the Nook, this after the deal where Microsoft will invest some $605 million in Nook going forward. Lynch says that the NFC system will go far beyond just paying for something with a swoop of the Nook.

He told Fortune:

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.

Here’s what I don’t get: if all this emphasis is placed on the Nook, and all this money is pouring into the Nook, where does that leave those stores? It’s a heck of a lot easier and cheaper to run a server than it is to lease a huge amount of space, put up a huge building, staff it with people, stock actual books, and buy leather chairs. The NFC thing is fine but how special will it be if there aren’t any stores to use it in?

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