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A closer look at the Barnes & Noble nook

Here's a look at the new Barnes & Noble e-reader, dubbed "nook," which was unveiled today in New York City. Nancy's a Kindle owner, but welcomes the competition, because she says it will force Amazon to improve its device. Some notable features of the nook:

-- Screen is 7.7 by 4.9 inches. Also has a small, color touchscreen to scroll through tiltes and tap open your next read.

-- Price: $259.

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-- 2GB of memory stores up to 1,500 books, newspapers and magazines; can be upgraded with a memory card for storage of up to 17,500.

-- Equipped for free wireless from Barnes & Noble via AT&T, Wi-Fi ( 802.11 b/g), and free Wi-Fi in all Barnes & Noble stores.

-- Most eBooks can be lent for up to 14 days at a time, and sent to a friend's reader, cell phone, or computer.

The last item is a big leap for e-books, which have been restricted to a single device (and sometimes even lifted from that device, a la Amazon's "1984" pilfering). The 14-day limit was no doubt designed to deter digital piracy; it will be interesting to see whether it becomes an industry standard, or whether publishers loosen up even further.

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