$100 bonus for Nook preorders that miss Christmas delivery

Barnes & Noble may disappoint some Nook buyers when their e-readers don’t arrive in time for Christmas, but those frowns should turn upside down when they get $100 gift cards as consolation.

Those who pre-ordered the Nook before November 20th were promised the e-reader before Christmas, but now Barnes & Noble says a “very small percentage” of buyers will miss out, InformationWeek reports. It’s not clear when those devices will arrive, but if you order a Nook now, it won’t show up until February. The bookseller didn’t give a number or percentage of customers whose orders won’t arrive in time, but said the “vast majority” of people who ordered before November 20th will get the Nook by Christmas.

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The $100 gift certificate is a nice gesture to those who won’t make the cut, but it’s also a desperate measure to keep people from defecting to Amazon’s Kindle at the last minute. Last week, Amazon threw down a tantalizing offer to consumers who cannot wait: Order a Kindle by December 22, and get free two-day shipping, with the e-reader guaranteed to arrive by Christmas Eve day.

If the buzz over the Nook was as feverish now as it was when Barnes & Noble introduced the e-reader in October, I think you’d have more patience and less takers. But so far, Nook reviews have been lukewarm at best. Setbacks marred marquis features such as a separate, color touch screen and the ability to lend e-books to other users. Reviewers uniformly complained of long page load times and a buggy touch screen. Those gripes are fixable, and Barnes & Noble has promised a software update next year, but they also prevent the Nook from becoming an instant Kindle killer.

That said, if I had a Nook on the way, I’d have loved to be one of the lucky few who don’t get it by Christmas. A little patience is worth the library of e-books you could get in return.