Take the Nook off your Christmas list. The new e-reader from Barnes & Noble (BKS) has already sold out, and more won't be available until after the holiday has passed. The next batch will be available, at best, by January 4, 2010.
In a statement, the company said, "While we increased production based on the high consumer interest, we've sold out of our initial Nook allotment available for delivery before the holidays." If you still want to give the device as a holiday gift, Barnes & Noble will give you a gift certificate to tide the recipient over until the device itself comes around.
Barnes & Noble isn't the only e-reader purveyor to run into this problem. On Wednesday, Sony (SNE) announced that it couldn't guarantee that its e-reader, the Reader Daily Edition, would make it home for the holidays. These missteps can only be described as lost opportunities, especially for Barnes & Noble. The splash it made with the Nook drove the message home that there was a viable competitor to the Amazon (AMZN) Kindle. But, misreading demand could drive shoppers into Amazon's arms, costing the traditional retailer market share in this new segment of the market.
Barnes & Noble wouldn't reveal how many Nooks it has sold, but did say that sales exceeded expectations. Of course, the fact that the company ran out of them already told us that.