updated 05:40 pm EDT, Thu April 12, 2012
Nook with GlowLight readable at nigh by itself
Barnes & Noble leapt quickly on rumors by unveiling the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. The reader is the first to merge e-paper with edge lighting that evenly illuminates the screen in the dark without needing an add-on or an outside light. The trick is meant for couples that don't want to interrupt a sleeping partner, but it also has an advantage for anyone that doesn't want to buy a clip-on reading light.
Battery life does take a hit with constant use, though it can last for a month with regular use of the GlowLight. Regular use with the light off gets about two months.
Despite the lighting, the new version is actually five percent lighter than the original. It keeps the 2GB of built-in space, good for about 1,000 books, and a microSDHC slot for 32GB more. The six-inch E Ink Pearl screen itself is the same and has the rapid page turn technique that only periodically wipes the whole page instead of at every refresh.
Choosing the GlowLight edition raises the price and puts it at $139, back where the Simple Touch was when it originally launched. Pre-orders are available now, with shipping expected May 1.
Amazon is expected to have a light-up Kindle with similar technology, but it might not ship until the summer or later.