With an NFC-enabled Nook, you could "walk up to any of our pictures, any [of] 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," the US bookseller's CEO has told Fortune.
The move follows the signing earlier this week of a strategic partnership between Barnes & Noble and Microsoft. The agreement will see the software giant investing US$300 million for a 17.6% stake in a new Barnes & Noble subsidiary which will own the bookseller's digital and college businesses. As part of the deal, a Nook application for Windows 8 will be developed, "providing one of the world's largest digital catalogues of e-books, magazines and newspapers to hundreds of millions of Windows customers in the US and internationally."
Key to the addition of NFC to the Nook will be the ability to integrate the company's online and offline business, Lynch told Fortune.
"We feel like we still have a lot of opportunity in the offline-online integration, and how we integrate stores," he explained. "We've done I think one of the better jobs in terms of creating a Nook experience in our stores to really improve the overall consumer experience... But I think there are things we have yet to do. If we had more time, I would try to figure out how to unlock cool experiences.
"I'll give you a perfect example," Lynch added. "We're going to start embedding NFC chips into our Nooks. 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 [of] 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."
"And is that NFC experience rolling out this year?," Fortune asked Lynch. "Maybe...", he replied.