Following Microsoft's investment in a Nook spin-off and the continued success of Barnes & Noble's ereading empire, we can expect to see some serious changes in the future. In fact, William Lynch, who heads up Nook, has already let a few of them slip.
Talking to Fortune, Lynch has been explaining how the Microsoft deal will effect Nook and how the future of ereading will see publishers working more closely with technology. Perhaps most interesting are his suggestions of using NFC:
"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 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."
In fact, in the interview he hints that this could be coming some time this year. Elsewhere, he talks about how the deal with Microsoft was motivated by the fact that "they bring... hundreds of millions of screens and windows", through which Nook can leverage their understanding of reading and relationships with publishers.
But it seems that the relationship with Microsoft is about more than filling screens; it's about deep integration with Windows, too:
"Microsoft is obviously very entrenched in Windows. On the reading software side, in reading technologies, they're making interesting integrations into Windows, potentially Office. That kind of work has already started... imagine an integration where an information worker, student, author, consumer, creates something in Office and has it immediately published for sale through the Nook book store. It starts to open a lot of exciting possibilities."
That makes it sound like Barnes & Noble could be targeting Apple's iBook Author -- only through the most widely used OS in the world. It will be interesting to see exactly what developments come out of Nook over the coming year. [Fortune]