Barnes & Noble Inc said on Sunday it would delay shipments of its newly launched Nook electronic reader to stores as the company strives to deliver preordered devices to consumers before the holidays.

We expect to have them in our highest-volume stores on December 7th and in a very limited number, Barnes & Noble spokeswoman Mary Ellen Keating told Reuters. The company had earlier hoped to have a limited number of e-readers in some of its stores around November 30, she said.

Barnes & Noble, which launched the e-reader in late October, is focused on getting the devices into the hands of its customers who ordered the $259 devices before November 20.

Earlier this month, the company said it had sold out of the Nook due to high demand, following a similar announcement by e-reader rival Sony Corp <6758.T>.

Experts predict that electronic readers -- which allow consumers to read off light, tablet-like devices that can download digital copies of books, magazines and newspapers -- -- will be a hot gift item this holiday season.

But supply issues could end up helping sales of the Kindle from rival , which analysts believe holds top market share in the category. The companies do not disclose sales figures or projections for their e-readers.