Now that all of that Microsoft-related news is out in the open, Barnes & Noble's CEO William Lynch is ready to talk about the future. Fortune sat down with him to discuss the deal and what's next for the Nook. The answer to the latter is, at least in part, near-field communication. The exec talked up plans to begin embedding NFC chips into the readers, offering up a bit of synergy between physical books and their electronic counterparts. Says Lynch:

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.

As for whether that functionality will actually be hitting this year, Lynch offered up a big old "maybe."