Initial Reaction to the Barnes & Noble Nook

First off, the Kindle is the only device I that made my heart drop when it feel on the floor and broke.

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not a perfect device. Overall it feels slow and clunky. Simultaneously, it gets out of my way and is cool enough to let me get swallowed up by the book I’m reading.

Barnes & Noble’s recently announced Nook competitive offering solves a couple issues I have with the Kindle – while also introducing a couple more.

(Note – my thoughts here are based on the pictures @ BN.com – I haven’t played with one yet)

Where the Nook seems to have improved on the Kindle:

  • Sleek looking pagination buttons
  • WIFI

Where the Kindle still has the lead:

  • Doesn’t show me the books I’m not reading (in distracting color) while I’m reading one (in monochrome).
  • hardware keyboard

I’m also not seeing the benefit of the Nook’s ‘lending ebooks to a friend’ feature.

Lending books only makes sense if two things are true: a book is expensive, a book is scarce. The function of the internet and ebooks is to render both of these false.

3 Replies to “Initial Reaction to the Barnes & Noble Nook”

  1. It was my understanding that the color screen will turn off when you are reading a book, eliminating the distraction. It is only active if you are typing on it or browsing your books on it, and in fact it is a no-brainer that it is so, because the LED screen obviously takes up much more power than the e-ink display. Come on, even B&N would not get this wrong.

    Honestly I have a very good impression of the device, in my opinion it should be much better than the Kindle. As an e-reader are you typing on it often anyway? It makes sense to have a soft keyboard then.

  2. In what is a very rare turn of events I find myself disagreeing with one of items on your blog Garrick. Your comment:

    I’m also not seeing the benefit of the Nook’s ‘lending ebooks to a friend’ feature.

    This feature is fundamental to me and is, somewhat surprisingly, the very biggest problem I have with the Kindle. I’ve found myself intentionally buying a print book over buying on the Kindle hinging on one criterion — how likely do I think I will want to pass this book along?

    Books are very different than other assets in this manner. For example, with music I rarely give music away because I want to continue to listen to it. With books, I tend to think of a friend that would enjoy reading it and pass it along. Not being able to do this annoys me, and emotionally makes me mad. I have an asymmetric response to this limitation in part because it’s a book.

    Your suggestion that ebooks make availability and cost non-issues isn’t true. Availability sure — there is infinite availability. But $9.99 isn’t free and for many is a significant barrier. (Put aside the argument of the device cost for a moment). If device costs were removed, and there was ubiquity with no DRM lock in, we would be able to share books with friends for free. Something we should be able to do.

    Viva Free Culture! Viva Libraries! 🙂

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