Reading Nook — Barnes & Noble vs Kindle

Introducing the Barnes & Noble “Nook”:


I’m guessing that this is a leak — the “overview” link goes to Brsnoble’s e-book page, and there’s no mention of the “Nook” on the front page. Also the images refer to it as a “Hero”… development name perhaps?

They found a clever solution around the keyboard problem; e-ink displays are (apparently) incompatible with the surfaces that are used with touch-displays like the Apple iPhone, thus necessitating a chicklet keyboard (like the Kindle) or no keyboard at all (Sony). The “Nook” is instead putting an iPhone-style color display underneath the reading area. It doubles as a browser for full-color book covers. An LCD display is also like a tiny TV underneath the book (update: click to see in action), so I hope that it shuts off during formal reading time. (Of course it also cuts down the “reading space” to the top 3/4 of the device, but that’s no worse than the Kindle.)

I was dismissive of Barnes & Noble’s chances of entering the e-book market with a proprietary device this late in the game, but I think we’re looking at a surprise Christmas hit.

Also notable…

  • update: Video featuring a goofball co-ed.
  • It runs the Google Android OS (developed for cellphones). Awesome.
  • If Nook is successful, there will be two incompatible, competing, DRM-encoded e-book standards. That’s going to be a mess. (I don’t consider Sony’s efforts to be “successful” yet.)
  • Barnes & Noble also has iPhone/Blackberry/Mac/PC reading softwares coming out, so you’ll be able to read books on multiple platforms. Like Amazon, they’re more interested in selling books than devices.
  • Cross-compatibility between Nook and Sony readers — or even Nook and Kindle — is technically possible, but, as long as they’re “selling the razor blades,” unlikely.
  • If the PDF support is any good, you’ll see a lot of used Kindles on eBay overnight.
  • Engadget hints that you might get your filthy mitts on one at Best Buy this Thursday.
  • “hero implies hero shot… marketing term for that kind of image, as opposed to front/side/back” thanks CharlesV

And hey, great news for book cover designers… your craft will be preserved in the space of a postage stamp.

October 20th, 2009 by Eric Jacobsen

6 Responses to “Reading Nook — Barnes & Noble vs Kindle”

  1. HTMLGIANT says:

    [...] An overview of the Nook, a new e-reader from Barnes & Noble; oh, and there’s this: And hey, great news for book cover designers… your craft will be preserved in the space of a postage stamp. Tags: book design, e-reader, nook [...]

  2. did it all for the Nookie…;0 postage sized covers are cute…

  3. Anita Plunkett says:

    I would like to know if there is going to be a cover for the nook that is an easel. Please let me know!

    I am handicapped. My hands will not allow me to hold an open book so if they had a cover that would open up like an easel or a tripod this would make the nook really good for me. I loved the fact that they have touchscreen.

  4. PeterY says:

    For anyone considering the nook, please read about my experience.

    First I had to wait about 30 days for my nook to arrive. It worked as advertised at first but began having problems after the third recharge cycle. The nook was stuck in the screen shot mode and would not respond. After holding for 45 minutes, B&N tech support was able to walk me through rebooting the reader. After a full recharge, again the nook would not turn on at all. I tried everything recommended by tech support and nothing worked. How does a new item with a new battery stop working like this? Why doest it take 45 minutes each time you call their help desk?

    I decided to ask for the manager and request a refund. Although they agree to fully refund me the price of the nook, all accessories and membership fee, they would not refund the ebooks I had purchased. I can tell you that the service managers are anxious to get unhappy customers off the phone. I suggested that I receive a store credit to purchase the physical books in their stores which they refused to do. They were just happy to get me off the phone.

    I can’t remember the last time I such a terrible experience with a retailer. They are not prepared to handle the tech issues and not committed to providing good customer service.

    Bottomline is that if you are considering the Nook, buyer beware!

  5. garmin says:

    Great job. Good article I must say.

  6. Awesome post, I’m an avid reader of this site, keep on writing these great posts, and I will be a regular visitor for a very long time.

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