Wednesday, October 21, 2009

BN launches nook

Update: This was an old post written in 2009 but has had a lot of activity this week, people finding it in google. To check out some Nooks, visit Nook

Barnes & Noble would like you to "Meet the World's Most Advanced eBook Reader" - the nook. And indeed, at first glance it seems to have a slight edge on the Kindle...

What they have in common:

- E-ink screen
- Wireless book downloading
- Small & compact, 6 inch screen
- Adjustable text size
- Store up to 1500 books
- Built in dictionary
- Free eBook samples
- Pricing $259
- Newspaper & magazine subscription
- DRM (see exceptions*)
- iPhone & iPod applications

What nook has that Kindle doesn't:

- Optional SD memory card (additional cost)
- color section to view book selections (but not on main screen)
- directly download pdf rather than conversion required (available with Kindle DX) - now available on Kindle 2, and with rotatable screen (Nov 2009 update)
- personalized screensavers
- qwerty touchscreen keyboard (possibly a positive but it's small & personally I don't want grubby fingers on my screen)
- mac readability (**coming soon to Kindle - Kindle for PC is already available)
- *LendMe technology - send your eBook to a friends device for a 14 day loan. This acts just like a dtb loan - it's taken off your device for 14 days & returned to you after that period.
Important to note though, that each e-book can be lent one time only, according to reps on the B&N help forums. So you can't be passing it around your family & friends, and whoever borrows it must finish it within the 14 day time period.

What Kindle has but the nook doesn't:

- .doc support & downloading
- regular keyboard for note taking
- 5-way controller: highlighting, annotations, search feature, dictionary look-up
- International option
- Text to speech option for many books (publisher permitting)
- Basic web browser (experimental)
Looks like the competition is hotting up - a device with comparable features, a few extras on one hand but a few less on the other. Nonetheless, it's an option that is surely worthy of consideration.

Now, if only Amazon would permit real ebook sharing & maybe introduce a full color e-ink screen, then I think they'll be wiping the competition off the screen.

For me, the nook's biggest plus is the LendMe technology, albeit very limited lending capabilities. I've read many complaints about being unable to share eBooks with DRM limitations & apparently, the nook has a limited answer to that - as long as your friend has a compatible device (you couldn't share your nook eBook with a Sony eReader, for example) and reads it within the 14 day time limit.

On the other hand, lack of scrolling for highlighting and especially word definitions is a big downer. The few times I've read a paperback over the past few months have been odd experiences... the oddest being trying to stop myself going for the 5-way to look up a word. I'd seriously miss that feature if I had to switch to another device.

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