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Old 10-21-2009, 05:46 PM   #1
jxh11215
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Post The Nook from a Kindler's POV

From my blog:
Yikes! If I thought there was Kindle-bashing before a real competitor came out, I was so wrong. Kindle users are going to have to grow some thick skin. The nook™, Barnes & Noble’s new ereader is being touted on the blogs and Twitter as the savior of ereaders.

I like the looks of the device, as one tweet said, “looks like an iPhone and a Kindle had a baby” seems about right. The nook has an eInk screen similar to the Kindle, but also has a small LCD screen under it. This seems to be giving it an ‘ooo, shiny!’ quality to some, I would caution them to take a look at all the major players before buying. I’m including Sony even though they are a device seller, not bookseller, simply because they have been in the game for awhile. I’m starting to feel a little sorry for them though–they have a lot less to offer. The features are comparable to the Kindle with some improvements that prove B&N was checking the Kindle complaint boards to see what users wanted.

Something that I think is also worth mentioning is that currently the ebooks in the B&N store are more expensive than the ones in the Kindle store. There has been mention of B&N getting more competitive. Whether they do this by combining the physical book with the ebook, or by simply lowering their price point is unknown. If they manage to tie some physical book purchases w/ the ebooks, many many users may be tempted to jump the Kindle ship.

Things they got right

Removable battery – Some Kindlers expressed concern over battery die-out in the future. The nook has a battery that you can replace
Expandable Storage – the nook has internal memory and will accommodate an microSD card. I miss the SD card in my old Kindle 1 very much. When I finished a book, I just moved it over onto the card. That was such a nice feature.
Wi-fi – This would have been a HUGE win, but their application of wi-fi just makes me laugh, unforturnately, the wi-fi is only usable inside the B&N store. What were they thinking?! Away from the store, you’ll have to use the ATT 3G network. (Edit: I orginally left off that a very nice feature of the wi-fi is that you can read an entire book free in-store. I’d like more detail on this, but as stated is an awesome feature)
Personalized Screensavers – Very nice. You have to change the Kindle’s screensavers with a hack. A nicely put together hack, but a hack all the same
File Types – The nook supports .epub and .PDF which is nice, but they left out text (.TXT) files. Also, there does not seem to be any convenient (albiet paid for) document conversion/emailing service that is available on the Kindle.
PC Reading – Using the B&N reader, you can read your content on any device that it can be installed on. Currently, there are apps for iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry, PC/Mac
nook Features
I was way more excited by the nook before I read the Tech Specs and watched their video. I am totally with them on the expandable storage, personal screensavers and replaceable battery. I am not sold on that extra screen, though. If you are only using your nook to read books, big whoop. If they open it up to developers as was hinted, then perhaps they’ll have applications available. But in that case, why not just get an iPod Touch, or Android phone instead?

Navigation – I have had a Kindle all the way back to the Kindle 1 and currently have almost 300 books, some on my Kindle 2, most in my Amazon Archives. If I’m going to have to scroll thru each cover when browsing for a re-read, I would go mad. For you iPhone users, imagine scrolling thru 300 apps–how many pages would that be?
Menu – The menu in the video seems a little too basic to me. Hopefully, there just wasn’t time to show book navigation via some sort of location or page number, although I did see a search feature. There is no mention of the ability to search within book, library, B&N Store or the web that the Kindle has.
Page Turns – Maybe it was me, but it looked like the page turn was odd and took way too long. The video on the ITworld site also seems to indicate that it takes a pretty hard push to activate the page turn.
Lending – I can see the same outcry (whether justified or not) that the Kindle generated with its TTS. I also noted the use of ‘most books’ when describing their Lending feature. Direct quote “You can lend many of your eBooks one time for a maximum of 14 days”. Does ‘one time’ mean you can only lend a book once and for a maximum of 14 days and not ‘renew’ the lend? In any case, like TTS, I’m ready for stingy Random House to turn off this feature.

Things they missed
AudioBooks – They are only mentioned in passing and the CS rep I talked with was totally confused on it which makes me wonder if their menu can tell the difference between music and an audiobook.
Folders/Tags – How they left this out, I do not know. I’m hoping the videos and specs just didn’t mention it, and its included, but content management is one of the biggest complaints and first forum questions users ask about.
Web Browser – Why go thru the trouble of putting a LCD screen on the thing if you can’t even get to the web? That was just mean.
Text-to-Speech – Adding it would not have meant copying the Kindle, it’s a useful feature and couldn’t have hurt.
Line Spacing - I’m not sure about this one, but it looked like you could only increase the font, not the line spacing. The ability to do both is in the Kindle and if you haven’t tried it, you’ll be surprised at how much easier on the eyes it is reading after increasing the line spacing.

A couple of deceptions
When I checked out the B&N comparison chart between the Kindle and the nook, a couple of things irritated me. They are touting the wi-fi/free wi-fi in B&N stores. According to their specs, that’s the only place it can be used. Yawn. The old ‘more than a million titles available’ trope indicating that they’re not available on the Kindle – bleh. I’m from Missouri – show me. If they are talking about all those Google free books, you can’t get to them on the device, you need a pc to do that. Since that’s the case, any ereader that has a pc to device connection can get them. (See article here).

All in all, I’ll be checking out the nook when they get the displays up in the stores, but for now, I don’t think I’m jumping ship. My experience on the Kindle 1 taught me better than to jump on the 1st generation device–especially when B&N isn’t really giving me anything that really compels.
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Old 10-21-2009, 05:50 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jxh11215 View Post
Wi-fi – This would have been a HUGE win, but their application of wi-fi just makes me laugh, unforturnately, the wi-fi is only usable inside the B&N store. What were they thinking?! Away from the store, you’ll have to use the ATT 3G network. (Edit: I orginally left off that a very nice feature of the wi-fi is that you can read an entire book free in-store. I’d like more detail on this, but as stated is an awesome feature)
This is wrong. The Wi-Fi is not only usable in store.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by jxh11215 View Post
Text-to-Speech – Adding it would not have meant copying the Kindle, it’s a useful feature and couldn’t have hurt.
I think they left it off because it was one more thing to aggravate publishers and they wanted publishers to go along with the lend a book feature.
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:55 PM   #4
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It's wrong, and it's spreading like wildfire, too.

"I posted yesterday about the Barnes & Noble Nook and then read Mitch’s post where one of his four points about the Nook not being revolutionary focused on the apparent limited use of WiFi. I just posed a couple of questions on the Nook press call and have to now tell Mitch he is wrong about the WiFi access, but he should actually be quite pleased since there are no limits. I confirmed that you can access and purchase books via both WiFi and AT&T 3G from any place where you have access to a network, including your home WiFi network."

http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=2101
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Old 10-21-2009, 06:58 PM   #5
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This is wrong. The Wi-Fi is not only usable in store.
Correct. This is what their support page says......but what is a "pre-configured wifi hotspot"? Is that any free wifi spot like what McDonalds is now touting?

How does nook work?
X nook lets you access over one million eBooks, eNewspapers, and eMagazines in two different ways, depending on where you are. It uses the same 3G wireless technology that your cell phone uses. But it also automatically detects Wi-Fi hotspots -- either the free Wi-Fi in all Barnes & Noble stores or any pre-configured hotspots -- and will switch to use Wi-Fi's faster connection. With either connection, you'll be able to download eBooks wirelessly in seconds.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:21 PM   #6
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I have since corrected my blog post but have the same question as grandma. What the heck does 'pre-configured hotspot' mean? I'm guessing free, but will wait to see.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:36 PM   #7
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Presumably pre-configured is referring to Controlled/Private Password (WEP,WPA) protected access points that you've entered proper password for (ie. your home router that is locked down with a wireless password)?

Wondering if the software on the reader is set up to communicate with your PC/Mac eBook reading software over your local network when on your router or if everything has to go through B+N's Nook servers?

Also, wonder if you could spoof a B+N Nook server on your local to serve up your own books to the Nook w/o having to hook up a USB cable or physically copy and swap onto a memory card. That would be neat.

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Old 10-21-2009, 07:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jxh11215 View Post
I have since corrected my blog post but have the same question as grandma. What the heck does 'pre-configured hotspot' mean? I'm guessing free, but will wait to see.
Quote from the Nook faq (traveling with the Nook): "You can connect to Wi-Fi hotspots that do not use proxy security settings".

You can only connect to hotspots that do not ask for authentication (like a password or code) after connecting.
For example: the London hotel I stayed in earlier this year offered free wifi. But after connecting to the network you got an login page where you had type in a special code (supplied with the room).
The Nook is not able the show an authentication page like this, so you cannot connect.

Edit because of post #7. I assume you will be able to save a WEP or WPA password in the wifi configuration of the Nook (for your home network).

Last edited by geertm; 10-21-2009 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 10-21-2009, 07:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by jxh11215 View Post
File Types – The nook supports .epub and .PDF which is nice, but they left out text (.TXT) files. Also, there does not seem to be any convenient (albiet paid for) document conversion/emailing service that is available on the Kindle.
There is software available that allows you to print to PDF, so if you use something like this then document conversion is easy-peasy. No lost emails and no horrendous conversions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jxh11215 View Post
I am not sold on that extra screen, though. If you are only using your nook to read books, big whoop. If they open it up to developers as was hinted, then perhaps they’ll have applications available. But in that case, why not just get an iPod Touch, or Android phone instead?
I have to disagree on this point. It would be GREAT if B&N opens up the Nook so that developers can produce applications. If a SDK existed then third parties could develop things like folders or a tagging/category system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jxh11215 View Post
Navigation – I have had a Kindle all the way back to the Kindle 1 and currently have almost 300 books, some on my Kindle 2, most in my Amazon Archives. If I’m going to have to scroll thru each cover when browsing for a re-read, I would go mad. For you iPhone users, imagine scrolling thru 300 apps–how many pages would that be?
You don't have to use the bottom scroll thru area to navigate to a specific book. The Nook also list titles and authors in the upper eInk portion of the device, just like the Kindle. However, it's not clear if the Nook supports folders or tags, but I suspect they don't or they would be touting this feature.

A couple of comparison deceptions annoyed me as well. Mostly in terms of leaving off comparisons that would have been in the Kindle's favor. For example, having an Internet Browser, Text-To-Speech, audio book support, and the fact that the Kindle is significantly thinner. They also don't mention that Amazon also produces the Kindle DX, which does support PDFs and thus has access to all of the Google books. Not to mention that the DX also has a much larger screen than the Nook.

I also agree with you on the LendMe feature. There is even less incentive for publishers not to opt out of this feature than there is for them to opt out of Amazon's TTS feature. Plus B&N wrote their description of this feature rather poorly. Can you only lend the book once and never again, or do they really mean you can only lend the book to one person at a time? I suspect it is the latter but I don't know this for sure.

B&N has not done an outstanding job of describing the Nook's features. Why garble the LendMe feature? Why garble the wi-fi feature? Why not give the details of their PDF support? Why not give the details of how their list of books is navigated? Why haven't they just made the User Manual available on their website? That would answer a lot of people's questions.

Overall I liked your blog post. Nice job, jhx.
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Old 10-21-2009, 10:38 PM   #10
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Another Kindler's opinion:

I was ready to hop on the Nook bandwagon if it made buying and sharing books easier, but for me it misses the mark.

As a lover of browsing book stores, I want to do business in the brick and mortar stores. So I have eagerly anticipated seeing the larger chains go digital. I had hoped the Nook would have some feature that would allow you to purchase a book from the display with a click of the button (an ifra red transfer?). However, the Nook doesn't make buying books any easier than the Kindle and that is a big disappointment.

Likewise, I miss sharing books with friends. However, 90% of my paper books got passed on to my mother so I solved that problem by buying her a Kindle and having it registered on my account. Whenever I read a book I think she will like, I can just go to my Amazon account and send it to her Kindle. She's not a gadget person but loves it. The 14 day lending period would be a big step backwards (not to mention the publishers ability to opt out). Too much coordination on timing. I don't want to lend - I want to read and just pass it on like I did with paper.

I also think the Sprint connectivity is more flexible than wi-fi for those who live in/frequent the coverage area. My parents don't have wireless, my home network is secured and free public wi-fi is only available in certain places.

In short, I think the Nook may be a nice device for the average gadget user but it doesn't offer any advances over the Kindle as a device for the average book reader.

I also own a Sony reader and might've considered replacing that particular device with the Nook IF it had folders, the built in light and was as compact.

I REALLY want a reason to upgrade...and while I think the Nook has a lot of potential, it's just another cool looking gadget and is missing the killer app or set of apps that would compel me to upgrade.

Last edited by Boston; 10-21-2009 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 10-22-2009, 12:21 AM   #11
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Someone mentioned thickness. I don't think thinner is better. If you want to read the device out of the case, a comfortable amount of thickness is good. The kindle 2 is ok for that but a little thicker is probably ideal. I did pre-order the nook. I like the looks of it. Seems it will be able to read my epub books I had when I had a sony and I presume I will be able to also check out library books as I have access to NYPL. So that all are pluses for me personally. The idea of looking at book covers in color and browing the b &N store in color but still reading with e-ink sound great.
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Old 10-22-2009, 01:06 AM   #12
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In regards to txt, rtf, doc, etc support: it's quite easy to convert a document to eReader format. There are Word macros readily available. If you search for Word-to-pdb or word-to-peanut press you should be able to find one. Back when I did all my reading on a PDA using eReader (formerly called PalmReader and Peanut Reader) I used to convert documents at home all the time.
Also, as mentioned above, printing to a PDF might work well, also. You just need to create a custom paper size for your device, to make sure page breaks, etc, land in the right place.
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