Blog Post

Nook Reviews Vary From Cover to Cover, But it’s an Early Edition

The first Barnes & Noble Nook (s bks) e-book devices have landed and there are quite a few page turners in the form of reviews available. I’ve read several and nearly all share a common theme — the device probably could have used a little more time to mature and should get better over time. Here’s a round-up of a few hands-on reviews along with some highlighted quotes:

Technologizer — “The Nook isn’t a Kindle killer–not in this initial form, at least. For all its pleasing touches, intriguing innovations, and clear advantages over the Kindle, it feels like a less-than-perfectly-polished 1.0 product, just like Amazon’s first e-reader did a couple of years ago. The user interface is surprisingly sluggish, there are some usability gaffes, and I encountered a major bug with the device’s most-touted feature. Even the much-hyped lending feature has a major gotcha: You can lend a book once. Period.

Engadget — “Waiting for the refresh when you’re moving around on the faster color screen can be annoying, though like many aspects of navigation on the Nook, it’s all about learning the pace of the reader. See, it’s not exactly that fast of a device anywhere, color screen or otherwise, so you have to get used to all kinds of little pauses and punctuation in the experience.

Gizmodo — “[I]f you have to pick one right now, stick with the Kindle. It’s a tough call, because I see a lot of potential in Nook that might not be in Kindle, but damn if the Kindle hasn’t grown to comfortably inhabit its e-ink skin. As long as you don’t expect apps and extras on a Kindle, it delivers the best ebook experience there is at this moment. And it just went international. But while the limitations of a Kindle are clear, the limitations of the Nook are hazier, presumably further out.”

The Mobile Gadgeteer — “After confirming that eReader and Fictionwise ebooks work very well, with just a single credit card confirmation, I am ecstatic about the amount of content available to me on my new Nook. As I said in my video, you can save a ton of money by purchasing content through the eReader and Fictionwise sites and the Nook really sets the bar for obtaining content.

I saved Matt Miller’s review for last in this short roundup — for two reasons. First, he offers a 25 minute video overview of the device to give you a good look the hardware and software. And he’s the only reviewer I saw that covered an important topic — content compatibility with eReader and Fictionwise content. Although I’ve spent hundred of dollars on content for my Kindle (s amzn) this year, I’ve spent nearly an equal amount on eReader content since 2003. So this particular bit is of importance to me and most other early adopter types. I highly recommend Matt’s video because he shows a side-by-side comparison of the Nook’s screen refresh with that of his old Sony Reader 505 device. Although the Nook uses a newer eInk display, the results may surprise you.

All in all, I’m happy with my Amazon Kindle and the additional features included in the Nook aren’t enough to get me to switch. Those without a Kindle or other e-book reader might be swayed by the Nook, especially after it matures just a bit more.

6 Responses to “Nook Reviews Vary From Cover to Cover, But it’s an Early Edition”

  1. Just got my grandson the nook,already I don’t care for it why should you need a credit card in order to download so called free books.customer service time is almost an hour waiting time.thinking about taking it back and going for the kindle.If you ask me b&n has false advertisement when they show commercials about how many thousands of free books they have,but don’t mention the credit card to get them.then when you ask them about it,they tell you it is for security purposes and for something like the copy rights and stuff.BULL they should have all this worked out,and if you want to buy a book they shoud have a cart like other sites and then you would need a credit card.

  2. Kindle owner and long time ereader. Spent a few minutes at BN today with the Nook. Heavier than the Kindle, and very very very slow. Color screen was very unintuitive. Lots of potential but not enough to upgrade my Kindle.

    I don’t need wifi and while I like the sd card slot idea, never needed more storage space (and I have 10 pages of books). Also, easy to add free content to the kindle and now has pdf support.

  3. My patch wish: please just make the crashes go away!!!

    Well OK: please make it stable between wifi and at&t when I’m at my local B&N mothership.

    And another: where is my promised free ebook for being one of the first 10,000 to pre-order??? (emailed them via their web site and all I got was silence)

    I was able to port all my purchased Sony Store content onto the nook. You download the 3.1 Sony software (new today). Grab everything in sight on your Sony bookshelf. Import the epub’s into your Adobe Digital Editions. Plug in the nook. Activate the nook. Shove content onto nook. Read content on nook.

    Go to Fictionwise and re-download all your non-secure titles there as epub’s and shove onto nook.

    Sit back and wish it had a 10″ screen like your Kindle DX and didn’t crash so gosh darn much. SIGH.

  4. Been using my nook for 2 days now. So far it’s doing quite well. My main issue with it is something that was already acknowledged on the forums as being fixed in an upcoming patch– and that’s the fact that it will not cache the formatting/pagination of a book once it’s done.

    So anytime I’ve closed that book and go back, it reformats. Sure it’s only 5 seconds, but it’s annoying.

    I also would kill for a “back” button somewhere.

  5. Several points: (1) The non-B&N options for the Nook aren’t unique to it. There are many places to get books for the Kindle: Fictionwise is just one of many (see also this link for many free books, including wireless downloading from

    (2) Price is important from the various stores. E-books from Amazon are on average cheaper than B&N and much cheaper than from Sony. See (not only to comparison shop prices on ebooks, but also to see their research on price comparisons:

    (3) The key feature of any of these e-books is not the color LCD navigation screen, the WiFi, etc. These are used only now and then. The key feature is the e-ink screen and how it works.In my opinion, the screen needs to be sharper contrast between letters and background and screen sizes between 7 and 9 inches (like the books I have on my shelf).

    (4) Look at the NY Times review of the Nook since the NYT carries so much influence in the marketplace. The review was quite negative for the Nook

  6. Regarding the content capability, I read over at Mobileread from some of the new owners that the nook seems to display DRM’d ePubs and PDFs purchased with Adobe Digital Editions from other stores. Sony’s new ePubs should work too, not to mention the free library ebooks available through Overdrive.