Nuts: The Barnes and Noble Nook isn't very good

The Barnes and Noble Nook isn’t ready for prime time, according to David Pogue of the New York Times. Walter Mossberg of the WSJ agrees. Too bad: I was thinking about buying one, mostly for the .pdf capabilities, but I think I’ll wait—maybe for Kindle 3. I don’t think the Kindle’s current and potential dominance of the eBook market is good for books or consumers, and part of the reason that the Nook attracted me is precisely because it represents a real competitor to the Kindle. But these reviews indicate that the Nook was either rushed to market or poorly tested.

The .pdf issue is important to me because I’m a grad student in English and have to read a steadily larger number of articles and book chapters. Most get printed, but I no longer have the physical capacity to store, organize, and carry all of them, which makes something like the Kindle or Nook appealing, despite my reservations concerning the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM). By the way, you might want to check out the comments section on my post “New Kindle, same problems,” as Jason Fisher and Maggie Brookes have been talking books, ebooks, and culture in that space.

2 responses

  1. First, I would give the Nook the benefit of the doubt. In two months, software updates could have solved most of these performance problems. So definitely keep an eye out for it. The one thing we LOVED about the Nook was native support for EPUB (Kindle does not have that). Those who follow the ebook industry see more similarities than differences in the devices, although that Pogue review was pretty savage.

    PDFs on ebook readers are uniformly bad…not because of the reader itself, but because of the sloppiness by those who prepared the PDFs. That said, Google’s epub files seems to have converted the PDFs fairly well.

    I would recommend getting familiar with Calibre, which handles ebook conversions (including from PDF. That said, it all depends on the quality of the original PDF. I’ve had decent PDFs and the ebook looks great. Bad ones, and the ebooks are unreadable.

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