Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Nook News

I have taken to my e-reader like a duck to water. I am now in the middle of my third book (Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson) on my Nook Color tablet and I actually think I’m reading faster.

The Nook is the fourth or fifth player in e-reader market share so making a decision to buy one includes a calculation of the likelihood of Nook becoming another Betamax and obsolete before its time.

As David Poque, the personal tech columnist for The New York Times pointed out in this column, “when you buy an e-reader, you’re committing to that one company’s catalog of books forever, because their book formats are mutually incompatible.”

“You can’t read a Kindle book on a Nook, or a Nook book on a Sony Reader, or a Sony book on an iPad. Sure, you can read Nook and Kindle books on an iPad, but when you buy an actual Nook or Kindle, you’ve just married its company forever. If you ever want to change brands, you have to give up all the books you’ve ever bought.”

On the positive side, Barnes & Noble, the developer of the Nook has a pretty deep book shelf and buying a book on their device is almost too easy. I can see how this could get out of hand like my iTunes addiction. 

If I had it to do over I wouldn’t get the Nook Color tablet again though. I don’t need an e-reader that can also play movies and surf the web. I have an iPad for the heavy stuff like that. The lighter weight dedicated e-reader is the way to go. You can read a regular book anywhere, standing in a line, lying in a hammock, or sitting on the can. An e-reader should be no different and in all those situations lighter is certainly better. Trying standing while holding an iPad, and reading a book. You’ll soon see what I mean. An e-reader should be comfortable to hold in one hand.

If I was in the market for an e-reader today I’d get the new Nook SimpleTouch with GlowLight. It’s less than seven ounces and David Poque thinks there is “no better E Ink model than this new glowing Nook. For the first time in e-reader history, you can have spectacular, crisp pages to read in any light, from beach sunshine to sleeping-spouse darkness.”

As for the survivability question, yesterday Microsoft announced that it was investing $300 million in Barnes and Nobles tablet and e-reader business in return for a share of the e-reader action, That should help keep the Nook around for at least little longer anyway. 
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