Saturday November 18 , 2017

Would Santa wait for a nook?

Would Santa wait for a nook? Santa would likely say, "I didn't pre-order either".

The nook has all the buzz the Nintendo Wii had a few years ago. It's one of the most-wanted gadgets of Christmas 2009, and there aren't enough to go around. This is great news for Amazon! The nook "fever" has gotten a lot of people interested in eReader devices. Many of those people will put a Kindle under the tree since the nook is nowhere to be found. Remember, every Kindle purchased is going to generate eBook sales for years to come for Amazon. All this buzz has to make the folks at Amazon giddy with holiday cheer.

In addition to the Kindle, Sony has some nicely equipped devices that also embrace some of the open eBook standards (ePub) that drives part of the interest in the Barnes & Noble nook. There are several other eReader devices coming soon. Some of them are clearly more technically advanced than the nook. The question is why do you want a nook - is it worth waiting for? I think if you haven't already bought the Amazon or Sony reader and wrapped it under the tree, the answer is "yes!". You wouldn't want buyer's remorse would you?

Obligatory Comparison Chart

Let's start with a short & simple comparison chart.




Network Access

Cellular & Wi-Fi


Operating System

Linux (Android)

Linux (Custom)


2GB, Expandable with MicroSD (up to 16GB)

2GB, Not Expandable

Book Sharing

Lend books one time up to 14 days. Share an account on multiple nooks.

Share an account on multiple Kindles.


6 inch E-Ink Display + 3.5 inch color touchscreen for navigation

6 inch E-Ink Display, has keyboard for navigation

Audio Support

MP3 Support, no "read to me" or audiobook support

Can turn qualifying eBooks into audiobooks. Audiobook support.

Applications: Browser, Wikipedia, Dictionary


Browser, Wikipedia, Dictionary


1M books (about half are free books, probably from Google Books). Offers $9.99 for best sellers. 10% restocking fee on 14 day returns.

350K books. Offers $9.99 for best sellers and typically has the lowest book prices. 30 day return policy with no re-stocking fee.

eBook Format Support

ePub, PDF, PDB


What's really in the nook's favor?

  • Book Lending. The nook supports lending each title once for 14 days to other nook users - if the publisher allows it. Depending on your own personal situation, that may not be as beneficial as account sharing. For example, a couple that shares reading interests may not find the nook lending feature that useful.
  • Operating System. The nook runs "Android"! This could mean everything or nothing. Android is the operating system from Google that runs on small mobile devices. They key thing is Android is becoming a huge platform in the mobile phone market. There are many applications that could run on the device from the Android Marketplace. The catch is B&N doesn't allow you to really use the nook this way yet. If they did, you could use that color screen as a calendar, play games or control a web browser. This could be a game-changer in eReaders transforming them into personal devices with paper like displays, but that's NOT what is being shipped. NOTE: The folks over at nookDevs are already thinking about how to "jailbreak" the nook.
  • Wi-Fi Support. This could be a huge advantage - if only you had an application to use it! This is a feature you should demand on a new eReader device, but it seems the only use for this is to buy books when a AT&T 3G connection isn't available. Without more applications, like a web browser, it would seem the killer use of this feature is to read books for free in a B&N store. Again, we see the potential that could be a game-changer for these devices if B&N opens the platform up for applications.
  • Book Selection. Barnes and Noble has a huge selection of eBooks, and they have integrated their catalog with the free eBooks from Google books. While this is potentially a big win for the nook, you have to consider how many paid-for books are available and their prices. Several bloggers have shown that the B&N eBook prices are consistently higher in random samplings over the Amazon and Sony marketplace. If B&N can be competitive on price this is a huge benefit!
  • Open eBook standards. While B&N uses it's own DRM for eBook lending, the device supports the open ePub standard (which doesn't define a standard for DRM). This opens a lot of doors for getting books from many avenues (listing here). One example of this usage is with your local library. Many libraries use the Overdrive service for eBooks, and according to Adobe the nook is certified to use with those books. The Kindle really loses here since it's tied to the Amazon proprietary book format. These open standards have allowed B&N to easily offer eReaders on your PC or Phone that will work with the books you buy for your nook. The Kindle iPhone app puts the B&N buggy iPhone app to shame, if that's an important point for you.

Santa's Advice?

So at the end of the day you can make a safe bet and get a Kindle, or you can bet on the future and hope B&N opens up the nook platform to run applications. Will the Kindle respond to the nook making it a better platform? You bet! They already announced PDF support last week and I'll bet ePub (non-DRM) support is on the way.  It's the Android platform (and potentially an "app store"), wi-fi, color assist screen and better design that will make the difference for the nook.

I hate to speak for Santa, but I have to think he'd advise putting two hundred and fifty-nine crisp one dollar bills in an envelope labeled "Your Next eReader". Wait until mid January and see what the nook can really do. Will B&N open it up to applications? What will happen with B&N's recent claims of lower eBook prices? If you are really into having an eReader you almost have to wait to try the nook at a local B&N store!

If you are leaning toward a nook I'd recommend to pre-order one now, you can always return it to your local B&N store! The date just slipped to January 15th, and it will probably happen again.


Some of the reviews are in, check them out.


0 #6 2010-01-17 01:54
A great technology, however customer service is the worst I have seen. If you order one don't expect it anytime soon. They took my money Dec 4th. they made a tax exempt mistake and held my order for 3 more weeks, so when I was told that it would be January when I would see my nook, due to their negligence, I won't see it until February sometime. They also have no way of making it right for their mistakes. I was a buyer/purchasing agent for 14 years, and I would have released the vendor from our account, if this ever would have happened. They lie, and told me after 5 phone calls that they would call me back either way with an eta, and if a store could send one to me(This was management talking to me) they would notify me. I have yet to hear from them. They are dishonest and should be turned over to the better business bureau.
0 #5 2009-12-11 22:44
the Kindle supports MP3 playback. Though its implementation is lacking.
0 #4 2009-12-06 17:04
Quoting BigGeorge:
If I return it, however, B&N will charge me a 10% restocking fee

True if you open it; but if you just pre-order and go try in store that shouldn't be a problem. I don't think there is a restocking fee if unopened.

Again Amazon has to do that because there is no store to try it on.
0 #3 2009-12-06 15:42
You say "If you are leaning toward a nook I'd recommend to pre-order one now, you can always return it to your local B&N store". I'm very interested in the nook and I've thought about ordering one. If I return it, however, B&N will charge me a 10% restocking fee and I'm not about to pay that if I don't like it for some reason. Amazon BTW will do a 100% refund if I'm not satisfied with the Kindle for any reason in the first 30 days; I wish B&N would match that guarantee.
0 #2 2009-12-04 13:03
It's a more complicated decision than I hoped for.
0 #1 2009-12-04 13:02
Cool article, I guess you are right - we won't know if the potential is reached until we can get our hands on it. hope that happens next week in a store. If not impressed getting Kindle...

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