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Barnes & Noble's Nook, Reviewed

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the 2d-mover dept.

Books 260

harrymcc writes "Barnes & Noble's Nook — the most significant e-reader since Amazon's original Kindle — hits B&N's retail stores today. I've published an extensive review of the device, which is also the first e-reader to run Google's Android OS: It's an interesting and capable gadget in many ways, but the interface — which is sluggish and somewhat quirky — isn't polished enough to render it a Kindle killer."

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260 comments

Killer (5, Insightful)

Zerak-Tul (1654309) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351182)

What e-books need is not a kindle-killer but a dead-tree-killer.

Re:Killer (5, Funny)

Tellarin (444097) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351298)

... a dead-tree-killer.

Oh no! We're doomed. How do you kill a tree zombie? They don't have heads to shoot at.

Aaaahhhhh

Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (5, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351202)

Just need something that forces Amazon to keep innovating and keep pricing competitive.

Thanks, B&N!

Re:Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351334)

B&N have priced their ebook reader at exactly the same price as Amazon's. It would seem price fixing has already begun.

Re:Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (5, Funny)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351390)

Now now, its only fixing if they agree to do that. If they miraculously decide to use the same price without discussion, that's the market at work!

Re:Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351460)

Because it simply isn't possible that the cost of materials plus a reasonable markup would come out to the same price. And let's completely ignore the number of other ebook readers that are in the $200-300 range while we're at it. It's all a giant conspiracy.

Re:Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (5, Interesting)

N1AK (864906) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351756)

The fact that it shares the same price point doesn't imply price fixing or stop it being beneficial to consumers. Firstly, if the B&N device is 'better' it is effectively cheaper than the Kindle. Secondly, if both devices are exactly even then sales should begin to spread between the two, this will encourage one of the parties to drop the price in order to gain the others market share.

Factor in other benefits like removing some dominance from Amazon's position as ebook superpower, which will hopefully add competition to book pricing and limit anti-consumer licensing/limitations and this seems (as it should) like a good thing for us little people.

Re:Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352142)

B&N have priced their ebook reader at exactly the same price as Amazon's. It would seem price fixing has already begun.

So every time you see two competing products that are at the same (or similar) prices, then the only reasonable explanation is price fixing? That means that price fixing is happening on every single thing out there! Dannon yogurt was $.79 at the store, while Yoplait was also $.79. This proves that the yogurt industry is in cahoots with each other! Tell everyone you know! We need Congressional investigations into this immediately!

Re:Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (0)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352196)

Just need something that forces Amazon to keep innovating and keep pricing competitive.

We also need an e-reader that is not tied to a particular retailer of e-books.

When I can buy books from Amazon to play on my Nook, and vice-versa, then we'll have innovation and keep prices "competitive".

That's why we need a universal e-reader that will play books from any bookseller, much as we can now buy mp3 files from any music seller which will play on our portable media players.

But I'm hopeful. How long did it take before Apple had to allow non-AAC audio files to play on the first-gen iPods? They only did that because other companies started making players that would play the widely available mp3 files.

So the real competition for Kindle (and Nook) will come when someone (Sansa) starts building a reader that will play any books you buy.

Re:Don't Need a Kindle Killer, Exactly (5, Informative)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352708)

But I'm hopeful. How long did it take before Apple had to allow non-AAC audio files to play on the first-gen iPods? They only did that because other companies started making players that would play the widely available mp3 files.

iPods were released before the iTunes store, so they have been able to play MP3s even longer than protected AACs.

WiFi (3, Insightful)

Gopal.V (532678) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351206)

Speaking as someone not living in the US ... and hence out of the AT&T whispernet, the fact that this can work over WiFi is a huge plus.

I'd totally pay 250 US for it, just for kicks. Especially if they'd publish something like a bird watcher's guide, which where I really miss having a ton of searchable content, but without the bulk to carry around.

Re:WiFi (4, Informative)

teg (97890) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351256)

Speaking as someone not living in the US ... and hence out of the AT&T whispernet, the fact that this can work over WiFi is a huge plus.

I live in Norway, and my Kindle works just fine with the cell network here for downloading books etc.

Re:WiFi (3, Informative)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351562)

Sure. And you're paying more for them and getting fewer to pick from.

Oh, and no Wikipedia surfing for you either.

And for all that, you get to pay more than in the US. Yay!

Re:WiFi (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351326)

Is is still true that you can't view PDF or other open format documents on the Kindle (without sending it through the company)? If the Kindle can't, anything that can is a Kindle killer in my mind. Amazingly, even the Sony seems to be way more open than the Kindle.

Re:WiFi (1)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351414)

The recent software update for the Kindle apparently allows it to read PDF natively, though I've never had a use for it.

As for open document formats, it supports MOBI, TXT...aww heck, it's right on the first page of the review! Go read it.

To beat Kindle you need better policy (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351246)

Perhaps it is my slashdot bias, but the story about Kindles having books removed from readers' machines still strikes a sour chord with me. I recognize that most consumers don't know a thing about and many don't care. I don't see much difference between book burning and book deleting. To me the reasons, are irrelevant. Abuse will always emerge when opportunity is given.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351304)

Bingo. No Kindle for me. Ever.

I did want one, and saw myself inevitably getting one when the price reached a reasonable altitude.

But they wrote me off with that stunt. Now any reader I do settle on must establish to my satisfaction that it does not have that "feature".

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (3, Informative)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351406)

It was a bad decision on Amazon's part, but it was one they made good on in my opinion:

http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/09/04/big-amazon-will-give-you-back-your-copies-if-1984-annotations-wont-be-sent-into-the-chute/ [crunchgear.com]

I'm not keen on buying DRM'd e-books. But the fact is that in this case, Amazon showed itself to be capable of treating customers right, and of making the right reparations when standards slip.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (5, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351494)

And yet they did not issue a firmware update that would remove the easily abused feature.

When rights are able to be taken away, they are no longer rights -- they are privileges. I'd just as soon buy an actual book.

Apologizing for behavior is one thing. Making sure it never happens again is quite another.

With all this DRM everywhere, all we are really ensuring is that 1000 years from now, no one will know who we were or what we did.In the short term, we are losing public domain. In the long, we are losing our identity.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351580)

In the short term, we are losing public domain. In the long, we are losing our identity.

Until you find a way to make that show up on next quarter's balance sheet... no-one making the decisions gives a rat's ass.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351632)

Apologizing for behavior is one thing. Making sure it never happens again is quite another.

It wasn't just an apology, but a better-for-like replacement. That is, people bought an unlicensed product, and were eventually given a licensed replacement.

Making sure it never happens again? It's plain to see that Amazon were smarting from the negative publicity. For entirely self serving reasons, they won't repeat that.

I'll repeat though - I don't think the 1984 episode shows Amazon in a particularly bad light. However I don't think buying DRM'd books is a wise move for most consumers.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352064)

all we are really ensuring is that 1000 years from now, no one will know who we were or what we did.

That's ok, the Flargnorgs don't really care for Shakespeare anyway.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (0, Troll)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352222)

If you bought a stolen physical book, that book can be taken back from you.

The fact that its unlikely to happen is not relevant to the discussion.

Amazon did better than you'd get if you bought stolen goods -- they refunded the money. If you bought virtually any other stolen item, you'd be out the item and your money.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (1)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352518)

If 1984 were in the public domain, you may have a point. It isn't, so you don't.

Public domain books can be loaded on to the Kindle (and other e-readers) outside of the bookstore and it would likely be difficult for Amazon to know or remove books loaded in that manner.

What does a book offer that a reader doesn't? (5, Insightful)

professorguy (1108737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351678)

A book offers permanence. Books are created so the only infrastructure required to receive the information within is your brain. And how can you get rid of books authorities no longer like? Well, because of the light infrastructure requirements, you CAN'T. No book burning has ever deleted an entire work from the culture.

But if a corporation decides to "burn" an e-reader book, can they? They sure CAN! And the book will be gone with no chance of ever discovering an unburnt copy.

Sorry, no. The function I want is PERMANENCE. That cannot be built into an e-reader.

Re:What does a book offer that a reader doesn't? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352056)

It is trivial to remove most ebook drm. And there are plenty of ebook readers with no network functionality. And there are plenty of ebook sellers that do not use drm (but they do have an admittedly limited selection).

Re:What does a book offer that a reader doesn't? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352238)

A book offers permanence. Books are created so the only infrastructure required to receive the information within is your brain. And how can you get rid of books authorities no longer like? Well, because of the light infrastructure requirements, you CAN'T. No book burning has ever deleted an entire work from the culture.

But if a corporation decides to "burn" an e-reader book, can they? They sure CAN! And the book will be gone with no chance of ever discovering an unburnt copy.

Sorry, no. The function I want is PERMANENCE. That cannot be built into an e-reader.

Actually... If you're worried about permanence... I'd go for an (open) electronic format over the printed page...

Much easier to throw a PDF on the interwebs and ensure that it lives forever. Or copy it to a couple dozen USB keys or SD cards and scatter them around. Or email it to hundreds of people. Or encrypt the thing so authorities can't touch it. Or print out a few dozen copies. Or burn it to a CD/DVD. Throw a copy on your iPod Touch, on your iPhone, on your Blackberry.

Yeah, DRM is bad. And Amazon has demonstrated just how bad it can be. But the nook supports both PDF and EPUB files and has an SD card reader - so I can put pretty much any written document on it and Barnes & Noble can't do much about it.

And as far as the light infrastructure requirements...

With a printed book you need more than just a brain - you need to be able to read. There have been many times in history when it was far easier to get your hands on a printed book than it was to learn how to read. And if you can't read, you're just trusting somebody else to tell you what it says. No need to burn the book then - just lie about the contents.

Re:What does a book offer that a reader doesn't? (4, Insightful)

Nikkos (544004) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352698)

"No book burning has ever deleted an entire work from the culture"

That we know of.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (1)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351738)

Perhaps it is my slashdot bias, but the story about Kindles having books removed from readers' machines still strikes a sour chord with me. I recognize that most consumers don't know a thing about and many don't care. I don't see much difference between book burning and book deleting. To me the reasons, are irrelevant. Abuse will always emerge when opportunity is given.

Don't be so sure the public are blissfully ignorant. I'm pretty sure it made mainstream press. Plus, this isn't exactly the kind of thing you get as an impulse buy, so people will look into it a bit more closely.

Re:To beat Kindle you need better policy (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351740)

Perhaps it is my slashdot bias, but the story about Kindles having books removed from readers' machines still strikes a sour chord with me. I recognize that most consumers don't know a thing about and many don't care. I don't see much difference between book burning and book deleting. To me the reasons, are irrelevant. Abuse will always emerge when opportunity is given.

One of the reasons I ordered a nook this season, as opposed to a Kindle, is that you don't really need to go through Barnes & Noble if you don't want to. The WiFi will let you connect wirelessly without their cell network... The SD cardslot will let you load up whatever you want... And the thing reads EPUB and PDF documents natively.

Kindle killer? (4, Insightful)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351248)

Amazon's reluctance to let the gadget out of the US market earlier makes the Kindle just another e-book reader, it has no iconic status that would warrant the "killer" adjective for any competitors, who are competing against it in equal footing pretty much everywhere.

Re:Kindle killer? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351368)

Try clicking on the rather prominent "Live outside the US" link. The Kindle has been available outside the US with international 3G internet support for months now.

Re:Kindle killer? (2, Insightful)

ifchairscouldtalk (1031944) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351548)

Personally I'm not so sure that it is the belated international availability which dwarfs the iconic status of the Kindle. The iPhone too was only available for the US market for a long while. Certainly, the unavailability of a product doesn't help its popularity, but many other factors (not all imputable to Amazon itself), contribute to the somewhat limited extent to which people around the world have reacted to the "revolution" which Amazon was hoping to bring with its device.

Oh. Shit. (1)

NoPantsJim (1149003) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351280)

Damnit, I had no idea there was that much demand, and that this thing won't be available til January. I guess that kills my plans for my mom's "Atheist People Give Presents" day gift. Maybe a gift certificate and a picture of the Nook...

Re:Oh. Shit. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351586)

So... you want to give your mom nookie?

outisde the US? (1)

ionix5891 (1228718) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351346)

will this be available to rest of us mere mortals living outside the US (like Europe)?

i can get the kindle and the sony reader so would i have to wait forever for this?

Re:outisde the US? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351418)

Hey, you can either get complain about getting consumer goods a bit late, or brag about how your socialistic societies provide free health care, clean streets, livable wages and real culture. No fair getting it both ways.

Re:outisde the US? (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351882)

will this be available to rest of us mere mortals living outside the US (like Europe)?

i can get the kindle and the sony reader so would i have to wait forever for this?

At the moment, everyone is waiting forever. If you were to order one today you wouldn't see it until sometime in January.

At the moment, the nook is limited to US customers. I don't think its 3G will even roam outside the US. You could always use the Wi-Fi... But I'm not sure how well that would work.

Chinese generic 13" reader? (3, Interesting)

your_neighbor (1193249) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351394)

Which reads any .pdf .djvu .younameit, e-ink, etc?
They can not be the ultimate quality, but they will put some fire in competition! Then prices will begin to be fair!

Re:Chinese generic 13" reader? (2, Informative)

bazorg (911295) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351614)

not with 13", but there is a similar thing on ebuyer.com. £120, no DRM.

Mandatory AT&T contract? (3, Interesting)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351398)

The review mentions AT&T 3G, but I couldn't find any mention of whether a new AT&T contract is required to buy the device at the stated price. If it is, then fsck that. If it isn't, then 'meh'. Its still pretty expensive. Wait for v 2.0.

Also, if one plugs its USB in, does it appear as 'USB storage', that one can copy PDF's to and be able to read them? Or is one required to use its proprietary software on a proprietary platform to load only special files with DRM?

And how about on wifi? Can one use any sort of standard protocol (ssh, ftp, smb) to copy PDF's in (or out) and/or can it navigate to an arbitrary URL and download a PDF, or does it only support the device accessing company-specified websites to 'buy' books?

Bottom line - Mandatory contract bad. Mandatory proprietary software bad.

Re:Mandatory AT&T contract? (3, Insightful)

CrosseyedPainless (27978) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351698)

From the FAQ: No. There is no charge for your nook's wireless features. You do not need a contract.

As for the file transmisson: B&N is short on details. Since the OS on the nook is Android 1.5, I'm guessing someone will find a way to hack the firmware, even if B&N isn't helping.

Re:Mandatory AT&T contract? (3, Insightful)

zaq1xsw2cde9 (608119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351824)

The Nook is the same as the Kindle in that respect. The contract for service belongs to the device and is lifetime no cost for the owner of the e-book. The 3G company doesn't even know who you are to charge you. That contract is handled between the manufacturer and the 3G company OEM.

Re:Mandatory AT&T contract? (5, Informative)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351956)

The review mentions AT&T 3G, but I couldn't find any mention of whether a new AT&T contract is required to buy the device at the stated price. If it is, then fsck that. If it isn't, then 'meh'. Its still pretty expensive. Wait for v 2.0.

No new contract, no bills at all. The 3G is free, just like the Kindle's.

Also, if one plugs its USB in, does it appear as 'USB storage', that one can copy PDF's to and be able to read them? Or is one required to use its proprietary software on a proprietary platform to load only special files with DRM?

No idea how it works with USB as I don't have one yet, but it does read SD cards... So you could always just throw your files on an SD card to avoid whatever software they think you should be using.

It will read PDFs and EPUB documents - both of which are more open than what Barnes & Noble is using now. Barnes & Noble has indicated that they plan to move their entire ebook store over to EPUB eventually.

And how about on wifi? Can one use any sort of standard protocol (ssh, ftp, smb) to copy PDF's in (or out) and/or can it navigate to an arbitrary URL and download a PDF, or does it only support the device accessing company-specified websites to 'buy' books?

Again, I can't say because I don't have one yet... But it sounds like the WiFi is fairly limited at the moment. There is no web browser and I don't believe you can transfer anything wirelessly... Except for maybe accessing the B&N bookstore over WiFi.

Bottom line - Mandatory contract bad. Mandatory proprietary software bad.

The reason I chose a nook instead of a Kindle is the relative openness of the platform. With the SD cards and support for PDF and EPUB format, I figure I can use this thing with basically any content I want - even stuff Barnes & Noble doesn't sell or support. And with the Wi-Fi I can probably maintain my connectivity even if B&N kills the 3G for some reason. And the user-replaceable battery means I don't have to go to great lengths just because the battery is old and flaky - unlike the Kindle.

youG Fail it! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351402)

is EFNet, and yOu OF AMERICA) today, 800 mhz machine myself. This isn't BoUght the farm....

wtb more booklike reader (1, Interesting)

mooglez (795643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351444)

Wake me up when there's an ebook reader that works more like a real book.

It should have softish covers, and once you open it, there should be 2 screens inside (one for each page).

This way the screens would be protected all the time, and it would feel more natural as a reading tool

Sure, We'll Wake You Up... (4, Funny)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351500)

Wake me up when there's an ebook reader that works more like a real book.
It should have softish covers, and once you open it, there should be 2 screens inside (one for each page).
This way the screens would be protected all the time, and it would feel more natural as a reading tool

Just Curious: How do you handle electronic mail, what with the absence of stamps and envelopes and licking and such?

Re:Sure, We'll Wake You Up... (3, Funny)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351574)

Wake me up when there's an ebook reader that works more like a real book.
It should have softish covers, and once you open it, there should be 2 screens inside (one for each page).
This way the screens would be protected all the time, and it would feel more natural as a reading tool

Just Curious: How do you handle electronic mail, what with the absence of stamps and envelopes and licking and such?

Oh, he still uses stamps and envelopes, but it's hellish expensive for him, having to buy a new monitor every time, and let's not forget that people keep complaining that there's nothing on the monitor once they get their letters.

Re:Sure, We'll Wake You Up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352000)

Dunno about the envelopes, but if you're not into monitor-licking, you haven't lived, man.

Re:Sure, We'll Wake You Up... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352720)

Duh. That's what a scanner is for! You type out your letter, print it out, then scan it and the envelope in (with proper postage and address), and send it all as an attachment with the note "see attachment for message". Some people take the shortcut of sending a .doc file directly, but that's just being lazy.

Re:wtb more booklike reader (2, Informative)

peater (1422239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351672)

While I agree that an ebook reader can't compete with the soft touch and feel of a book yet, you really ought to try one. I've got a Sony Reader and its really not all that bad. The absence of backlighting makes it really easy on the eye, I charge the battery once in a couple of weeks -- admittedly I don't spend TOO much time reading -- but yes the battery life is reasonably long and the reader comes with a soft cover so you can hold it like a book although it still has one screen (yes the cover protects the screen as well).

What I like about e-readers is that I can read multiple books in parallel -- depending on my mood, I just pick one and continue where I left off and switch to something else when I get bored (ADD?). The one thing I'm missing with my reader (its an older model) is a built-in dictionary which I believe Kindle and Nook both have. The newer versions of the Sony Reader have them too along with note taking features. But yeah, its quite a nice gadget and I've done hours of fun reading on it. If you can get your hands on one (borrow?) for a short while, give it a shot. Takes a getting used to but you might be pleasantly surprised.

Re:wtb more booklike reader (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352008)

Wake me up when there's an ebook reader that works more like a real book.

It should have softish covers, and once you open it, there should be 2 screens inside (one for each page).

This way the screens would be protected all the time, and it would feel more natural as a reading tool

Having the screens protected all the time would be nice...

But I'd rather not have two soft covers to keep open all the time. One of the annoyances of reading a printed book is the tendency of those floppy covers to want to close. If you're doing something else with your hands, it can be a pain to prop the thing up/open. Especially with big, thick, 1,000+ page books...

Re:wtb more booklike reader (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352112)

But, unlike a "real" book, closing an ebook won't cause you to lose your place.

Re:wtb more booklike reader (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352164)

I think the issue is the discomfort of holding a thumb in there to keep a book open, when holding it one-handed.

Re:wtb more booklike reader (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352258)

Have you used an eBook, like daily?

Its better the way it is. The reading is more natural, its easier to hold, its easier to use than a book in confined settings (or laying in bed, I've found).

Just because books had facing pages for 400 years doesn't mean its automatically the ultimate user experience for reading ...

Re:wtb more booklike reader (1)

Enry (630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352582)

My kindle has a soft leather cover. I usually keep it on so the kindle itself is protected though I sometimes take it out.

I don't read pages two-at-a-time, so having two pages in front of me is not a big concern. Much like flipping a page or moving my eyes, I just press a button and get the next page. The time to get the next page is about the same as flipping a page.

Seriously, go find someone that has an ebook reader and try it out.

A Kindle killer:? (3, Informative)

intheshelter (906917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351456)

The whole phrasse Kindle killer evokes some epic struggle to knock off the top dog in the market. Right now the iPhone/iPod touch appears to be the number 1 ebook reader. Meanwhile Amazon is afraid to release sales numbers for the Kindle because it would show it has been a disappointing seller.

I think the Kindle is a good idea, but for a single use device with a very high price it is not going to make any inroads into the market.

Meh (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351466)

I like the idea, but I'm not going to buy any eBook reader until I can safely read it in the bathtub like a regular book. Crazy, maybe, but that's my criteria.

How old are you? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351542)

Unless you're talking about those "books" with the padded plastic-covered pages and nice colorful pictures, it's not not really that safe to drop a regular book in the bathtub. Or are you some kind of alien who bathes using solvents which cannot be absorbed by paper?

Re:How old are you? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352194)

If you drop a book in the bath, you ruin a book.

If you drop a Kindle in the bath, you ruin $250-worth of gadget. Although on the up side, you probably don't lose the content, and it might be covered on your home contents insurance...

Re:How old are you? (1)

beerbear (1289124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352508)

I think he's talking about it not being secure for the book, but secure for the one taking the bath.

Re:Meh (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352384)

I like the idea, but I'm not going to buy any eBook reader until I can safely read it in the bathtub like a regular book. Crazy, maybe, but that's my criteria.

This is exactly what my wife asked me when I ordered my nook this year - can you use it in the bathtub.

I don't think I've ever read a book in the bathtub, and I'm really not sure that I'd want to. Paper isn't exactly water-safe. I once made the mistake of bringing a book to an amusement park with me, and it was absolutely ruined when we went on some white-water raft ride. Completely destroyed.

Do people actually do this? Do folks actually read in the bathtub?

Don't the pages get all weird from the humidity? What if you drop your book in the water? Don't your wet hands mess up the pages?

Awesome. (3, Insightful)

purpledinoz (573045) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351468)

I'm glad that more e-readers are starting to come out. I hope to get one after a couple more generations and a huge price cut. Plastic Logic is coming out with an e-reader soon too. Yay for competition.

While it may not be a "Kindle Killer"... (5, Informative)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351504)

The Kindle does have one disadvantage that is making me give the Nook a stronger look.

PDF's.

I buy a lot of Role Playing materials from Steve Jackson Games' "e23" site. They are in very high quality PDF documents and something that can display them without having to lug around a large, heavy, and massively power hungry laptop is a god send.

However, even though I legally own a copy of the PDF, Amazon refused to convert the PDF into a Kindle Ready file due to (as I was informed) copyright issues.

The Nook supports PDF out of the box and the internal file storage as well as the expansion slot gives me the room for all of the PDF's that I have.

So while it might not be a Kindle Killer, it has some features that put it close enough to the Kindle to make it a worthwhile contender.

Re:While it may not be a "Kindle Killer"... (3, Interesting)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351648)

Have you considered the Foxit eSlick.

http://www.foxitsoftware.com/ebook/ [foxitsoftware.com]

I haven't tried one myself. I'm a bit dubious about the way it's *all* PDF (reflowable text seems better for many kinds of writing). But if PDF works for you, Foxit are among the best at it. Their software PDF viewer is certainly better than Adobe's.

Re:While it may not be a "Kindle Killer"... (1)

Psx29 (538840) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351754)

I don't own a kindle, but Amazon just added PDF support in the latest kindle models via a firmware update. There's no pan-and-zoom support though so it squishes the pdf page down to fit the screen which kind of sucks.

Kindle PDF Support (4, Informative)

swg101 (571879) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351758)

There was new firmware recently released (Amazon release notes [amazon.com]) that adds, among other things like longer battery life, native PDF reader support to the Kindle 2. (Note, the Kindle DX had native PDF support since it was released months ago.)

Re:Kindle PDF Support (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352090)

Yes, but why would anyone shell out nearly 500 USD for pdf support? The DX might be nice, but at nearly 247 mm it's a lot less portable than the nook or a standard kindle. There's also the fact that Amazon has already shown that it's customers are not as important as it's vendors. Instead of seeking an equitable solution it caved on the claims to the Author Guild, and yes Mr. Blount, despite claiming to hate living in the age of it, you certainly are indeed one.) Let's also not forget the deletion the issue and brouhaha that followed. Fun times, fun times! Why couldn't they have emailed first, before pulling the trigger? Then there's the magical firmware upgrade after the nook was announced. Suddenly there are improvements? We don't have to pay Amazon to get pdf's on the kindle now? I wonder had the nook not been announced if Amazon would have ever (freely) released that update when they could continue to ping their users (who were again holding onto the smelly end of the stick) for conversion charges? Meh, I'll take my chances with the nook.

Re:Kindle PDF Support (1, Informative)

zaq1xsw2cde9 (608119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352596)

Be a little serious. You are not paying $500 for PDF support, you are paying for the huge e-ink display on the DX. PDFs are a fixed page-size format. This makes a PDF difficult technically to render on a smaller screen. Whereas, I agree that the release of the Nook lit a fire under Amazon to get software designed to make a PDF work on a small screen, I think it's pretty harsh to imply that "The Man was keeping you down" or something.

The deletion issue is something to be concerned about, for sure. But the one deletion issue that happened was not pro-Vendor at all. The Vendor in question sold a book he didn't have rights to sell and was canned for it. Amazon was pro-Amazon, not pro-Vendor. They didn't want to be fined or sued, so they un-did the illegal sale. That said, Amazon handled it badly. You can backup your Kindle (I do) in case they get antsy again. You are crazy if you think the Nook doesn't have the same protections in it for B&N.

Re:While it may not be a "Kindle Killer"... (1)

peater (1422239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351768)

I wasn't aware of the PDF issue with Kindle. Yeah, having to send documents to Amazon for conversion everytime I want to use a PDF would suck quite a bit. Among other things, I use my reader (Sony) as a reference store, so if I have important notes and such written in OneNote or I find a cool article I want to perhaps read on the way to work or whatever, I just push everything to a single pdf and carry that with me on the reader (Sony supports PDF out of the box). I get a lot of reading done while travelling so its important for me to able to print a pdf from any of the multitude of applications I use and carry that on my reader.

Re:While it may not be a "Kindle Killer"... (1)

zaq1xsw2cde9 (608119) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351904)

The Kindle DX (which is the one you would want for larger books like RPG manuals) has always had PDF support. A patch was release 2 weeks ago that put PDF support into the Kindle 2 as well. My guess is that was a direct response to the Nook.

I realize I am being a Kindle fanboy today. I just use my Kindle everyday and enjoy it, so I was keeping the info out there for you guys.

Re:While it may not be a "Kindle Killer"... (1)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352046)

The Kindle does have one disadvantage that is making me give the Nook a stronger look.

PDF's.

I buy a lot of Role Playing materials from Steve Jackson Games' "e23" site. They are in very high quality PDF documents and something that can display them without having to lug around a large, heavy, and massively power hungry laptop is a god send.

However, even though I legally own a copy of the PDF, Amazon refused to convert the PDF into a Kindle Ready file due to (as I was informed) copyright issues.

The Nook supports PDF out of the box and the internal file storage as well as the expansion slot gives me the room for all of the PDF's that I have.

So while it might not be a Kindle Killer, it has some features that put it close enough to the Kindle to make it a worthwhile contender.

I understand that the Kindle has recently added full support for PDFs... I'm not sure how this differs from the not-full support they had before... But your PDFs might work now. Maybe. Possibly.

But this is one of the main reasons I ordered a nook this season, instead of a Kindle. Full, native support for PDFs and an SD card slot mean that I can put pretty much anything on it that I want to. Even things that aren't already in a supported format can easily be converted to PDFs.

I did it all for the Nook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30351654)

ie.

Why buy either? (2, Interesting)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351908)

Could someone please explain the advantage of a dedicated e-book reader? I don't understand why I would buy either when I can get a netbook for $50 more (at worst) that can read both PDFs and Amazon e-books. Is it the battery life of these things, or is the hardware form factor really nice? I don't know.

Re:Why buy either? (1)

Xiterion (809456) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352040)

Battery life, and the e-ink display.

Re:Why buy either? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352182)

battery life i can understand

but e-ink? seriously, switching a page takes something like 0.5-1 seconds, with the complete page flickering to black in the process... that is really not comfortable to look at. Further, when I'm reading something technical, I'd like to be able to zoom in, and scroll around (scroll to some figure, then scroll back to the text). With e-ink, smooth scrolling is not possible afaik... so no thanks (yet!)

Re:Why buy either? (1)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352374)

switching a page takes something like 0.5-1 seconds, with the complete page flickering to black in the process...

I just watched some demos on YouTube, and it seemed much faster than 0.5s.

The flash to black as it switches does seem disruptive. Does anyone know why it's necessary? It seems to me that the firmware ought to be able to toggle individual pixels.

Re:Why buy either? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352486)

I just watched some demos on YouTube, and it seemed much faster than 0.5s.

I tried some e-ink devices in a retail store, and although of course i didn't exactly measure the page refresh rate, i noticed that i could hit "next page" not faster than about every second. quite annoying if you want to jump more than a couple of pages ahead for example...

Re:Why buy either? (3, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352248)

Definitely e-ink is the feature that makes these special.

  - Much more readable, because it reflects rather than transmits light
  - Readable in bright conditions, for the same reason
  - Low power drain when showing static pages

Ironically, in a way, e-ink isn't good for much *except* e-readers (yet) because of the cost, the fact it's monochrome and the poor refresh rate.

Re:Why buy either? (4, Insightful)

Ephemeriis (315124) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352336)

Could someone please explain the advantage of a dedicated e-book reader? I don't understand why I would buy either when I can get a netbook for $50 more (at worst) that can read both PDFs and Amazon e-books. Is it the battery life of these things, or is the hardware form factor really nice? I don't know.

The battery life is generally rated in days, as opposed to hours.

They are typically shaped more like a book or slate, and less like a laptop. A netbook is going to have the keyboard sticking out of the bottom and the screen is oriented horizontally rather than vertically.

The e-ink screen is more like a printed page, and easier to read under similar lighting conditions. LCDs typically have problems with bright light, and can cause eye strain after prolonged reading.

Both the Kindle and the nook offer free 3G to purchase ebooks, which your netbook probably wouldn't.

If you don't read much and you just want something that can display a PDF, obviously an ebook reader isn't going to be necessary. Just throw it at your computer.

But if you read for recreation, an ebook reader can be very nice. It allows you to condense a huge book into a very small and portable form factor. It allows you to carry a large selection of books with you. It allows you to quickly and easily purchase more books without having to locate the nearest bookstore. And it is designed to allow you to keep reading for hour after hour, day after day.

Re:Why buy either? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30352448)

It's the form factor, and the simplicity of a single purpose device.

Yes, geeks can buy a netbook, it _does_ the job, but not very well. Try using your netbook in bed at night with your S.O. laying beside you. Er, never mind, this is Slashdot. The point is Yes, I can use my Pre to read eBooks, I can use my Desktop PC, but they're annoying. They just don't have the correct interface because they have to do too many other things.

e-ink not for me yet (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351962)

the nook is a huge advancement (if only to allow PDF's), but the e-ink display is not for me. Switching pages is just too flickery, and the 0.5 second refresh time is way too long (check out the reviews on youtube and see what i mean)

Re:e-ink not for me yet (1)

StripedCow (776465) | more than 4 years ago | (#30351984)

i want to add to that, that once the e-ink technology is capable of real-time scrolling, i might give it a try

B&N lameness (1)

Blymie (231220) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352320)

B&N are quite lame.

First, they call publicly, for a beta test of an Android reader. They use Android users, primarily with G1s, to test their new reader software.

Then, after a while, they transition to their lame Nook, proceed with months and months of testing on that platform, then release the Nook.

Where is the software for Android phones? When I emailed, they seemed to think the concept was quite bizarre.

They have software for WM6, and other phones, but when THEY USE READERS TO DEVEL SOFTWARE FOR THEIR NEW HARDWARE PLATFORM, HOW DO THEY REPAY THEM!

With a big finger!!

Frankly, I've stopped using my fictionwise.com account, which is part of B&N now. I'll just pirate books, it's easier.

(I used to buy an ebook a week, so "easy" is quite often "click to buy". It isn't, any more, since I have to undrm, decode and convert books to a txt based reader anyhow!)

iRex iLiad (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#30352544)

Is there a professional quality readers available?

To me, a professional reader need significant mark up and free hand note taking, using a stylus, not tiny keyboard. The iRex iLiad tried providing these features, but their product is rumored to be kinda "not done". Will anyone like sony ever introduce such a reader?

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