First impressions of the B&N nook

My birthday was last week, and because I’ve been hinting heavily since December, my husband got me a nook. I also got this t-shirt.

So far I’m really happy with it.

Opening the nook packaging:
OK – this was the hardest part of setting up the nook. There’s a cardboard slipcover over a clear plastic box housing the nook and it was EXTREMELY difficult to get off. Two people were needed to take that slipcover off, and I was about to KILL my husband for putting it back on afterwards. Then once the slipcover was off there were 5 steps in actually getting the nook out of it’s plastic case. It looked very pretty and everything, but 5 steps? Kind of ridiculous.

I really do like the design though. Reminds me of Apple’s products with the white, glossy nook and it’s white, soft rubber-covered USB cord which can be attached to a computer or to a plug for an outlet. Very 2010. The packaging of all the accessories also reflects that.

Navigating the nook:
There are very little instructions that come with the nook. The nook itself has a “Nook tour” and “Nook User Guide” which is in the “My Library” section of the main menu (it’s under My Documents). This is probably so B&N can update it along with a software update, which I thought was a good idea but it assumes you can figure out where the “Nook tour” is.

So far these are the menu choices when you are at the main menu:
1) The daily – software updates plus subscriptions to barnes and noble feeds
2) My library – your ebooks. I only uploaded 5 ebooks so far. They’re all under “My Documents” since I copied them onto the nook via the USB, not by buying them through B&N. So I don’t see their covers on the touch screen or on the “view MY B&N library”
3) Shop – takes you to the B&N bookstore
4) Reading now – takes you to the last page of the last ebook you had open. Love this.
5) Games – now chess and sudoku (I’m so addicted to the sudoku, even though I suck at it and can only do the easy)
6) Wi-fi – use to set up your wi-fi and turn airplane mode on and off
7) Audio – mp3s & I’m guessing audiobooks (I will let you know how this one goes).
8 ) Web (beta) – lets you surf the web (more on that below)
9) Settings – add contacts, edit your profile, register your nook, select wallpapers/screensavers, clock settings, wi-fi

Software Updates:

Back in March (I think), I went to play with a display nook and talked to a Barnes and Noble employee about the device.  She had told me that certain features like reading books in the store and page refreshing would be better in the “newer version” that was coming out in end of April or early May. According to her, the displays were showing these updates but the nooks you bought at the time didn’t have these features yet. Turns out she didn’t mean that there was a new edition of the nook hardware, but a update in the software (if I had known that I may have bought it earlier and just waited). By the time I got my nook last week it had one update to install which I did right away, and so I was pretty pleased with what the nook could do.  Also – I’m rather impressed that the B&N employee was aware of this update back in March.

Book binge did a review on the updates here

Protecting the nook
After playing around with the ereader I really got kind of irritated about all the little fingerprints I could see on the touchscreen window, and I wasn’t happy with the smudges on it’s back from holding it up either. So after a DAY I was in B&N buying an Industriell cover. It was $30 and is one of the cheaper covers, but I like it because it’s just plain black and it’s designed so the nook just clips into it (very securely) via a clip on the top and bottom, and it leaves plenty of room for me to charge the nook or put ebooks into it without having to take the nook out of it’s cover. I wasn’t fond of the covers that meant slipping the nook in and out of it to get to it or the covers secured on by straps. I am too paranoid to have a cover only secured by straps.

I also bought protective film for the nook which was another $15 (the Nook Matte Screen Film kit). This was very easy to put on and I had no bubbles although I kept getting cat hairs in there *shakes fist at cat* which were easy to get out. The most annoying thing was placing it so it was straight since there’s about a millimeter of room between the film and the edges of the nook. The protective film for the touchscreen was much smaller and didn’t cover all of the bottom panel, only the touch sensitive window. I wish it did cover everything. For $15 freaking dollars for what is essentially two stickers, it should.

I really think most people would want at least the cover so I would say mentally add $30 to $150 dollars to the price of the nook depending on what cover you get (designer ones cost upto $125, the cheap ones are $30) and whether you also add the protective film. There are also covers made by online retailers like JavOedge and Boxwave.

Customizing the nook
Yes I was all into this. It’s very easy to do. When you hook up the nook to your computer via USB, the nook shows up as a new drive (for me it’s E), and you see folders to copy things into

  • Wallpapers – just copy your 600×760 image to the “my wallpapers” folder. This is my favorite (sci-fi theme!)
  • Screensavers – just copy your 600×800 images to the “my screensavers” folder. A collection of images can be in it’s own folder. I downloaded Alice in Wonderland and Domo!

Nice sources for wallpapers/screensavers: nooklook & flickr

Downloading ebooks to the nook from the computer
For moving from your computer to the nook it’s like the wallpapers/screensavers. It’s as easy as copying your stuff into the “my documents” folder. I was able to copy my .PDFs and .epub files fine. It did not like .BBeB. I stumbled when I tried to open my .PDFs that were Adobe Digital Edition. For some reason I kept getting an error when I tried to read the books that were ADE, which is the case when they are from Netgalley. Apparently I was supposed to get the nook authorized first. So I opened ADE on my computer and selected the Library dropdown, and there was nothing about authorizing my nook there. ADE was just not seeing my nook.

Fix – delete the .adobe-digital-editions folder on your nook. Eject the nook drive (right click on nook(E:) and Eject), plug the nook back in, then start ADE. After that it automatically detected my nook and authorized it.

Reading on the nook vs. my netbook
I find it so much easier to read on the nook over reading on a netbook. Staring at a lit screen vs staring at something like paper is very different when you have a migraine. I get migraines often. The only issue I had when I was headachey and trying to read my nook was that it’s frame is glossy and reflected the light of my sidetable lamp next to me, which bugged me a bit. Shifting so it wouldn’t reflect helped but then the nook’s display was more in shadow. If you aren’t prone to migraines or light sensitivity I guess this is just a big ol’ nit.

The netbook is light and portable but the nook is even more so. When I have the power set to Airline Mode, the wireless is turned off and the battery lasts for several days. I have to charge my netbook in a matter of around 2 hours.  I was also able to put it up when I was on my treadmill (which I can’t do with my netbook) and played sudoku while I walked (running and sudoku? Couldn’t get my fingers to press the touchscreen at the right place – it was driving me crazy). I’m sure reading would be easier while running if increased my fontsize – I don’t have to deal with the touchscreen after that, since the nook has page turn buttons on it’s sides.

Just for this I copied an MP3 to the “my music” folder on the nook. You can listen to music via the Audio menu, or you can be reading an ebook, and select the “open audio player” option. The sound is pretty nice, and there’s volume control and shuffle options. I actually think the sound is better than my netbook which has a tinny sound (annoying).

Lending Books
So far I have only put books that I got elsewhere (not from B&N) onto the nook, and it doesn’t look like I can lend any of them. The lending feature is simply not there when I look at each book. I believe if I bought a book from B&N I’ll see the lending feature show up. According to the B&N employee I talked to I can lend my ebooks to someone who doesn’t have a nook as long as they have an email address. There’s a “Contacts” option under the “Settings” menu that allows me to put in names of contacts and their email address. I assume this is for lending. Editing the contacts is easy too.

I love the idea of lending but I’m not happy to hear that you can only lend a book to someone for 2 weeks and after that you can’t lend that book (I don’t know if it’s ever or to that particular person) again. WTF! I hope this improves because it doesn’t make the lending option that great in my opinion.

Reading books in the store
This is something rather new and came with the latest update. When I bought my nook cover I brought my nook to B&N to try it out. The wireless recognizes the store and puts a tiny B&N icon on the top of my nook display. When I’m in the daily I see coupons for nook owners in there. There was a coupon for a free dessert from the B&N cafe that I jumped on, but there were others as well. For the next month there are free ebooks available for nook owners to download.

When I go to the “shop” menu, there’s an option under each book to read the book while I’m in the store (“read in store” option only shows up in B&N). I tried to take a look at The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson but while I could read an excerpt, when I tried to look at the whole book, I got an error!!! So that looks like a feature that still needs ironing out. I didn’t feel like trying other books.

Wireless & surfing the web
Pretty straightforward to understand how to do, but still not quite there. Pages don’t fit fully on the screen, and it’s a pain scrolling up and down and sideways to see everything or to zoom out to see the whole thing. Also clicking on links is really difficult and page loading isn’t fast. So it’s not going to replace my laptop anytime, although I do like having the option.

9 thoughts on “First impressions of the B&N nook

  1. Sounds great 😀
    Oh I do have a ton of e-books, so many i got from suvudu free library, and other ones, but I never read them cos, sigh, I hate reading on my PC. I so need an e-reader

    • Yeah, I thought it would be OK on my PC, but after a while, it’s so much easier to forget about books I downloaded than it is to forget about the books littering my coffee table.

  2. wow, i loved your review, your voice comes through loud and clear and gave me a real sense of what using the nook was like! and i ALSO always like to customize new tech things right away. it’s not yours until it has a personal background, right? 😉

  3. I left this comment on your Livejournal today, but I’m putting it over here because Livejournal hates me and my name didn’t appear:

    Great review, Janicu. I think you’ll like the nook more as time goes on. I certainly do.

    The Lend Me feature has turned out to be a huge disappointment. I admit it’s one of the reasons I wanted a nook in the first place. Unless I’m completely mistaken you can only lend a book once, period. Then the “lend” button disappears and that’s that. So frustrating.

    • LJ’s commenting is an issue (same with vox)..sigh. Thank goodness for wordpress.

      Thanks. Yeah I think the longer I have it the more I feel like it was a good buy for me. I’m surprised how often I pick it up.

      I agree completely on the Lend me feature! I’m BUMMED that it turned out to be so useless. TWO WEEKS?! B&N, please fix this.

  4. Regarding lending books…. yes it is true you can only lend books purchased via B&N. The downside however is that not all books are ‘lendable’. (I know, no such word). I do not know what criteria B&N uses to designate a book can be loaned, but I have not as yet purchased one that I can lend. I did see that you can search for books to loan. I really love my nook, but I think the leaning feature was misrepresented. I understood when I bought mine that any that I purchased via B&N I would be able to loan out.

  5. Pingback: Book Blogger Appreciation Week « Janicu’s Book Blog

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