I posted yesterday about the Barnes & Noble Nook and then read Mitch's post where one of his four points about the Nook not being revolutionary focused on the apparent limited use of WiFi. I just posed a couple of questions on the Nook press call and have to now tell Mitch he is wrong about the WiFi access, but he should actually be quite pleased since there are no limits. I confirmed that you can access and purchase books via both WiFi and AT&T 3G from any place where you have access to a network, including your home WiFi network. One point of clarification regarding travel overseas. You can download books from you current library collection via WiFi overseas, but due to licensing issues you cannot browse the store and purchase new content when outside the US (yet). The Barnes & Noble store experience is just an enhanced experience that presents you with free content and also allows you to browse through books, just like you can physically in the bookstore. As I said yesterday, I think the Nook is a revolutionary product in the ebook market for a number of reasons.
Here is why I think the Nook stands out from the others and sets the bar. Some items are found in a Kindle or Sony Reader, but the Nook brings all of these together:
- Ability to purchase content via WiFi and AT&T 3G wireless connections from any location in the US
- Ability to lend ebooks to others for 14 days
- Ability to checkout and read local library ebooks for free
- Ability to browse full ebook content while connected in Barnes & Noble stores
- Sync across platforms and readers of bookmarks, annotations, last reading location
- 16-level grayscale display
- Small capacitive color touchscreen for ebook store browsing
My other question on the call pertained to what happens when you loan out a book and what happens after the 14 day loan period. The loan technology is modeled just like a real physical book so when the loaner gives a friend the book then the loaner has no access to that book. The loanee then has the book for 14 days, I forgot to ask if they can return it earlier, and when that loan period expires the license for that book is transferred back to the loaner. I am not sure if you can loan over and over, but imagine there are no limitations since it is as single license that is just being transferred around. The only requirement for the loanee is that they have to have an iPhone, BlackBerry, Nook, or other compatible device to read the content.
I found in the FAQ and wrote yesterday that you should be able to access and read local library books with the Nook and this was confirmed in another press release announcing the partnership between Barnes & Noble and Adobe. Adobe Digital Editions is supported, along with the ePub and PDF formats.
UPDATE: Mitch was able to speak further with some folks at Barnes & Noble and confirms what I was told on the call this morning in his latest blog post. Mitch also found out some good information about accessing Google Books and I have to say all of this information just confirms that my pre-order was a smart purchase that I look forward to receiving in November.