B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

Summary: 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.

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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.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Networking, Wi-Fi

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54 comments
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  • Thanks for double-checking on WiFi

    nt
    reverseswing
  • Looks good but

    No international support. Like the Sony not available outside the US. Again Amazon Kindle is ahead of the curve (even if the device is not as sophisticated)
    Nihon8888
    • Not as sophisticated

      I don't understand that description for the Kindle. If it's faster (than the Nook -- see other reviews), takes fewer steps to do an action, has Free 24/7 web browsing, has read-to-me for the times you're on the run, how is it 'not as sophisticated' ?

      Both the Nook and the Kindle have their strong and weak points. The search routines and results + dictionary lookups are much faster on the Kindle.

      I like that looking up a character in a book gets me all instances of that character's name, shown 6 on a page with context surrounding it and a link to each page, rather than just one Find at a time, for instance.

      - Andrys
      andrys1
  • RE: B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

    I have a Kindle, the service for wireless is at no additional charge to download books and other content; does that apply to the Nook as well.

    My only disappointment is no back light, clipping on a light causes hand fatigue from the unbalanced weight not to mention the inconvenience.

    How does the Nook stack up in this area?
    scampisi
    • No charge with Nook either

      There is no charge for using the AT&T wireless service on the Nook. I actually have a weak Sprint signal and strong AT&T one so the Nook should work better for me than the Kindle did.

      There is no backlight and a book light will have to be attached to read in the dark here too.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • RE: B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

    Matthew, thank you for taking time to do what a reporter should always do BEFORE jumping to assumptions--ask questions.

    Wonder how long it will be before Ratcliffe shows up with a new way to say he was still right...
    riffraffy
    • Matt, did you ask why the said yesterday

      to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and TeleRead during the Q&A
      that Wi-Fi outside the stores would not work and be enabled later?

      I'm glad they changed their minds or corrected themselves, because I
      think it's a very interesting device. My article was not primarily about Wi-
      Fi limits, it was just one topic.
      Mitch Ratcliffe
      • could it just be that Paul Biba got it wrong?

        he is human after all.......
        reverseswing
        • The Journal and the Times reported the same thing

          as I pointed out about the Times in my posting. Yes, they all could have
          gotten it wrong, but I haven't been able to get anyone at B&N to explain
          why someone apparently said this at the press event. Moreover, Matt got
          his confirmation of Wi-Fi functionality from Fleishman PR, not B&N. I
          have followed up and received from Fleishman essentially the same
          answer, but they did not answer my question about what was said
          yesterday -- and no one at B&N seems to want to go on the record about
          Wi-Fi.

          I've sent more follow-ups.
          Mitch Ratcliffe
          • It was B&N who I talked with, not the PR people

            Mitch, as we chatted about via email it was B&N who I was talking with and received my answers from this morning. I know your latest post clarifies this, but I just wanted to make sure the comments here were correct for readers to understand the story.
            palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • RE: B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

    It will fail because the only thing you can do with 3G and wifi
    access is buy from Barnes & Noble's website. The only place the
    wifi works is a B&N store. The only way to get content onto it
    from somewhere other than B&N is by hooking it up to your
    computer.

    Convenience factor: low
    jrp@...
    • Ummm.... read the article?

      Did you even glance at the article? It states in
      BOLD that you can download & buy from ANY wifi
      source.
      dave421
  • RE: B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

    Did you actually read this article?
    John J. Jordan
  • Music and reading at the same time?

    Can you listen to an MP3 file and read a book at the same time? I hope so.
    bruceg@...
    • RE: Music and reading at the same time?

      Yes, according to the FAQs on the B&N site.
      techwatcher
      • Kindle does that, too

        just for the sake of making comparisons
        Mitch Ratcliffe
  • RE: B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

    Looks like you can only lend a book One Time. From the nook FAQ
    You can lend many of your eBooks one time for a maximum of 14 days. When you use our LendMe? technology, you will not be able to read your eBook while it is on loan, but you always get it back.

    Also I cant find nothing about Ability to checkout and read local library ebooks for free. How would you do this? Go to the library and have them put it on your SD card.If this is possible I will be getting one of these for my parents this Christmas! They love reading but their eyes are bad and they wont buy books since they get them from the library free.
    peteostro
    • Lending -- more than once; library borrowing

      During the press event B&N execs said that buyers could loan books as
      many times as they want. There was some discussion of publishers
      having the right to disable loaning, just as Kindle Read-to-Me features
      can be disabled.

      The library loan system is probably through Overdrive.com or a
      competitor. Basically, it allows you to check the local library for available
      e-copies and, if one is available, checks it out to you. Sony is doing this
      too, as I explained here: http://booksahead.com/?p=770
      Mitch Ratcliffe
      • Correction made

        I've read several reports that say books may be loaned only once and
        several by reporters at the event that say they can be loaned more than
        once. That said, the B&N FAQ reads:

        You can lend many of your eBooks one time for a maximum of 14 days.
        When you use our LendMe? technology, you will not be able to read your
        eBook while it is on loan, but you always get it back.

        That leaves open the possibility that a book may not be lendable at all.

        Mitch Ratcliffe
    • Here is how to checkout local library books

      Peteostro, please check out my blog post here (http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=1930) where I detail my library checkout procedure on my Sony Reader device. Many ebook readers, including the Sony Reader and Pocket PRO, support the Adobe Digital Editions system through Overdrive.com to access and checkout local library books.

      And similar to how this works on the Nook, local libraries check out ebooks virtually so there is a limited number (just like physical books) that can be checked out at once.

      On the Nook, the LendMe technology should work just like a real book. You loan it to someone then you cannot read it until they return it. Same experience here and I don't see any reason why you cannot loan it to your friend more than once, but that will be one of those things I will be checking out when my unit arrives. Also, can my friend "return" it before 14 days? We'll just have to wait and see.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)