About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Nookie Nookie

I played around some with a demonstration model of the Nook at a Barnes & Noble in Manhattan on Thursday and was not impressed.

E-Ink is E-Ink, so the screen look like all the others. But if the initial Kindle had a knock that it was too easy to turn the pages accidentally, I found it took too much effort to turn the pages on the Nook. And when I did turn the pages, the refresh rate was very slow, a good two to three seconds. B&N did acknowledge this problem, and they say it will be fixed with a software update in the near future. But isn't that the kind of thing you should work on before you release the product? Anyone think they decided to rush out something for the holidays?

And then there's that LED screen at the bottom that's used for navigating. It's a nice idea, on one level, because one knock certainly on the first generation Kindle was the awkwardness of the little sliding side thingie to navigate around. But I think if they were doing the second screen they should have worked very hard to make it an intuitive and natural sort of thing, and I didn't really find it to be. It has the same learning curve as the awkward navigation on other e-book readers. I often found myself pressing the wrong button or finding that the button seemed to do something different than I would have intuitively expected.

So I think I'll stick to reading on my iPod Touch with Stanza for the time being. I was disappointed, really; with all this time to learn from Amazon's experience and mistakes, I was expecting the Nook to be a much clearer step up in the e-book gadget war than it is at this moment.

That being said, the fact that you have an e-book reader that people can go around and play with in many B&Ns and look/see/touch/feel is definitely a major step forward in adaptation of the technology. Borders has had little kiosks for the Sony Reader, but their investment and the quality and accessibility of the presentation was nothing or nowhere like what B&N is doing to put the Nook into people's hands.

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