Today seems to be the day that the reviews of the Barnes & Noble Nook will hit the web. And given that, I have spent the morning reading reviews instead of actually getting any real work done. That said, the reviews should be of interest to anyone considering picking up a Nook, that is once they are actually available. Personally, I am still sporting the original Kindle, but have been considering an upgrade. Given that the Nook could be a potential winner. But at the same time it will have to be above and beyond if it will convince me to switch from Amazon and lose those DRM’d books that I have been picking up since the Kindle was released. Anyway, my DRM issues aside, here are what some of the tech blogs have to say about the Barnes & Noble Nook.
Let me put it this way: If you are lucky enough to have pre-ordered one in the first wave for the Dec. 7 shipping, or patient enough to wait until mid-January for the next wave, you are going to get a gadget worth being excited about.
In fact, if you have to pick one right now, stick with the Kindle. It’s a tough call, because I see a lot of potential in Nook that might not be in Kindle, but damn if the Kindle hasn’t grown to comfortably inhabit its e-ink skin. As long as you don’t expect apps and extras on a Kindle, it delivers the best ebook experience there is at this moment. And it just went international. But while the limitations of a Kindle are clear, the limitations of the Nook are hazier, presumably further out.
In the end, the Nook is an intriguing product launched by a powerful force in the world of booksellers, but the initial offering feels long on promises and short on delivery. With the right software revisions, the Nook could be a tsunami, but as it stands right now, it’s only a mild swell.
Ease of use is the biggest element in the nook’s favor, with the touchscreen UI perhaps the most intuitive way of navigating the ebook experience that we’ve tried. For first-time ebook buyers, then, we reckon it’s pretty much a no-brainer: unless they travel significantly and want to buy new content while they’re away, or they have a particular need for DOC or HTML compatibility, the nook’s user-experience bests that of the Kindle.
if we had to opt into any ebook user experience on the market right now, we’d opt for the Barnes & Noble nook.
Overall it seems to go without saying that these reviews were a pretty mixed bag highlighting some good and some bad. But one thing has become clear to me, the Nook is going to really have to shine in order to steal current Kindle users over. Because for me, while the Nook seems nice, I just do not want to lose the current books that I have. And as much as I hate to say it, me sticking with the Kindle and not moving to a Nook almost feels like why I never gave any consideration to MP3 players other than the iPod in those early days — it was not because there were not good alternatives, but because Apple locked me in with DRM, the iTunes Store and to a lesser degree iTunes itself.