More Musings
Powered by Squarespace
« The Three Most Memorable Videogames of the "Noughties"! | Main | Why Can't Comic Books Grow Up? »

Why I Decided Against The Nook (Or ... Why I Turned My Back On My Own Principles)

I used to read a lot. A LOT. Lately ... eh, not so much. Time is a premium (once I factor in my gaming and other social obligations). And so is space ... I mean, we have a comfortable 2 bedroom apartment, but it's in Manhattan. There isn't much space for books (especially hardcovers. I mean who wants to read an encyclopedic tome in this day and age?). Add to that the fact that many of the books I want to read aren't the books I want to keep. I would love to read some Agatha Christie, Star Trek or Star Wars books, some D&D/ Forgotten Realm books, but I wouldn't want to invest bookshelf-space for them! And so began my quest for an eBook reader.

I've wanted to get an eBook reader for a while, but couldn't commit to the Amazon Kindle for two reasons:


  1. Proprietary Format: The Kindle's preferred file format is the proprietary .AZW. There's an open - and free standard - called ePub out there, that pretty much every other device manufacturer has signed on for. By purchasing .AZW files, I'm locked into using a Kindle device ... Think of this as a rehashing of the AAC (Apple's proprietary music file format for iTunes Music Store purchases) vs. MP3 format wars a few years ago. Ironically, Amazon adopted the MP3 format for its digital music store. Ah, how the worm turns.
  2. Early Adopter's Curse: There's always a better device on the horizon. It's not like I'm buying an established single-manufacturer product, like an XBOX 360. I didn't want to be saddled with a product that can't support new functionality in a few months. Hell, I went through it earlier this year when I bought an iPhone 3G in February, only to gnash my teeth when Apple announced the iPhone 3GS shortly after.


Throwing caution against #2 to the wind (and dignity ... the product's name is the "Nook eReader". Say that out loud) , I decided to order a Nook. After all, it's got some nifty features, and it supports open standards. And I thought, if it turns out to be a lemon, I can return it to the store for a full refund.

Well, the votes came in - a week later than expected - and they were consistently lukewarm. "Great potential" was an oft-repeated phrase. "Imminent software patch" was another. I strolled down to the B&N near work to play with it one afternoon, and came back similarly unimpressed.

The thing that killed it for me - the incredibly slow UI. My admittedly unscientific perception was that it took about 7 seconds for a page to "turn", and often times, I would get a "Formatting Page" message (I forget the exact message). Why is the device taking so long to format something on its hard drive? Why should it be formatting it at all? After all, shouldn't the content be created in such a way that the only delay is from the eInk technology? For shame! Add to that dissatisfaction the great review from David Pogue, which deconstructs all the marketing BS around the Nook.

And so, with a heavy heart, I cancelled my Nook order yesterday, and ordered a Kindle instead. And yes, the proprietary standard does chafe. The best I can hope for is that Amazon changes its stance in the future. But hey, I have a functioning device for the next couple of years!

Browsing through the Nook & Kindle stores, I note that some of the books I'd love to have are missing ... titles by Gerald Durrell for example. I just hope I can find alternative sources for them!

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>