Barnes & Noble Nook is a Dreadful Failure

I’ve been so waiting with my bated breath and all for this magical Nook machine from Barnes & Noble.  I was in a right dither tonight about an hour and a half ago as I shoved my reading glasses into my pocket, put my regular glasses on my face and piled into my car for the short ride to my nearest Barnes & Noble bookseller.  But I stopped first at the Lenscrafters to run in and have them adjust my frames because my glasses are so new and have been drifting over lopsided all week.  So the woman there fixed them up nicely and shined them good.  Then I drove on toward my Nook encounter.

The store had a lone unit attached to an anti-theft device that scared the hell out of me because I tend to demonstrate new devices to myself until nearby customers think I’m a lunatic and I certainly didn’t want to raise any alarms.  The Nook said, ‘Press the Power Button to Wake Up.’  I spun the device around several times until I located said button embedded in the upper edge of the Nook.  I pressed it.

I waited.

Then I pressed it perhaps fourteen or fifteen times to try and make something wake up.  Then the screen went through a series of blinks, flashes and some rather frightening symbols appeared and then disappeared.  And then the machine said, ‘Press the Power Button to Wake Up.’

So I pressed it another fourteen times and the machine was just about ready to phone the local police precinct.  But finally it went into some new state and I saw options down in the bottom LCD screen where you do all the button pushing.

I pressed the button to show my library and found three loaded books.  One of them was Dracula by Bram Stoker.  Quite a good book and extremely scary in a much more subtle way than you might expect, having seen all the incompetent adaptations of it in the movies.  So I pressed a down arrow button which was supposed to move me to Dracula.  But it took about 3 full seconds for anything to happen on screen.  So of course I kept pressing the button and got all screwed up and it took me half a minute just to move through a list of 3 books to the one I wanted.

This is my design for the Nook version 2.0.

When I finally got into Dracula the pages loaded with such an agonizing fistfight between black and white, with scratching, punching, and a general inability to decide which shade should gain the upper hand that I felt a little sorry for the poor book in the Nook.  I didn’t really have the heart to turn another single page because it seemed like so much work for the little Nook.  So I decided to look up a word with the built-in dictionary.  This is one of those big braggable features of e-readers – the power to easily look up any word in a book on the spot!  Well just you go and try it for yourself.  Pick a little word right in the middle of the page.  You have to use right, left, up and down arrows to move line by line, word by word to your little undefinable friend.  Each press of an arrow key takes almost 3 full seconds to make the cursor move!  Yep.  Let me tell you right now and here that I would rather read a book in Chinese than use this barbaric torture device inflicted upon unsuspecting readers by the likes of Barnes & Noble.  You will spend your life waiting for things to happen on a Nook and you will get so tired of it that you will put this thing in a drawer and never read another e-book as long as you live.  You will sooner read War and Peace underwater than use this fancy plastic drink tray to read another word.

And here is where Steve Jobs comes in.  I think Jobs is a sneaky, creepy fascist who cares for nothing but turning us all into walking sales people selling to ourselves all day long with our own little personal cash registers.  But this guy knows how to make a machine actually function.  When you press a button on a Steve Jobs machine it hurries right on up and actually gets something done.  It doesn’t wait 3 full seconds to move a cursor.  His iPad will turn this Nook thing into a rectangular Frisbee.  Barnes & Noble will not be able to fix its problems with software updates.  It’s beyond software.  It’s a circuitry and hardware problem that requires a rebuild of the entire platform.  Someone pushed this piece of junk through development without giving a damn about anyone.  This is a get-your-money-back-quick machine.  Imagine right now if you pressed the ‘A’ key on your keyboard and could count to 3 before an ‘A’ showed up on your monitor.  Well, ladies and gentlemen that is the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader device!  It actually made me feel as if I were holding a very old machine from the early twentieth century.  It has something to do with all the effort of turning a page and all the scratchy letters blinking and stuttering.  It’s like what would have passed for a computer 100 years ago.  Very strange.  And very expensive too.  $259 for a machine that doesn’t want to wake up or turn the pages of my book is just too much to ask.  Sorry Barnes & Noble, but you really must think about this a little harder.  Really.

20 thoughts on “Barnes & Noble Nook is a Dreadful Failure

  1. lucy

    That’s yet another reason why I LOVE my Sony Reader. I don’t like the restrictions that amazon has on it (as in you can only use things bought from amazon). With my reader I can download off of publishers websites, authors, the Sony store and the best is the ability to borrow e-books from the public library. For those who complain that it isn’t wi-fi, I ask do you NEED to be connected to the net at all times? I like that I don’t have to worry that someone could possibly hack into my reader. Or about a virus, items being removed because of copyright infringement. The Sony Reader also feels like you are holding a book. I love my reader and wouldn’t give it up for anything else. I still buy regular books for home use, but when waiting for a doctor or

  2. Mike

    You are nuts. The nook is such a great device I’m giving my Kindle away. You just had a bad experience. I, nor anyone I’ve talked to, encountered anything you said. As for the Ipad. Never. Try reading a whole book on an LCD screen and see how your eyes feel after that.

  3. Jack

    Came across this blog when looking if other people have the problem I do. I received my nook in February and right away noticed that the lower/left nav button feels clunky. It “works” but just doesn’t feel right, nothing like the other 3 do. So I called in an RMA and I received the replacement one today. Guess what – same problem. I’m guessing they shipped back the same unit I sent them. I will be calling them to see if they can let me know what the serial # for my original was. I’m definitely sending this one back. But if I find out that they shipped me the same device, I’m returning it for a refund. Bastards…

  4. jonsie

    I think you got your hands on a bum unit. I preordered mine and got it on december 12. It has worked wonderfully ever since I first turned it on. Its gone through several updates which hqve improved the look and feel of the ui and page responsiveness. It even has a web browser now. To the person with the sony ereader. You can turn the wifi off in your settings. Nobody is going to hack your ereader. My nook does everything your sony does and more.

  5. Ray

    Received mine in February. Total hardware failure at the end of April. Replacement worked fine for May and most of June. Now it won’t turn on. Looks like I’m in line for another replacement.

  6. Alison

    I just got my Nook through the Internet about a week ago. Until today I would have said it’s a great little reader. Now, it won’t turn on. I have read all the remedies and am letting it charge for two hours now to see if that helps. If I have to take out the battery by taking the back off an unscrewing stuff, I’m not going to be happy. That is a pretty clunky solution.

  7. Jill

    Love my Nook. Favorite piece of technology since my cell phone in the 90s! I can’t go a day without it. Easy on the eyes and I’m actually giving War and Peace a shot finally.

  8. Dave - Cary, IL

    Don’t mess around with pulling out the battery.

    Here’s the easy wake up procedure:

    1. Plug the charging cord back into the NOOK. The charging will not light – – NOT TO WORRY.

    2. Press the power button and hold it in while at the same time pressing the function button – – what looks like an upside down U and hold it.

    3. Hold both buttons in until you see the screen flash. It might flash two times.

    4. Release the buttons and you’ll see a message that the NOOK is starting up.

    5. DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING ELSE. Let the NOOK do it’s thing. In about two to three minutes, it could take a little less or a little more, you’ll see the function pad light up and stuff starting to appear on the main viewing screen. You’ll also see that the charging light is lit.

    6. Check the battery level. If it needs to charge, then let it.

  9. Rudolfo

    100% of the comments left here in defense of the Nook were made by members of Barnes and Noble’s upper management, attempting to propagandize their way out of the public opinion of what they’ve foisted onto the public. The Nook is junk. Junk.

  10. Mrs. Slane (so stop calling me "miss")

    I’m really not at all technologically savvy, but the comment above by Dave in Cary, IL about pressing and holding down the two buttons while it “reboots” worked. I’ve had it for about 7 months and this no-turning on thing just happened for the first time, all though, admittedly, I left it unused on the charger for like 3 weeks (not on purpose). And no, I do not work, nor have I ever worked, for B&N. I don’t mind the Ipad, but this is a reader. It seems easy enough. :/

  11. thrifty girl

    I am having these very problems with my nook! Can someone please help! I’m ready to trade my nook for a kindle. Kindle seems to have a lot more of the genre of books I read available.

  12. Eby

    I got the color nook on 06/02/11 from Walmart. I returned it today, a mere 2 days later. I was so excited for nothing. A mere 12 hours after purchase it started freezing up. I don’t recommend anyone buy this unit. Oh and it’s only a mere 250.00! Thank God I bought it from Walmart, so I could return it no questions asked.

  13. nobody

    I work for B&N. The original Nook – the black and white thing with the color menu was a real piece of shit from the beginning. I really hated having to extol the benefits of something that should have been shoved back into the designer’s hand while he got a clip around the ear and asked if he was really taking the piss producing shit like that.

    The color nook is a bit better but it’s slow, underpowered and lacks sufficient memory. I tried to demonstrate a bible on it and the thing just froze. I opened a book on it for a customer today and it froze and needed to be reset. Very embarrassing.

    The new B&W nook – the Simple Touch is way better than the old Nook but it’s still a piece of shit. It gets stuck on bibles again.

    As far as I’m concerned, it would be far better if B&N just stopped kidding themselves that they can compete with the likes of Apple and Amazon. They’d be better just selling ebooks and concentrating on serving real customers rather than trying to flog pice-of-shit electronics that only vaguely work.

    As far as the phone helpline, I only call the store helpline which gets fast and useful responses.

    I get a fair few broken Nooks back – the B&W nooks get screens that go wrong. The color nook gets software issues.

  14. Meg

    I am not happy with this piece of junk! And of course it started to malfunction just after the time I could have returned it. It freezes, spins, won’t load, won’t advance screens, the keyboard does not always pop up, it is very touchy so that it flies into other screens that are not where I want to go….and other times I could bang it with a hammer and it will not move. I have called -nice people, no help. I registered a formal complaint and am waiting for a d
    istrict manager to call so I can vent my frustrations on him/her…don’t expect any help though. It will be a long cold day before I ever buy from them again!


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