After two years of reading reviews, watching products come out and compete, listening to people gripe about DRM and ebook pricing, I jumped directly into the fray and opted for the Kindle from Amazon. I am completely and utterly smitten with the thing. It feels like a magic book. No – more like a printing press. It’s got ink inside and the computer arranges the ink on the screen and it feels a little bit like you’re printing each page as you look at it. It’s wonderful. I don’t think I’ve ever read so much in a two-day stretch before. I’ve subscribed to the New York Times and Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine. I’ve purchased a single Amazon ebook for $9.99 and I’ve downloaded some free books from Project Gutenberg. It all works beautifully and makes for the single best addition to my library since I acquired a two-hundred-year-old copy of Don Quixote.
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.
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.’
Amazon’s Kindle could be headed for the woodpile. The new Barnes & Nobel ereader device is coming at the end of November.
The new device is called the nook. Like book nook, I guess. But this thing has a color touch screen virtual keypad like an iPhone and it displays book pages on an eye-friendly E ink display. It appears to be sleek and well-designed. It will also allow ebook owners to lend their ebooks to other people who own Nook devices for up to 14 days. That’s a big deal.
Another thing it has going for it is support for formats like ePub, eReader, PDF, MP3, JPG, PNG and BMP files. One article compared this device to Amazon’s by saying it was like the internet compared to Amazon’s AOL. It has free 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity.
After the ongoing grotesque behavior by Amazon and its apparent lack of concern for owners’ rights it won’t take much for Barnes & Noble to turn Amazon’s ugly duckling of a closed-system ereader into a bad joke.
I never took the plunge to buy a Kindle from Amazon because I don’t trust their intentions. I have no hesitation to run out and buy the Barnes & Noble device as soon as it comes out in November.