Windowshoppist - Pressing Our Noses Against The Internets

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Barnes & Noble's New E-Reader ($259)

Ohmygod. This? This is what I want for Christmas. Do I love "Nook," B&N's new e-reader system? Let me count the ways.

1. You can buy over 1 million e-books from B&N's bookstore, most $9.99 (and some less). Amazon only has 350,000 e-books available (actually, less, because that number includes other content available on the Kindle, like blogs).

2. Sexy design. Cute little color touch-screen at the bottom shows you your bookcovers in color and doubles as a typing surface for taking notes on books; reading screen is sensible black-and-white E-ink (I know I griped about the black and white screen on the Kindle and the Sony reader, but I think this is a clever mix of easy-on-the-eyes E-ink and hot color bookcover action). The Nook is a smidge thicker than the Kindle, which may actually make for easier gripping, and the page buttons are much more sensibly designed.

3. YOU CAN LEND BOOKS. Just like in the real world, you can lend what you buy to friends. Unlike in the real world, the content returns to you automatically in two weeks, which, if you've ever lent a beloved book and never seen it again, is actually sort of an improvement on real-world book-lending conditions. I also wonder if this won't make the Nook the first library-viable e-reader.

4. Promiscuous format. Do I mean the Nook sleeps around? Sorta, in the best possible way. You can lend your books not only to other Nook readers, but also to anyone with a Blackberry, iPhone, iPod touch, or computer. This is a rare moment of sanity in a "use my hardware only" -crazy e-book market. In addition to this hardware generosity, Nooks can read not only eReader-formatted B&N eBooks but ePub books, which includes every public domain book available free through Google Books. Also, the Nook reads PDFs without Kindle's tedious reformatting hassles.

5. Everything the Kindle has, and more. 3G network and WiFi? Check. Free samples? Audio capability? Dictionary, highlighting, note-taking? Check, check, check. It also has an expansion slot for a memory card allowing you to store up to 17,500 books on it (way more than the Kindle), and a replaceable battery.

6. Adorable accessories. No one really needs a hot pink Kate Spade cover, but still.

Ogle and/or pre-order at Barnes & Noble. Available in stores November 30th.

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