The Mobile Gadgeteer

Matthew Miller & Joel Evans

B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why

By Matthew Miller | October 21, 2009, 7:35am PDT

Summary

I posted yesterday about the Barnes & Noble Nook and then read Mitch's post where one of his four points about the Nook not being revolutionary focused on the apparent limited use of WiFi. I just posed a couple of questions on the Nook press call and have to now tell Mitch he is wrong about the WiFi access, but he should actually be quite pleased since there are no limits. I confirmed that you can access and purchase books via both WiFi and AT&T 3G from any place where you have access to a network, including your home WiFi network. One point of clarification regarding travel overseas. You can download books from you current library collection via WiFi overseas, but due to licensing issues you cannot browse the store and purchase new content when outside the US (yet). The Barnes & Noble store experience is just an enhanced experience that presents you with free content and also allows you to browse through books, just like you can physically in the bookstore. As I said yesterday, I think the Nook is a revolutionary product in the ebook market for a number of reasons.

Topics

Blogger Info

Matthew Miller

Biography

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller is an avid mobile device enthusiast who works during the day as a professional naval architect in Seattle. He is one of three hosts on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and runs the Nokia Experts website. Matthew started using mobile devices in 1997 with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 90 different devices running Palm, Linux, Symbian, Newton, BlackBerry, Mac OS X (iPhone), Google Android, and Windows Mobile operating systems. His current collection includes a Nokia N85, Nokia E71, Nokia 5800, Nokia N810, Apple iPhone, HTC Advantage, T-Mobile G1, Palm Treo Pro, HTC Fuze, MSI Wind, MacBook Pro, and many more, along with tons of accessories and classic devices like the Apple Newton MessagePad 2100 and Sony CLIE UX50. Matthew co-authored Master Visually Windows Mobile 2003, was a member of the Nokia Nseries Blogger relations program, and is a member of the invite-only Microsoft Mobius mobile device evangelist group. He can be found on various discussion forums under the user name of "palmsolo".

Joel Evans

Biography

Joel Evans

Joel Evans

With more than a decade of mobile, Internet and wireless experience, Joel specializes in taking existing brands and technologies into the mobile and wireless space. Joel is the former founder and

I posted yesterday about the Barnes & Noble Nook and then read Mitch’s post where one of his four points about the Nook not being revolutionary focused on the apparent limited use of WiFi. I just posed a couple of questions on the Nook press call and have to now tell Mitch he is wrong about the WiFi access, but he should actually be quite pleased since there are no limits. I confirmed that you can access and purchase books via both WiFi and AT&T 3G from any place where you have access to a network, including your home WiFi network. One point of clarification regarding travel overseas. You can download books from you current library collection via WiFi overseas, but due to licensing issues you cannot browse the store and purchase new content when outside the US (yet). The Barnes & Noble store experience is just an enhanced experience that presents you with free content and also allows you to browse through books, just like you can physically in the bookstore. As I said yesterday, I think the Nook is a revolutionary product in the ebook market for a number of reasons.

Here is why I think the Nook stands out from the others and sets the bar. Some items are found in a Kindle or Sony Reader, but the Nook brings all of these together:

  • Ability to purchase content via WiFi and AT&T 3G wireless connections from any location in the US
  • Ability to lend ebooks to others for 14 days
  • Ability to checkout and read local library ebooks for free
  • Ability to browse full ebook content while connected in Barnes & Noble stores
  • Sync across platforms and readers of bookmarks, annotations, last reading location
  • 16-level grayscale display
  • Small capacitive color touchscreen for ebook store browsing

My other question on the call pertained to what happens when you loan out a book and what happens after the 14 day loan period. The loan technology is modeled just like a real physical book so when the loaner gives a friend the book then the loaner has no access to that book. The loanee then has the book for 14 days, I forgot to ask if they can return it earlier, and when that loan period expires the license for that book is transferred back to the loaner. I am not sure if you can loan over and over, but imagine there are no limitations since it is as single license that is just being transferred around. The only requirement for the loanee is that they have to have an iPhone, BlackBerry, Nook, or other compatible device to read the content.

I found in the FAQ and wrote yesterday that you should be able to access and read local library books with the Nook and this was confirmed in another press release announcing the partnership between Barnes & Noble and Adobe. Adobe Digital Editions is supported, along with the ePub and PDF formats.

UPDATE: Mitch was able to speak further with some folks at Barnes & Noble and confirms what I was told on the call this morning in his latest blog post. Mitch also found out some good information about accessing Google Books and I have to say all of this information just confirms that my pre-order was a smart purchase that I look forward to receiving in November.

Matthew Miller is an avid mobile device enthusiast who works during the day as a professional naval architect in Seattle.

Disclosure

Matthew Miller

Matthew is a professional naval architect by day and a mobile gadget freak at all other times. He purchases most of his devices and then sells them on eBay or Craigslist to buy more. Many other devices are sent for review on a 30-day loaner basis and then returned to the carrier or manufacturer. If any are provided as “keeper” or “long term loaner units” this will be clearly disclosed in his reviews.

Biography

Matthew Miller

Matthew Miller is an avid mobile device enthusiast who works during the day as a professional naval architect in Seattle. He is one of three hosts on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and runs the Nokia Experts website. Matthew started using mobile devices in 1997 with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 90 different devices running Palm, Linux, Symbian, Newton, BlackBerry, Mac OS X (iPhone), Google Android, and Windows Mobile operating systems. His current collection includes a Nokia N85, Nokia E71, Nokia 5800, Nokia N810, Apple iPhone, HTC Advantage, T-Mobile G1, Palm Treo Pro, HTC Fuze, MSI Wind, MacBook Pro, and many more, along with tons of accessories and classic devices like the Apple Newton MessagePad 2100 and Sony CLIE UX50. Matthew co-authored Master Visually Windows Mobile 2003, was a member of the Nokia Nseries Blogger relations program, and is a member of the invite-only Microsoft Mobius mobile device evangelist group. He can be found on various discussion forums under the user name of "palmsolo".

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Talkback Most Recent of 46 Talkback(s)

  • ZDNet Gravatar
    reverseswing
    10/21/2009 07:51 AM
  • Looks good but
    No international support. Like the Sony not available outside the US. Again Amazon Kindle is ahead of the curve (even if the device is not as sophisticated)
    ZDNet Gravatar
    PedroTabs
    10/21/2009 08:44 AM
  • Not as sophisticated
    I don't understand that description for the Kindle. If it's faster (than the Nook -- see other reviews), takes fewer steps to do an action, has Free 24/7 web browsing, has read-to-me for the times you're on the run, how is it 'not as sophisticated' ?

    Both the Nook and the Kindle have their strong and weak points. The search routines and results + dictionary lookups are much faster on the Kindle.

    I like that looking up a character in a book gets me all instances of that character's name, shown 6 on a page with context surrounding it and a link to each page, rather than just one Find at a time, for instance.

    - Andrys
    ZDNet Gravatar
    andrys1
    12/10/2009 12:48 AM
  • RE: B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why
    I have a Kindle, the service for wireless is at no additional charge to download books and other content; does that apply to the Nook as well.

    My only disappointment is no back light, clipping on a light causes hand fatigue from the unbalanced weight not to mention the inconvenience.

    How does the Nook stack up in this area?
    ZDNet Gravatar
    scampisi
    10/21/2009 09:15 AM
  • ZDNet Moderator

    No charge with Nook either
    There is no charge for using the AT&T wireless service on the Nook. I actually have a weak Sprint signal and strong AT&T one so the Nook should work better for me than the Kindle did.

    There is no backlight and a book light will have to be attached to read in the dark here too.
    ZDNet Gravatar
    palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    10/21/2009 10:23 AM
  • RE: B&N Nook beats Amazon Kindle & Sony Reader, here's why
    Matthew, thank you for taking time to do what a reporter should always do BEFORE jumping to assumptions--ask questions.

    Wonder how long it will be before Ratcliffe shows up with a new way to say he was still right...
    ZDNet Gravatar
    riffraffy
    10/21/2009 09:34 AM
  • Matt, did you ask why the said yesterday
    to the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and TeleRead during the Q&A
    that Wi-Fi outside the stores would not work and be enabled later?

    I'm glad they changed their minds or corrected themselves, because I
    think it's a very interesting device. My article was not primarily about Wi-
    Fi limits, it was just one topic.
    ZDNet Gravatar
    Mitch Ratcliffe
    10/21/2009 10:23 AM
  • could it just be that Paul Biba got it wrong?
    he is human after all.......
    ZDNet Gravatar
    reverseswing
    10/21/2009 10:59 AM
  • The Journal and the Times reported the same thing
    as I pointed out about the Times in my posting. Yes, they all could have
    gotten it wrong, but I haven't been able to get anyone at B&N to explain
    why someone apparently said this at the press event. Moreover, Matt got
    his confirmation of Wi-Fi functionality from Fleishman PR, not B&N. I
    have followed up and received from Fleishman essentially the same
    answer, but they did not answer my question about what was said
    yesterday -- and no one at B&N seems to want to go on the record about
    Wi-Fi.

    I've sent more follow-ups.
    ZDNet Gravatar
    Mitch Ratcliffe
    10/21/2009 02:18 PM
  • ZDNet Moderator

    It was B&N who I talked with, not the PR people
    Mitch, as we chatted about via email it was B&N who I was talking with and received my answers from this morning. I know your latest post clarifies this, but I just wanted to make sure the comments here were correct for readers to understand the story.
    ZDNet Gravatar
    palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    10/21/2009 04:06 PM

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