The Nook eReader Is Available In Barnes & Noble Stores And Online Today

If all goes well for the retailer, Nooks should be available for sale in Barnes & Noble stores starting today, as well as online. That means customers will be able to buy the dual-screen eReader the instant they fall in love with it following an in-store demo. That assumes, of course, that the demo wows them.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the eReader in person, check out our full review here. The reading experience is pretty much the same as the Kindle, and eBook prices will likely remain on a par with Amazon, even with the recent dust-up with publishers. Plenty of consumers will choose the Nook because it isn’t locked into Barnes & Noble’s online store (thanks to EPUB format support) and is more open and agile than the Kindle, but user experience will be the deciding factor for most. We weren’t impressed with the Nook’s ergonomics as compared to the Kindle, though the design is almost there.

Consumers have a chance to try a Nook and feel the difference for themselves in many B&N stores across the country. It’s admirable that the bookseller took the step of adding a dedicated Nook kiosk in stores; so many eReaders are only available online or kept behind glass when retail locations carry them. Desire hits when you actually take the device in hand and see how awesome it is for yourself. Then there’s the flip side: growing so frustrated after less than five minutes of use that you walk away, never to return.

I took our Nook review unit on a little field trip to check out the More In Store content at one of the Manhattan locations. I wasn’t impressed with the free download, though each week brings something new. In honor of Valentine’s Day, February’s selections will include a short story by Adriana Trigiani and a red velvet cake recipe by Anne Byrn, the Cake Mix Doctor.

Unfortunately, staying online to get these was a challenge. Though the Nook is supposed to connect to the store’s Wi-Fi automatically, I had to manually connect and reconnect several times as the signal dropped when I moved around the store.

You may wonder why I didn’t ask for help from the friendly staffer whose job it is to stand in the Nook kiosk and demonstrate the eReader for customers. The reason is that in the short time I was there I very surreptitiously observed him and noticed that he did not seem familiar with the product. Doing anything beyond turning pages and choosing new books stumped him. I think he may have even had to reboot the Nook at one point.

Part of the B&N staffer’s problem, so far as I could tell, was the same one other reviewers and Nook users have encountered: the reader’s sluggishness. This is not only evident when navigating the small LCD touchscreen underneath the E-Ink screen, but also when turning pages in a book. Thankfully, B&N released their first software update to the Nook last week. Once we applied it to our review unit things sped up a little overall and page turn times went from around 3 seconds to around 2. Check it out in the video below.

Here’s the Nook before the update:


And here’s the Nook after:


This shows that Barnes & Noble is listening, at least. With Android as the base OS, the company has an easy way to update and improve the device for both existing and new customers. Maybe it will even improve the life of that poor demo guy!

Read our full review here and let us know in the comments if you’ve had a chance to play with the Nook in a store. What impressions did you come away with?

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  1. Daniel Says:

    I really wonder why Amazon has not gotten into a Partnership with a brick and mortar shop yet to sell the Kindle. As with every electronic device it is very important to experience the design and feel of ther device, just to see if it fits your hand is in my opinion a MUST for something that costs so much money. nobody would buy a TV online if you haven’t had a look at it somewhere else in a store, why does Amazon think that poeple are willing to do so with an E-Reader.

    B&N will have a huge advantage from this, just the possibilities in terms of promotion and consumer shows are much better now that you have the thing in stores. It makes the whole E-Reader sector much more tangablie for people.
    Now they just have to finetune the device itself ( see ,the last user review at the bottom) and the success can get started!:-)

    Cheers from Switzerland,

  2. Santanu Lahiri Says:

    I just got a Nook reader a few days ago. It is a nice reader, but I found a few things I do not like. Screen is actually very good. Very little eye strain even after reading for several hours at a time. Fairly easy to acquire new books and start reading.

    Here is what I do not like so much: The Nook claims 2GB of storage for B&N stuff and personal items. What I did not find mentioned anywhere is that the OS storage is part of that, and is a whopping 700+MB. That leaves you with approximately 1.28Gb of storage for your books and music. That is, before you add an SD card. Almost halves the storage right there. Be aware of this if you were planning on stuffing a 1Gig music library into this without a memory card addition.

    The second thing I have run across is after getting full charge, and with WIFI mostly off, the battery is at 55% after roughly 48 hours. I have actually used the Nook for reading for maybe 10 hours at most. WIFI was on for less than 30 minutes out of that. I did not switch on Airplane mode, just turned WIFI off. I am not sure how long the charge will actually last. I am something of a speed reader, so I guess I may turn pages more frequently. And perhaps some settings need to be played with. But at the moment I am somewhat skeptical of the 10-day claim.

    On another note, B&N Digital Support folks have been VERY helpful, even to the extent of researching their answer before coming back to me with it. For that kind of service, I do not mind being put on hold for five to ten minutes. Thanks guys for the clarification about the memory issue.

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