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07 January 2010

Nook Review

So this year I decided to ask for the new Nook e-reader from Barnes & Noble as my Christmas present. I’ve been avidly using both Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone app and Barnes & Noble’s E-reader iPhone app (both available for free) and decided it was about time I got the real thing.


After reading many reviews we decided to go for the Nook rather than the Kindle 2, though it was a bit of a gamble as the Nook is brand new and was only delivered to stores just before Christmas so it was impossible to do any sort of real-life comparison.

I chose the Nook mainly because a) it wasn’t Amazon, with whom I have a love/hate relationship b) its Android operating platform allows for future software updates which means it can be upgraded without buying a new machine c) it allows you to ‘lend’ books out to someone else (though only for two weeks) d) it reads PDFs, which will be great for knitting patterns and other stuff.  Synching with the Barnes & Nobel iPhone e-reader is apparently coming soon, and will be delivered via a software update.

I don’t have a Kindle 2, so can’t compare it with that, but I can compare it with er, an actual book. And so far I’ve been very pleasantly surprised.


The Nook screen comes in two parts. The upper ‘e-ink’ screen which is where you do your actual reading and a colour touch-screen below which is where you navigate.  To ‘turn the page’ you push small buttons on the sides. There has been some grumbling online about how slow everything but this was apparently solved by a software upgrade that was waiting for me when I unpacked my Nook. Certainly I have no complaints. The touch screen is pretty good, though not quite as responsive as the iPhone and ‘page-turning’ is MUCH quicker than turning the page on an actual book. 


The grey e-ink screen is at first somewhat disappointing for someone who is used to spending all day gazing at a bright computer or iPhone screen, but it is designed to be easy on the eyes, easy to read and economical on battery life. I have to admit that when I’m reading it I sometimes forget that I’m not actually reading a real book – I’ve even caught my eyes wandering to the left to see what’s on the ‘other page’.

Another huge advantage is the size and weight.  It’s about the same size and weight as a small old-fashioned cloth-covered hardback (an illusion which is also fostered by the cheap cloth-covered cover we gt for it).  I like to read in bed and it’s really easy and manageable, moreso than the actual book would be – I’m currently reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, which apparently clocks in at 560 pages and 1.9lbs in real life.

In short, I’m a complete bookworm and I’m sold.


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"I’ve even caught my eyes wandering to the left to see what’s on the ‘other page’".

But the other page is on the you normally read books backwards?

PS I'm reading Wolf Hall too - all 1.9lbs of it. Well when I say reading it, it's next on my bedside reading pile.

Hilary mantel is appearing for a Q&A session at a local theatre in early March to coinicide with publication of the paperback - if I enjoy the book as much as I am assured I will by friends and BigG I will go along I think.

As well as getting fitter/slimmer I am also resolving to become more cultured and educated, by doing more than just reading the review pages of new books, exhibitions, talks etc etc

I'm enjoying Wolf Hall - it's SO refreshing to read a well written historical novel - though I'm not completely engulfed as I am by some books. Probably not potboilerish enough for me, and my obsession with the Tudors means I know the plot too well. But would love to hear what Hilary M has to say.

As for reading backwards, it appears, which I did not know before getting the Nook, that I speed-read a lot and then have to check back to the previous page to see what I've just read. Which is not so easy with a Nook.

If anyone would be willing to lend me Wolf Hall on their Nook, I'd be most grateful.

Great review. Thinking about buying one this week. I was looking at the turquoise cover myself, whats the slot on the left inside cover for? can it hold charger? book light?

CJ Thomas,

Cannot say with authority, but it appears that the slot in the cover is used hold a picture, as observed in the first image of this post.

Thank you for the review. I have been trying to decide on a reader. Most have been complaining about the Nook's "sluggishness" and response times. You have answered my question in that regard.

So far my plastic side bar cracked. The B&N people say that is a common issue. The next thing is that even after a charge it has issues coming on. So far this NOOK has been REPLACED TWICE in only 1.5 MONTHS. Thats what i call pitiful. Is there anyone that can make a product to last?? Or would you call this....buyer beware we are going to rip you off.

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