Shannon Stacey

The nook: Using it

First off, I’m not a very tech-savvy person. You’re not going to find an in-depth look at specs and functions here. I might even use the word thingy. This is a collection of random thoughts, k?

The nook froze up on me four times in the first three hours I used it. This is a known issue that I intend to contact Barnes & Noble about. There’s been speculation the battery’s a hair small and it’s actually losing contact with the power source but it appears frozen because the e-ink screen stays on, but I’m not sure. I am sure it’s a pain in the ass.

Other than that issue, I’m very happy with it. The post before this one gives my opinion of looks and feel and whatnot. In no particular order, some impressions of reading on the nook:

Once you’ve cried, pulled all your hair out and manhandled the thing out of its packaging, it’s simple to set up. I already had a B&N account, so I punched in my email address and password and voila! The first thing it did was download and install the most recent firmware update.

The rumored lag in page turns—I really don’t find it to be any slower than the Sony 505, but they both seem a tad bit slow to me. Considering I’ve spent the last 14 months reading on the lightening fast iPod Touch, they’re going to. But I think the firmware update addressed the nook’s refresh rate issue a great deal. I think it takes just a hair longer if you use the touchscreen swipe to turn the page instead of the button, but that could be my imagination.

I hit the shop button and bought the new JD Robb, Fantasy In Death. Other than a freeze, it worked quite well. It’s a pretty common sense set-up.

One of the reasons I chose the nook over the Kindle was my unwillingness to give up price-shopping, so being able to easily put other books on the device was important. The nook community calls this “sideloading”, and it’s done with the USB cord.

Opened Calibre, plugged the nook into the Mac, highlighted a few books I wanted to move, hit “send to device” and off they went to the nook. Yay!

Now, to my bad habit. I’m inherently lazy and all those books I bought in secure eReader at Fictionwise? I never downloaded those to my computer. Just opened the Stanza app on the iPod and reached out and grabbed them over the air.

So I went to Fictionwise and grabbed a half-dozen of them. Downloaded them, then added them to Calibre. Plugged the nook in, sent those books and there they are. That easy.

(Okay, it would have been easy if not for the freezing issue. Whether it was glitching because I was doing stuff with it or the battery was shifting because I was moving it around, I don’t know, but the rebooting was a pain.)

Now, one thing if you’re planning to use your nook for a lot of 3rd party (sideloaded) content—those are saved in a “My Documents” subfolder, so they’re not part of the pretty cover scroll nor are they accessible to the B&N eReader app on your smartphone. Those features are for the B&N Library. That’s okay because I want to read, not sit and scroll through the pretty pictures. Little bit of a bummer that, once the syncing last page across devices is available, all of those books won’t be included, but I don’t see a lot of reading on the iPod in my future anymore.

I love the look. I love the feel. I was able to put the books I already have on there. (Or I will once I’ve downloaded them and added them to Calibre. And those pesky books for the Kindle app…we’ll see about those at some point.)

The ONLY thing I don’t like about it is the freezing up. This is widespread enough that I believe B&N will offer a fix for it very soon and, in the meantime, I like the device enough I’m willing to put up with it…a little.

So that’s it for now, I guess. I haven’t even had it 24 hours yet, so there’s only so much I can say. But right now I’m not regretting slicing open the shrink wrap.

As I said, I’m not very technical, but if you have any questions, I can try to answer them. Or I can yell for help when Romanceland’s Digital Dream Team returns from the Tools of Change conference.

EDITED TO ADD: I was just reading a bit more on it and, I don’t think the page refresh is any faster than the Sony 505, but I do think the “flash” is a little less pronounced. Nice.

22 comments to “The nook: Using it”

  1. Ellen Fisher
      · February 24th, 2010 at 2:23 pm · Link

    The freezing sounds irritating.

    So you can read other formats on the Nook? You can read HTML on the Kindle; all you have to do is send it via email to be converted (costs fifteen cents). I read a lot of fanfic on my Kindle that way (and that’s actually the main reason I wasn’t interested in the Nook, because I don’t think you can convert docs and have them sent to your device that way). I don’t know how many ebooks are offered in HTML anymore, though.

    I like the back of the Nook better than the Kindle. It does grip your hand better. That’s one reason I got my skin, to make it a little less slide-y in my hand. Of course, I usually put it in a leather cover when I take it out of the house. Did you buy a cover? You’ll probably want one when you stick it in your purse or whatever, or the screen will get scratched.

    How long does it take for a book to load from the store into your device? Or did the freeze make it impossible to tell?

  2. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2010 at 2:32 pm · Link

    It only took a few seconds to load the book from both the B&N store and Calibre. As for the formats you can put on the nook, I think you could convert HTML to ePub through Calibre and ship it over.

    I haven’t bought a cover yet because it will rarely leave the house. I put the silicone jacket on it to protect from scratches and make it a little easier to hold, but I’ll grab a Body Glove “bag” to drop it into if it’s going to travel with me. They have screen protectors, and I might buy a pack of those.

  3. Ellen Fisher
      · February 24th, 2010 at 2:42 pm · Link

    I almost never leave the house without my Kindle. But then, I don’t have an iPhone. I suppose that is much easier to tote around with you:-).

    That’s good that it only takes a few seconds to load from the store. I seem to recall reading that was one of the original issues with the Nook– it took a while to download, and then it took a long time to pull it up from the library as well. Glad they’ve got that fixed!

  4. Holly
      · February 24th, 2010 at 2:48 pm · Link

    At out last So Cal Blogger meet up I played with Renee’s Nook for awhile. It froze up twice during the 15 minutes or so I played with it. I was very annoyed (especially since it wasn’t mine and I was afaid I’d broken it).

    I was curious about loading other books onto it as well. It only takes ePub format, right? So any other books have to be converted? Or can you load PDFs, too?

  5. Maisey
      · February 24th, 2010 at 3:04 pm · Link

    Ellen, you can do conversions free on Kindle as well, just not wirelessly. :-) At least you can for second generation…


    How do you find it compares to the Sony? I’m thinking of getting a Sony pocket reader just because I have a hundred or so DRM’d digital editions ebooks hanging out on my comp, and I could be wrong but I think Sony is the only one that reads them…

  6. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2010 at 3:06 pm · Link

    I don’t know a lot about PDF. I don’t care for it and I don’t have any ebooks in PDF.

    BUT, I do have author copies, so I opened Calibre and added the PDF of No Surrender. Plugged in nook and sent it over. It’s readable but the format’s not right. The line breaks are wonky.

    You can convert PDF using Calibre, but I believe it’s the worst format as far as converting, with .lit being the best.

    But I read on the bn nook forum that nook’s support for PDF is superior to the Kindle DX’s, so I’m not sure if it’s a setting. Maybe if I skip Calibre and drag and drop it right to the nook?

    We’re on our way out to breakfast since the husband took a snow day, but I’ll look at that a little more when I get back.

  7. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2010 at 3:07 pm · Link

    I’m on my way out, Maisey, but I’m 99% sure you can read ADE books on the nook. I’ll look at that, too, when I get back.

  8. Holly
      · February 24th, 2010 at 3:12 pm · Link

    Thanks for checking, Shannon. Like you, I don’t buy in PDf. I do get a lot of review copies sent, though, and it would be nice if I could just load them and not have to worry about converting them.

    I’m also curious about ADE.

    Thanks for being our guinea pig. :)

  9. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 24th, 2010 at 4:16 pm · Link

    I’m glad you’re happy, Shannon!

    My main concern, as a new e-reader reader, was that I’d wish my husband had gotten me the nook instead of the Kindle, but so far, nothing is different enough to matter. The only factor that seems important is the freezing issue, which probably would have had me shipping it back in two days. LOL I hope they get that fixed soon!

  10. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2010 at 4:45 pm · Link

    The nice thing about having me as a guinea pig is that if I can do it, anybody can. Digital reading is not my first language.

    Okay, Adobe Digital Editions… I hope you guys know my willingness to open ADE is a testament to how much I like you. ADE sucks.

    Anyway. While I have ADE on the Mac I haven’t used it yet because the library is on the PC desktop. So I had to use ADE and a PC. *sigh*

    I opened ADE. Plugged in the nook. It recognized the nook, asked me if I wanted to authorize it and then said I had to reboot.

    TAKE THE NOOK OUT BEFORE YOU REBOOT. The computer totally hung up as a black-screened brick until I unplugged the nook. Then it rebooted.

    Opened ADE. Plugged in nook. Dragged two books over to where it says “nook” in the ADE sidebar—both Hqns; one an ADE PDF and one an ADE ePub. Ejected nook, pulled up new content.

    Oh, a “thing” about the nook is that after you transfer and eject, but before you disconnect you hit “find new content” and then it loads.

    Anyway, they rendered almost exactly like on the Sony. The ADE PDF’s font is a little small, though it wasn’t nearly as microscopic as on the Sony 505. Their new ADE ePub is DEFINITELY the way to go, btw. It formats nicely on the e-ink devices.

    I’m guessing, Maisey, since you have a stockpile of ADE (and making the gross assumption many of them are categories), they’re ADE PDF, which is what they used until last month. They’re not my favorite format, but you can read them on the Sony or the Nook.

    With the Sony 505, the ADE PDF’s font was incredibly tiny and they didn’t reflow well. If you enlarged the font, the formatting screwed up. But they’re readable. The ADE ePub has a nice starting font and if you enlarge it, it reflows perfectly.

    As for nook versus Kindle, I think the nook combined with Calibre really opens it up to reading almost anything. I know you can put your own stuff on the Kindle, but I don’t think it’s as easy. But I don’t know that for sure.

  11. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2010 at 4:54 pm · Link

    Oh, and nook versus Sony. In my previous post, I mentioned how I didn’t like the cold, hard metal casing of the Sony 505. It seems trivial, but the comfort wasn’t there for me.

    Looking at the new Sonys, that hasn’t changed. And, in looking at the Sony Pocket on the Sony site, it appears you can only turn the page easily/one-handed if you’re holding it in your right hand.

    I’m right-handed, but I hold the device in my left. Your mileage may vary.

    So after half a year or so of not using the Sony 505 as much as I should have, those tiny design issues were worth the $260 price of nook admission to me. Throw in the fact I can buy B&N ebooks with one-touch and a confirm tap over the device, whereas the Sony requires the USB cord was enough to push me away.

    But if you’re reading all new books on your Kindle and you just want a device to handle your ADE TBR pile, yeah, the nook’s more expensive than the Sony Pocket, by $60.

    *cough*Unless you want to buy a gently used red 505*cough*

  12. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 24th, 2010 at 4:59 pm · Link

    As for nook versus Kindle, I think the nook combined with Calibre really opens it up to reading almost anything. I know you can put your own stuff on the Kindle, but I don’t think it’s as easy. But I don’t know that for sure.

    My comments about equal comparison only apply to me (duh LOL) because I have no interest in putting anything else on it. I never read e-books before, so it’s all new stuff, and everything I’ve looked for to read has either had a Kindle version or is in paperback. So I’m equally happy.

    I found it just as easy to buy a Kindle version from a non-Amazon retailer and transfer it to the Kindle as you described transferring stuff.

    So again, for me, it’s all about being content with what I have and not envious of a different option. :)

  13. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2010 at 5:07 pm · Link

    True. I think Fictionwise has a Kindle catalogue, too, so you can play there easily enough.

    Part of it for me, too, was the huge digital TBR pile I already have. Once I have a new toy, that’s the one I want to play with, so being able to move those books was important to me.

    I really believe it’s a total toss-up between the Kindle and the nook. I think the Kindle might be a little easier straight out of the box (although my sister, who has no digital savvy, didn’t think anything could be easier than the nook). But I prefer the nook’s physical styling.

    But it’s really an either/or situation. And, contrary to popular opinion, the prices seem comparable. Many of the prices are the exact same, and some are cheaper at B&N and some at Amazon. I think I paid @ a dollar more for Fantasy in Death at B&N, though.

  14. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 24th, 2010 at 5:18 pm · Link

    Speaking of Fantasy in Death…I’m curious to know if you’re finding tons of errors in it. I’m talking dialogue with two people in the same paragraph, missing quotation marks (both opening AND closing), etc. It makes me want to go to the bookstore and compare to the printed version. I don’t remember ever seeing a print book this bad, even from crappy start-up publishers! And it’s the worst e-book I’ve seen. So I wonder if G.P. Putnam suddenly without quality control, or if it’s a conversion thing, or if they mistakenly formatted the pre-proofed copy for Kindle format! :)

  15. Shannon
      · February 24th, 2010 at 5:26 pm · Link

    Huh. I’ll have to give it a look and let you know. (I think reading Eve & Roarke sounds a lot more fun than working today, anyway. Snow day!)

  16. Holly
      · February 24th, 2010 at 5:37 pm · Link

    I don’t know if it helps or not, but I have a print copy of Fantasy in Death and while there are a few typos, it isn’t anything like what’s described above.

    There were more than usual though.

  17. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 24th, 2010 at 6:04 pm · Link

    Thanks, Holly. So either my annoyance is exaggerating the level of the problem, or it’s a combination of things. :)

  18. Maisey
      · February 24th, 2010 at 6:18 pm · Link

    How much does one want to sell their gently used 505 for…I’ve got a birthday coming up and I just sold another book…but I’m still sadly poor. *cough cough* (that was just for sympathies)

    Yeah, Kindle will always be my main reader. It reads my word files great, and it’s what I used to ‘hard copy’ edit now. Saves me boot loads in ink and paper, actually. I just want something to read the immense collection of bookis I already have. And yes, category nerdtastic person that I am, it’s all HQN categories.

    I heard the software update for the 505 solves some of the format probs for ADE, but the pockets are still cheaper new, so I was headed for that.

    And I’m left-handed, and I think I turn my kindle pages left-handed… :|

  19. Shannon
      · February 25th, 2010 at 5:56 pm · Link

    Natalie, I’m on page 55 (of 273) and the only thing that’s jumped out at me is one paragraph that didn’t indent. An Amazon conversion thing, maybe?

  20. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 25th, 2010 at 8:42 pm · Link

    Thanks, Shannon. It does sound like a conversion thing. I’ve decided that part of it is that the print version probably has fancy initial letters for the start of a section (scene or chapter break), and that’s messing up the formatting with the first couple of dialogue paragraphs running together, as well as the indenting issues. It’s a POSSIBLE explanation for all the missing quotation marks, too.

    That they keep using c o r n instead of c o m is probably a full editing error, though. :)

  21. Georgina
      · July 10th, 2010 at 8:12 pm · Link

    Hi Shannon,

    I completely found this by accident, but found it helpful. I recently got my own nook and have been using calibre.(Just a side note, I’ve noted that it loads the book cover in the color menu and remains while you’re reading the book.)

    But I was wondering if you had problems sideloading large amounts of files via calibre. I found that it definitely organizes my books better than just sideloading from my saved files, but when I upload the books, the nook doesn’t read them.

    Did you have this problem as well?



  22. Shannon
      · July 11th, 2010 at 1:31 pm · Link

    Hi Georgina!

    Yay on getting a nook! I don’t think I’ve ever tried to move a lot of files at once. Because I find the My Documents navigation on the nook a little tiresome, I try never to have more than a few pages, so I’m usually just adding a book or two at a time.

    The only time I’ve had the nook not open a book is when I’d bought the book for a different device and it had DRM.

    I don’t know if you’ve found it or not, but has insanely awesome information about ebooks & readers of all types. There’s a ton of info on both the nook and Calibre, so a search there might yield results.

    But I haven’t experienced that, so I’m not sure what caused it.


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