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Books Technology

The Kindle Killer Arrives 542

Posted by kdawson
from the got-wi-fi dept.
GeekZilla sends coverage from Wired's Gadget Lab on the Nook, Barnes & Noble's first e-book reader. "Sleek, stylish and runs the Android OS. What's not to like about Barnes and Noble's new e-book reader? Despite the odd name, the Nook looks like an eBook reader that would actually be a worthwhile investment. Best feature? The ability to loan e-books you have downloaded to other Nook owners. The reader, named the 'Nook,' looks a lot like Amazon's white plastic e-book, only instead of the chiclet-keyboard there is a color multi-touch screen, to be used as both a keyboard or to browse books, cover-flow style. The machine runs Google's Android OS, will have wireless capability from an unspecified carrier, and comes in at the same $260 as the now rather old-fashioned-looking Kindle." Here is the B&N Nook site, which is still not visible on their front page and has a few non-working links. (Nook.com isn't set up yet.) Their comparison page takes dead aim at the Kindle. Among the advantages in the Nook's column: Wi-Fi, expandable memory via microSD, MP3 player, and PDF compatibility. (But remember the cautionary note B&N struck six years back when they got out of the e-book business.)
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The Kindle Killer Arrives

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  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:50PM (#29813221)

    i'll buy the paper books or download them on my iphone via the kindle or B&N reader apps. loaning books sounds like a good option and i hope they bring it to the B&N iphone app. with websites like Goodreads that link to facebook, it can be a viral marketing strategy

    • by eln (21727) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:23PM (#29813755) Homepage
      Have you ever tried to read an entire book on an iPhone? I get serious eyestrain after about 30 minutes, I can't imagine sitting there with that light shining directly into my eyes for hours at a time. The real strength of e-book readers is not the whizbang features, all of which are easily duplicated in any given smartphone, but rather in the screen itself, which is conducive to reading for extended periods of time with, in theory, no more eyestrain than a regular book.

      Having said that, I'm still not ready to jump on the e-book bandwagon. The price is still a tad high, and there's too much uncertainty with the distribution models out there, like Amazon's deal with being able to arbitrarily revoke access to your own books and whatnot. Once they can give me a standard open e-book format that allows me to download books from anywhere, for pay or not, and keep them forever, and once they sell the readers at sub-$200 prices, I'll probably take the plunge.
      • by joh (27088) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:02PM (#29814481)

        I've read more than 120 books now on my iPod touch (which is very much an iPhone with no phone), no problems. Yes, a larger screen would be nice and you have to set a sensible brightness level (too bright in a rather dark environment is bad) but mostly I just forget that I'm reading on an electronic device and not a real book. I just read. There's not much more to say here, I'd say. I think the e-ink displays are overrated. They may have some slight advantages but they're far from perfect.

        And the iPod has the advantage of being small and light enough to be safely held in one hand and to go into any pocket, which is great. And compared to most ebook readers the iPod is cheap. And it can be *so* much more than just an ebook reader.

    • by Rary (566291) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:34PM (#29813943)

      i'm not paying $250 to buy books

      That's not really that much. I spent more than that on my bookshelves, and they're not even portable.

    • by rm999 (775449) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:44PM (#29814113)

      I would have agreed with you until I got a Kindle as a present. I have started reading a lot more because of it. Its e-ink screen is much better than an iPhone (I don't want a flashlight shining directly into my eyes when I read at night). When I travel, its size is great (fits in my bag much more easily than a paperback).

      Also, I find downloading e-books more convenient than acquiring physical copies of books.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by e2d2 (115622)

      Besides, next month we'll see the release of the next-gen "Cranny".

  • by iamacat (583406) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:51PM (#29813229)

    Can users install their own apps or replace the OS? If not, I don't see how use of Android OS would matter.

  • A little early (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cjfs (1253208) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:51PM (#29813245) Homepage Journal

    The Kindle Killer Arrives

    How do you kill that which has no life?

    • Re:A little early (Score:5, Interesting)

      by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:00PM (#29813379) Journal

      The same way the iPod killed the MPman, Rio, and other early-to-market MP3 players.

      Now the iPod is like Kleenex or Hoover - the generic name for all players. Maybe the new Nook will become similarly popular and kill-off Kindle? I actually had one of my coworkers tell me that iPod is the only "true" player and I should stop using "ipod knockoffs" like Insignia. My attempt to tell him that iPod was not the first player, and actually arrived 3 years after the first was met with skepticism ("Don't be stupid. Apple was first.")

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:14PM (#29813589)

        [Shrug] It's no more stupid than those people who think there was more than one Matrix movie.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by noidentity (188756)

          [Shrug] It's no more stupid than those people who think there was more than one Matrix movie.

          Agreed; there was The Matrix, and two other movies that sucked.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          There's nothing wrong with Matrix 2 and 3, except that they should have been merged as one single movie and shortened to three hours. Or kept separate and shortened to 90 minutes each. The story as told was too long.

    • by Umuri (897961) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:01PM (#29813391)

      How do you kill that which has no life?

      Chainsaws and stakes work well

    • by tmosley (996283) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:43PM (#29814091)
      Easy, just say these words:

      Klaatu barata ni...*mumble*

      Well, close enough, anyways.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by flynt (248848)

        Three books? Wait a minute. Hold it. Nobody said anything about three books. Like... like what am I supposed to do? Take-Take one book... or all books... or... or what? Three books? Nobody said anything about three books...

  • I know the G1 has some DRM issues, and that irritates me. Will this new e-reader also have them? If so, how pervasive and extensive will it be? It sounds like they intend to allow PDF reading. So maybe you can just avoid buying anything with DRM on it?

  • by Radhruin (875377) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:53PM (#29813271)

    ... will have wireless capability from an unspecified carrier ...

    According to the comparison sheet [barnesandnoble.com], they're using AT&T.

  • hmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:56PM (#29813313)

    Some wireless. Less space than a kindle. Lame.

  • by Asklepius M.D. (877835) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:57PM (#29813319)
    From the website: "Most eBooks can be lent for up to 14 days at a time." So I'll wait to see the fine print before I jump for joy at another potentially crippled bit of electronics. I'll wait for a few months to see whether they've retained the power to delete user data or go about bricking the thing once someone "opens" it. If they reserve the 14 day to only titles under active copyright, then I'll be a bit more amenable to the gizmo (although eInk's refresh rate after a page turn still drives me up the wall). I simply don't trust any party related to the publishing and distribution industries to provide a device that simply meets my needs without resorting to underhanded tactics to impose their own agenda at a later date.
    • by icebike (68054) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:24PM (#29813759)

      While you LEND a book, you can't read it. The other party can read it (without paying for it). Then you get it back and you can read it but the other party can't.

      What could be Fairer than that? Its exactly like a paper book, except the other party can't fail to return your book.

      Jeeze, I wish I could get this plan for the tools I lend to my neighbor!

  • Nooks (Score:4, Funny)

    by ojintoad (1310811) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @03:58PM (#29813335)
    Dear B&N,

    Please partner with us.

    Sincerely,
    Thomas' English Muffins Inc.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by aicrules (819392)
      Better come to the table with a business plan for the Crannies too, otherwise the merger execs will just laugh across the table at you.
  • We're going to get screwed over again aren't we? Can't kill the kindle up here because it's not around to begin with.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SilverJets (131916)

      Yep. Even the "international" version of the Kindle is not available in Canada. WTF is up with that?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by p0tat03 (985078)

        Blame Canadian content laws. Amazon is classified as a bookstore in Canada, and therefore must sell X percent Canadian content - a protectionist policy that supposedly protects us from evil Americans taking over our media. The net result is that Amazon could either stock and attempt to sell a boatload of Canadiana which sell poorly (and in Amazon's low-margin line of business, is death), or Amazon can choose not to operate in Canada at all. It has chosen the latter. Amazon.ca is operated entirely from withi

    • Re:Canada (Score:5, Funny)

      by Pahroza (24427) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:02PM (#29813409)

      That's correct. It's not around, it's arectangle.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:00PM (#29813381)
    The real killer question is whether it supports remote deletion like the Kindle does [slashdot.org]. The feature comparison [barnesandnoble.com] doesn't mention this. Of course we'll only really know for sure [wikipedia.org] if and when the feature is actually used; claims that it doesn't support it can't really be trusted (and the feature might be added in a later firmware update anyway).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by thesandtiger (819476)

      I know you're going for "informative" or whatever, but seriously - even Amazon acknowledged that they fucked up big time by remote-nuking 1984, and reversed it. While you'll never know for sure (unless someone is dumb enough to risk their business by doing that again) if this device or any other has that capability, I think it's reasonable to think that most businesses making such devices don't want to shit where they eat by doing a known bad thing.

    • by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:58PM (#29819161) Homepage

      The real killer question is whether it supports remote deletion like the Kindle does.

      Does it matter? It's a remote-upgradable computing device. Even if it doesn't currently support that feature, they could always add it in the next automatic firmware update. Conversely, if it currently does have that feature, they could always remove it in a future update.

      What matters is whether you feel you can trust B&N not to screw you over.

  • Obvious (Score:5, Funny)

    by Herkum01 (592704) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:01PM (#29813395)

    Everyone should get a little Nookie!

  • Book Selection (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thesaint05 (850634)
    As a current Kindle 2 owner, the thing that matters the most (at least to me) is book selection. An e-reader is only as useful as the books you can put on it. B&Ns claims of "over a million titles available" (thereby claiming they have more titles then the what's available for the Kindle) is spurious at best, as I believe (IIRC) it includes a lot of free public domain books, books that are freely available on the Kindle, just not necessarily from the Kindle store. Sure, it's nice that they include mo
  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmail. c o m> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:06PM (#29813489) Homepage

    "But remember the cautionary note B&N struck six years back when they got out of the e-book business."

    A great deal has changed in six years. Small computing has become more ubiquitous with the arrival of the netbook, high capacity flash devices are a lot more common, low power cpu's more common, wireless hot spots vastly more common...

  • Seriously, I travel a fair amount for work and I have seen literally 1 person using a kindle. I dont know..maybe people only use that at home, but to me it seems this is a device type with astonishingly little market penetration relative to actual books or ipod/iphone what have you.
    That being the case, the only thing to take away from the kindle is media hype. IMO at least.

    • by quarterbuck (1268694) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:48PM (#29814209)
      You should travel on the trains on the east coast. Every man in a suit I see going to work in NY in the morning is either reading a Kindle or busy working/reading on his laptop.
      A kindle only makes sense for a terrestrial traveler (WiFi download of books/news) who also uses it regularly. On a plane you can't get WiFi, nor are you going to travel to work daily by flight. So it makes no sense to use a Kindle there.
      Now this market might not be very large. But it is extremely rich (hedge funds, Wallstreeters or the average beautician in NY) and will last a while -- people have been commuting for work to NY for years and they won't start driving anytime soon.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by zaq1xsw2cde9 (608119) *
        Kindle does not have WiFi capability, so it is irrelevant that you can't use WiFi on Flights. I only turn on my Wireless connection on my Kindle when I want to browse and download a book. So for a few minutes every few weeks, when I grab a few books for my queue. Other than that, it stays off for battery conservation.
        Also, Kindle is incredibly good for Flights. Especially long ones. I don't' travel every week, but I travel often, and between waiting at the airport and time on the plane, I can go thr
  • by ErikTheRed (162431) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:09PM (#29813529) Homepage

    If their titles are bogged down with DRM I'm not buying it. Not as a political or philosophical statement; I've just burned my hand on that stove too many times. The music companies have figured it out (or at least have been clubbed into submission). Hopefully the book publishers will come to their senses as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mugnyte (203225)

      There's more than that, when you think of all the times we've been burned:

        - Archivability ? physical book can go on shelf, can ebook be stored outside of reader device?
        - Format conversion? can I export passages as raw text?
        - Right of resale? used ebooks?
        - Annontations? can i write in margins?
        - Distribution? can I read the book aloud? to a group?
        - Expiration? can the content be revoked?

  • by fantomas (94850) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:14PM (#29813593)

    Low sales ahead in the UK as British punters embarrassed to go into their book shops and libraries and ask for Nook e-books? :-)

    For non-UK folks, "Nooky" is cheeky old fashioned slang for sex, so "nooky book" would mean a porno novel....

  • Many of the books seem to be ~$11; this is 10% more than the kindle. That adds up pretty quickly.
  • international? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bysshe (1330263)
    does it hvae the inernation wireless feature that the latest kindle has?

    If not its not a kindle killer. Remember folks, there is the REST OF THE WORLD
  • Wireless by AT&T (Score:3, Informative)

    by standbypowerguy (698339) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:17PM (#29813653) Homepage
    The wireless service is provided by AT&T. Says so at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/nook/features/ [barnesandnoble.com]
  • by JoshDM (741866) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @04:21PM (#29813721) Homepage Journal

    And like everyone else, I call them "hammers".

  • I can read PDF just fine - the conversion process can be done in multiple ways and costs me a few pennies down to nothing for the Kindle. So that's no biggie. The MP3 player? I have that on my multiple year old Kindle too - I have YET to EVER use it so that's no biggie. The expandable memory? I have that on mine too but it's SD and they killed it on the new version - stupid of them IMO. That said the new Kindle has more base memory and quite frankly if it's just books you're putting on there it will hold a metric shit-ton of books! The average paperback book I get is under a meg and I have gigs of storage on my device. So, while a nice touch this advantage isn't that big a deal to me.The color touch screen for nav I don't get, what's the advantage? If it uses more power then I don't want it - make the device like the Energizer Bunny and last a long long time and I'm happy. Things like refresh rate changing pages are a bigger deal to me than this gimmick, honestly refresh on my old unit is okay by me.

    Having owned and used an eBook reader for a good long time now I can tell you that capacity, battery life, and coverage for the radio are big concerns for ME. My very biggest concern is availability of BOOKS at decent prices - more magazines would be nice. That's what I am buying the thing for and if it cannot give me a ton of access to books then it's worthless. Right now Amazon gives me all the books I can absorb, with rare exception, at somewhat decent discount rates. Lending is nice but 14 days isn't long enough for most - I've seen how slow some people are with reading! Give it a full screen that does color I might be more interested but not at the expense of most of the battery life.

    Really for me this is a yawner unless it starts a price war on content. I know I'm locked in with Amazon DRM but I also know how to break it if I really wanted to - I've got the tools. If I had NO eReader then yeah sure this would be more interesting but their past with eBooks would give me pause . Anyway, nice to see more entries into this realm. Perhaps with more and more readers coming out someone will make the breaking of Amazon DRM a little bit easier and more automated? That would be helpful!!

  • Lame. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @05:25PM (#29814897)

    No unicorn. Less controversy than a Kindle. Lame.

  • Yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Flentil (765056) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @06:40PM (#29815889) Homepage
    I would like to have one of these devices, but not until they stop charging such ridiculous prices. E-book readers will never go mainstream until they cost less than $50. Eventually they should just give these things away.
  • Library books? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aaandre (526056) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:45PM (#29817345)

    Will I be able to lend any book available at my library for free (tax dollars and all)? I woudn't mind DRM then.

  • by sirdude (578412) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @02:10AM (#29819947)
    Does anybody have and use the Hanlin reader? Review? I'm not sure, but this might also be available in rebranded form. Looks like DRM-free heaven to me.

"If truth is beauty, how come no one has their hair done in the library?" -- Lily Tomlin

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