Posted by: Frank | January 31, 2010

Kindle & Nook Need To Do More

Just before Christmas I received my nook, and since then I have been enjoying it very much. I am a long time eBook reader, but prior to using the nook I had read all of my eBooks on either a Pocket PC or the iPod Touch, both that have LCDs with backlights rather than eInk displays. What I have found is that eInk puts much less strain on my eyes. Steve Jobs asserts that people don’t read books for ten hours, a comment in reference to the iPad’s battery life, but people do read books for several hours and I think several hours of reading on an LCD definitely puts more strain on your eyes than several hours of reading from eInk or paper. The iPad will be great for references and short time reading, and I think the ideal situation is a combination of a dedicated reader like the Kindle or nook, with the iPad for reference provided that synchronization occurs to keep what you are reading, along with notes, highlights and bookmarks consistent across all devices.

As I have been reading on my nook I have been thinking that what is missing is integration with the Internet. There is a social aspect to reading, where we like to share with our friends that which we are reading. One of the reasons why we have bookcases in our homes is to show off the books that we have read. One of my favorite Facebook apps is Books, which I can use to share what I am reading with my friends. The nook uses the the Internet to access the Barnes and Noble eBook store, and it downloads content from Barnes and Noble, so it should be able to automatically upload information about what books I am current reading and which ones I have finished reading.

Barnes and Noble provides a Profile page on their web site that I can use to share what I am reading and rated, but there is no automatic updating of that information from the nook. For example, when I finish reading a book on my nook, what if I was prompted to rate the book and provide some review comments that were automatically shared on my profile? I think this is the type of functionality that Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other companies competing with Apple will have to add to their devices.


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