So I downloaded the free Barnes & Nobel eReader 1.0 this morning, to check it out. I’m on a Mac and was glad to see that B&N rolled out versions of the readers for iPhone, Blackberry, PC and Mac all at the same time. That’s a good move.
The first thing I tried to do was open some pdf’s, mobi, epub and prc files…
I had created earlier for use on my phone and Sony Reader, but the B&N app wouldn’t open them. The B&N reader uses the Palm Database (.pdb) format. So you can use Calibre or Stanza Desktop (both free) to convert any document you want into a .pdb file and then open on the B&N Reader. I converted five different files and documents to .pdb and had no issues.
The B&N app is a free download and opens with a view of the user manual. Via a browser, you can log-in to your B&N user account and you’ll see that they have placed some free books in there for you. All are public domain, plus a Merriam Webster’s Dictionary. Just click to download and read on your computer. I downloaded the Dracula book and flipped through it. The B&N app has a great internal linking set-up. Finding your way from the index to the page, to your notes and back to the index is great. Even easier than the Kindle’s system. So reference reading is going to be easier here, plus you can view books in spreads, rather than a page at the time.
One thing I did notice, though haven’t tried yet, is the way Barnes & Noble is dealing with the DRM issue. If you download a locked book to your machine, it can be read on the Reader, but you have to enter the purchaser’s credit card number “as they key” to unlock the book. I’m surprised they didn’t come up with another system, but such is the DRM world.
One fun thing they added was the ability to create eReader themes. This is nice in that sometimes you want to adjust brightness, colors and contrast if you are reading a lot on screen. It helps ease eye strain if you can adjust as needed, but Barnes & Noble went one step further in allowing users to share their custom themes with friends and other users. Not sure if publishers can ‘brand’ these themes yet, but they have to be moving in that direction.
With Barnes & Noble releasing their own eReader yet-to-be-named Plastic Logic device, in early 2010, to compete directly with Amzon’s Kindle, this is a platform to watch.
In my mind, the winner will be:
- The first that makes it easiest to flip between pages and reference material in a book.
- The first to nail syncing. It’s great that I can read the same book on my iPhone, Kindle and desktop. But I want each device to ‘know’ where I was, so that I don’t have to hunt around for my spot. Since there are no true “page numbers” it’s hard to find your last spot, if you’re reading on multiple devices.