Newest Ebook Reader Promises Much

26 May

Barnes & Noble recently unveiled its newest digital reader: the Nook Simple Touch Reader. The Barnes & Noble website brags the new device has the longest battery life of any digital reader on the market with Wi-Fi off, seven font sizes (from extra extra small to extra extra large), and a super portable size and weight. It also has a full touch screen and has improved e-Ink. It also will provide access to NOOK Friends, a social reading experience.

From a Nook household, myself, I was instantly intrigued. I own the original device. As lovely as it is, it loses its charge after a couple of days of dedicated reading and loves to freeze in the most intense scenes of a book. A Nook Color also resides at our house, what I like to call Nook’s “tablet.” It features full color, decent battery time, and fast page flipping. With the newest upgrades, it now even has apps, including the ever-popular Angry Birds, and Adobe Flash Player.

So, how will the Nook Simple Touch Reader measure up to the rest of the line and its competition? The press release promises a lot from the newest Barnes & Noble Device. The price tag certainly does not hurt, coming in at $139 compared to the original Nook’s price of $259.

I am curious under what conditions the battery lasts a full two months. The original Nook promised extended reading of ten days. Personally, I have never managed to get the battery to actually last ten days, with or without the Wi-Fi activated. The longest it has lasted has been only three or four, depending on how frequently I used the device. However, B&N President of Digital Products Jamie Iannone states this new battery will long outlast the device itself.

I am also slightly surprised this device is black and white. E-ink now comes in color, though slightly crude yet; the first color e-ink device made its debut back in January. In a market where the next big thing has to one-up everything else, a black-and-white-only screen seems to be a step backward.

As someone who is hard on technology, the weight (or lack thereof) concerns me. Barnes & Noble reports the device weighs about eight ounces, less than a paperback. In my reading experience, a paperback is a fairly light thing to carry around. I am worried that something so light also could break quite easily.

Like the Nook Color, the Simple Touch Reader is Wi-Fi ready, but does not have 3G, which the original Nook does feature. For most people, I do not see this as a big problem. It takes me a while to read books and if ever I am in desperate need of something new to read, it’s not that far to the nearest hotspot.

The newest Nook plans its debut June 10, more than a month before Borders releases its Kobo Touch on July 30. The Kobo Touch, which also has a black- and-white touch screen, was announced May 23, just one day before the Nook announcement. The Kobo Touch starts at $129.99, about $10 less,  and it comes in four fun colors, such as lilac. Other than that, the features listed on the Borders website seem very similar to the Nook. Another e-reader Amazon’s Kindle also boasts a two-month battery life, but does not come with a touch screen.

While I am not ready to rush out and purchase the new Nook Simple Touch Reader, I do think it will make quite a splash on the market, though it will soon compete with the Kobo. The next step will, of course, be to feature the same device but with e-ink in color capabilities. I can only imagine this is months, if not just a year away with as fast as technology changes.

-Ana Wraight

TSTC Publishing Editor


Publishers Weekly

Barnes & Noble

One Response to “Newest Ebook Reader Promises Much”

  1. Eric John March 17, 2012 at 1:54 am #


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