Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thoughts on my new Nook

Captain's Log, Stardate 07.26.2011

My old Nook had a crack in the plastic right over the forward page button on the right side, and I kept forgetting to NOT use the button so the crack was getting worse (as in, the plastic was pulling even further apart and leaving a gaping hole).

So, Captain Caffeine bought me the new B&W touchscreen Nook for an early birthday present.

The new Nook has so much I really like about it. It’s extremely light, it’s touch screen is extremely responsive (the touch screen on my old Nook was just really not very responsive at all), and the battery life is amazing.

What I didn’t realize is that unlike the old Nook, the new Nook does not support .pdb files.

This is not as much a problem for the books I’ve bought from Barnes and Noble. All the books are automatically downloaded to my Nook (via wireless) from my BN.com library as .epub files and I don’t have to do anything except click the little cover.

However, there are two problems.

A) Being extremely paranoid, I download a copy of all my ebooks onto my computer, which is a Mac. I didn’t realize until I read this article by Paul Biba that when Mac users download their purchased books, the BN.com website automatically sends the books in the .pdb format, but when PC users download their books, the BN.com website sends them the books in .epub format.

So extremely not fair and annoying!

The only workaround is to change your user agent in your web browser. I am using Firefox, so I Googled it and found this helpful article by Chris Hoffman. I had to download a Firefox add-on, restart Firefox, and then go into Tools to change my user agent settings (I changed it to Internet Explorer 8). It worked fine and now I can download ebooks from BN.com in .epub format, and it’s very easy to change back and forth from Mac to PC user agent setting.

B) The other problem is that I have older books I purchased from Fictionwise.com that were in .pdb format, so now I either have to redownload them in .epub format (if they were not DRM protected) or I can only read the ebooks on my computer OR on my iPad or iPhone using the eReader app or Stanza.

How much suckage is that????

The good thing is that most of the ebooks I bought from Fictionwise that are .pdb format were bought a long time ago, and I've read most of them already.

So … a bit annoying but not impossible to (mostly) fix situations A and B. However, I do wish I’d known especially about situation A a few weeks ago when I was diligently downloading all my files from BN.com to my computer so I’d have a backup.

Am I sad I bought my Nook? No, not really, since most of the ebooks I buy these days are from BN.com. I am a little peeved that BN.com downloads .pdb files to Mac users when the Nook doesn’t even read .pdb files, but that might be a glitch they’ll fix eventually either on the website or the Nook itself. I know there was a bunch of stuff added to my old Nook in various software updates, so it might be possible.

If you want to know the difference between the new Nook and the Kindle, there's a CNET prizefight video below. I didn't quite agree with their assessment of features because if I wanted to listen to an audiobook, I'd get an MP3 player rather than wasting space on my ereader, and the text to speech isn't something I'd use, so I don't see the lack of audio capabilities as something important on the Nook, and I don't use my ereader to surf the web or play games.

I want to say that I'm not knocking on the Kindle. I think the Nook and Kindle are pretty much the same.

Ultimately, I think that it really depends on what ebooks you've already bought--whether they're mostly .azn or .pdb/.epub format--to determine which ereader you get. I already had tons of .pdb/.epub format ebooks, which I could only read read on the (old) Nook, so it didn't make sense for me to get a Kindle. The few .azn books I've got, I can read on my computer or my iPad or iPhone. So far, when I compare what books are available on BN.com versus Amazon.com, they're almost identical. The only differences might be that Amazon has some small presses and self-pubbed ebooks that BN.com doesn't have, but I don't read many of those anyway.


  1. I understand the frustration. I have three book apps on my iPod to read all my e-books. It would be nice to have them all in one app, but I admit I like a few of the features of each of them. And at least they are all in one place, rather than having half on my iPod and all of them on my computer

  2. That's true! I have three apps on my iPad for my ebooks, too!

  3. Hmm Camy. The one thing I have to say about the Kindle is that I can send a book that I've got downloaded to my computer to my kindle email and they will convert it to the kindle format. Now I don't know if the nook can do that, from what you stated above it doesn't sound like it can. That would be a big downer for me.

  4. What kind of book? If it's a drm protected .pdf or .epub or .pdb, Amazon can't convert it. If it's a normal .pdf or unprotected file, then you can do that for the Nook using Calibre.

  5. Thank you for this helpful topic! I was confused for why some of my Nook Books were coming in as a pdb! Thank you again!