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Why B&N Can’t Ever Catch Up to Amazon #2: Usability

28 February 2013

From The Digital Reader:

Today I came across what could be another lesson in why and how Barnes & Noble ran this promising platform into the ground. Not only was B&N incapable of supporting the Nook with decent customer service, according to one librarian the Nook platform is generally difficult to use.

Daniel Messer is the Web Content Manager for the Maricopa County Library District, and for the past month and a half he has been running beginner’s ereader classes at the various branch libraries of the MCLD. He’s been teaching patrons how to get library ebooks on to their new ereader or tablet, and he has special feelings for the Nook. Those feelings would be loathing, disgust, and hatred:

In the last two months, I’ve spent close to 30 hours doing nothing but eReader instruction. I’ve seen them all. I’ve worked on tablets from Apple, Google, Amazon, Polaroid, and some unnamed manufacturer with offices in North Korea. After all, Android runs on everything. I’ve seen eInk devices from Amazon, B&N, Sony, Aluratek, and so on. I’ve helped people install OverDrive Media Console on their phones, computers, and tablets. Pretty soon, I could help people set up library eReading and digital download services on their refrigerators.

In all of that, one set of devices stood above the mad crowds of tech in terms of bad usability, lousy user experience, platform instability, and being generally harder to use than anything else.


. . . .

One of his chief complaints is that the Nook and ADE integration works worse than with any other ereader that uses Adobe DE DRM:

Then there’s the interaction with Adobe Digital Editions. With all the other devices, ADE is handled somewhat gracefully in the background (as is the case with the OverDrive app on iOS or Android) or completely avoided (Kindles don’t use ADE). Meanwhile, over on the Nook side of things Nook arrives home early to find its wife in bed with ADE and, rather than being outraged, tries to make a threesome out of it.

Now, I will point out that he could be blaming the Nook platform for problems caused by Adobe DE, but he still has a point about the issues that B&N introduced when they went with their own mutant form of DRM.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader


2 Comments to “Why B&N Can’t Ever Catch Up to Amazon #2: Usability”

  1. This is a problem with DRM; not with a particular device.

  2. B&N tried to use DRM as a lockin device and failed. It is as simply as that.

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