It seems that understanding what a computer (Amazon’s strength) may be more important than Barnes & Noble’s long experience with book-selling when it comes to creating satisfying searches on the encyclopedic digital resource of an online bookstore. This is a followup to my earlier post about ordering a Nook to replace my lost Kindle.
Now that I’ve spent a little time with my pretty new Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight, here is what I like:
1. The form factor – it is smaller than the Kindle with a nice heft, but the screen is big enough, and once you find the awkwardly situated command to change the font size it is nicely dense and readable.
2. Touch screen is very welcome because touching to select and swiping to move left and right has become “intuitive” (that is, we expect it because of our experience with other — mostly Apple — devices). I found myself often swiping at my non-touch Kindle.
My biggest disappointments so far:
1. It seems to have trouble holding onto my home wireless connection, and when it does there is no “whispernet” — the proprietary network that comes with the Kindle– to provide back up internet access.
2. The depth of recommendations and metadata that I thought would approximate the blissful experience of browsing the NYC Union Square B&N Store is not to be had. Instead the recommendations to the new user are all for best sellers and there is no way to access more curated lists. It does not recognize “Booker Prize” for example.
In fact, I found myself going to the Amazon.com app on my iPad to find books whose titles I could not remember with a few relevant search terms. For example, trying to remember “The God of Small Things” I put in “India novel small” which led to no search results on the Nook, and exactly the right book on the iPad Amazon applet. And worse yet, the same test led to the same results when I compared the B&N website to Amazon.com:
Searching for “india novel small” yielded no books on the B&N website, and the same irritatingly inappropriate recommendations for the latest soft-core porn best sellers that made me want to return my Nook.
Meanwhile, typing “India novel small” into the Amazon search box led me immediately to the right novel, even though I had accidentally selected the category of BEAUTY instead of BOOKS from the pull-down menu:
Interestingly enough, Barnes and Noble does a great job of emailing me recommendations for books based on my past purchases. I’ve had similar issues with browsing, but the emails are always spot on and I often find a new title that way.