The nook files: Getting to know Barnes and Noble

At some point in the next two weeks, I hope to have in my hands my second ebook reader, the Barnes and Noble nook. The reason it’s the second is kind of an interesting story that’s going to take me much longer to write than this post.

Waiting over a month has produced more second to the Nth power guessing though. I’m more than a little worried about jumping in with both feet into a Barnes and Noble world. I think I’m most worried about their software and hardware divisions getting this right.

That worry starts with their web site.

I’ve spent a few hours browsing the site, trying to put together a list of the books that I’m interested in getting. I’m not buying anything before I have the nook in my hands, because while I know I can use their eReader software on my computer and iPhone, it’s not something I’m interested in.

To start, browsing and searching “books” versus “ebooks” is separate. If I’m looking at a “book” I have no link to click on to get to the ebook. This could be understandable if it wasn’t for the seeming fact that customer ratings and reviews are tied to one or the other. Actually, even as I write this, that’s inconsistent. If I’m looking at March, by Geraldine Brooks (something that piqued my interest while looking at the Putlizer list for fiction) — there’s no link. But I’m looking at more recent books — such as How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers — or Jon Krakauer’s biopic of Pat Tillman: Where Men Win Glory — there are links and combined reviews.

So maybe it’s just an issue of getting older items in the catalog linked up. I get that. The inconsistency is irritating though.

What’s the most annoying to me — besides Barnes and Noble’s valiant, but ultimately lame attempt at social networking (that they should leave to the other social networks and make it incredibly easy to link to my B&N data) — was “the lists”

See, I was happy to see that while browsing eBooks — I could add them to my eBook Wish List. Cool. Then I wanted to add that list to something like Friend Feed.

Hmmmm. No feed.

Maybe I can link to it. Well, No. If I do, I get “This Wish Has Been Set To Private” only I can’t make the built-in eBook Wish List public.

I can make other wish lists public, but not the eBook Wish List. But I can’t add eBooks to the regular wish lists. (and I can’t add regular books to the eBooks Wish List). It turns out I have to create an “Essential List”

So to recap:

Sigh. I so hope this isn’t an harbinger of things to come.

(p.s. my initial list is still yet a bit slim — I’ll be reading a lot of Cory Doctorow’s work first — and may buy Content in B&N eBook form when available, just for the principle of it