Nook reads like a knockoff

Aug 20, 2009

Nook is an obvious response to Amazon’s Kindle for iPhone app but is it better? The Kindle app shines when it’s combined with the actual Kindle reading device. Without that pairing, you get Nook, a friendly iPhone app with a decent library but not much more.

This free book reading app from Barnes & Noble is generally good and easy to operate but you do need to spend some time with the user’s guide.

Some classic books are available for free while other e-books cost the same as the list price for a proper book. A selection of e-books is offered for $5.

But there is a glitch in this app that can delete books from staying on your device. The glitch occurred to me when my iPod Touch was low on memory. I had to download the book again from my B&N online library, so it isn’t a permanent deletion. All the books you purchase are stored at, where you can also download another free application to read the books on a PC or Mac.

You can search the online library quickly with the built-in search option; however, several searches can lead you astray. For instance, searching for a Harry Potter book directed me to a site to purchase miscellaneous Potter merchandise. A coincidence? I think not.

Nook allows you to test drive a chapter of the book before buying. An invert function allows you to change text color from black on a white background to white text on a black background for easy reading during the day or at night. That’s a nice feature if you want to read in bed and not disturb a sleeping partner.

Other nice features: Nook lets you “dog ear” pages and highlight words to look up in Google, Wikipedia or a dictionary.

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Kate Currin

Kate Currin, a techie who loves apps as much as shoes, is a freelance writer living in Chicago.

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