5 Thing Thursday

 

Party HatsI did not make any new year resolutions this year. I meant to, really, but somehow time just slipped away from me and I never got around to it. You know what? It’s a very liberating feeling.

Just because I failed to make resolutions for myself doesn’t mean I can’t make them for others, whether they want them or not. I’m very generous that way. No need to thank me, B&N, just meet these resolutions with… er, resolve.

My resolutions for you revolve around your new NOOKcolor, a terrific new ebook reader. I got one for Christmas and I love it. It is easily the best Christmas present I’ve received in years. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t use it, mostly as an ebook reader, though it makes for a nice web browser too. However, there are a few little things you can (and should) do that will make it even better.

I took my NOOKc to my book club meeting yesterday, along with my new Kindle 3G. Some people in the group still don’t own an ereader, but are considering one. I took both the Kindle and NOOK figuring once they saw them side-by-side they would obviously want the NOOK. Boy was I wrong. I hate to tell you this, but by the time the meeting broke up both Kim and Dianna said they’d probably go with the Kindle.

So here is a handy list of resolutions you should strive to implement before the end of 2011. You are very welcome.

1) Yes, of course, it’s a list of New Year’s resolutions so it’s bound to be there – lose weight. The first thing Kim and Dianna noticed when I handed them the NOOK and Kindle was that the NOOK was much heavier than the Kindle. It was downhill from there. You know what they say about first impressions. So please, find ways to shave off some weight without reducing screen size, even if it’s just an ounce or two.

2) Add 3G. One of my arguments when they objected to the weight was, sure it weighs more, but it does so much more than the Kindle. It’s really a tablet computer complete with a cool web browser. Alas, our restaurant of choice lacked free wi-fi. There were half a dozen networks within range, but every one of them was secure. How inconsiderate. Therefore I was unable to blow their socks off by surfing over to our book club website. Someone asked the inevitable question, “Does the Kindle have a web browser?” Unfortunately the answer is yes, so they considered it moot. It’s not moot. The Kindle web browser SUCKS. I tried demonstrating that to them, but poor performance trumps no performance in a table-side demo every time. Had the NOOK been 3G enabled I could have really made it shine. Yes I know, adding features does not help in the weight loss department. But you’re smart folks, figure it out.

Please note: I don’t mean the Kindle sucks, only it’s web browser.

3) Implement landscape reading for books. Landscape only works for magazines, the web, and children’s books – not regular books. What were you thinking, you knuckleheads?

4) Ship it with a little larger selection of free books. It does come with Little Women, Pride and Prejudice, and Dracula, all of which are fine choices. But throw in a half dozen other titles that might appeal to a broader audience. There are plenty of classics in the public domain so why not throw in a few more? Some collections would be nice – say of poetry, or short stories. A collection of poems by the fireside poets of the 19th century and the works of Edgar Allen Poe come to mind. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes would be a nice draw. And while you’re at it, add the cover art to the books themselves, not just as thumbnails on the library shelves. You have a fabulous color device here; for goodness sakes, showcase it.

5) I was very glad to see you have released an SDK (software developer’s kit for the none-geeks reading this). That puts you well ahead of the game in the “resolutions” department. Way to go. Now perhaps you, or some third party developer, can come out with a wireless stylus for use on the NOOK. Note taking, sudoko, and crossword puzzels would be so much more intuitive with a “pencil” interface. Perhaps someone will even come up with a nice sketching app to boot.

Well, there you have it, Barnes & Noble, five new year’s resolutions with my complements. Please release this new model of your wonderful NOOKcolor in time for Christmas, 2011. You’ll be glad you did.
~jon

Photo by Holly Occhipinti, via Flickr Creative Commons

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