Inside the E-Book Wars: The Nook in Depth (Part 2)

By William Stanek
November 24, 2009 | Comments: 3

William Stanek here, continuing the e-reader discussion with an in-depth look at the Nook from Barnes & Noble. Anyone who's been watching the e-reader and e-book market knows, the Nook is the latest entry in this highly competitive space where Sony, Amazon and now Barnes & Noble look to be the global leaders. In my last post, I introduced the device, now let's dig in to specifics...

Because the Nook is a hot new product, you won't necessarily be able to purchase one and have it shipped to you by Christmas. When you order nook online, you'll be given a ship date before submitting your order. At last check, ship dates had slipped into the early part of 2010. If you are lucky enough to receive a Nook, in the box, you'll find:

  • Your new nook
  • A micro-USB 2.0 cable
  • A quick start guide (also in the Nook's e-library)
  • An AC adapter (although you can also charge by connecting the Nook to your computer via USB cable)

The Nook has a built-in rechargeable battery. that allows you to read for days. In fact, you can read for up to ten days without recharging, as long as you remember to turn the wireless networking off. Charging time from a wall outlet is about 3 1/2 hours. Charging time when connected to USB is longer (4 - 7 hours).


Weighing in at 11.2 ounces, the Nook is about the same weight as a paperback book. The height at 7.7 inches and width at 4.9 inches makes it about the same size as a paperback book as well. The 1/2 inch thickness makes it much thinner than just about any paperback, however.

With your purchase of the Nook, you get free wireless from Barnes & Noble via AT&T. The wireless capabilities allow you to shop at the Barnes and Noble online store. You can browse the virtual aisles, find books you want to read, explore samples, and then purchase books. Most downloads take only a few seconds, unless the book's files are large, such as with highly illustrated works or lengthy volumes.

The Nook also supports Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g). You can use the wi-fi features free in all Barnes & Noble stores to shop and wirelessly stream books from the B&N servers while you are at the store.

One of the more interesting features of the Nook is a screensaver. Technically, there's absolutely no reason why you need a screensaver on the Nook, but it does allow you to personalize the reader device. For example, you can use your own photos as the screensaver. That is very cool if you leave the device on and don't want others to know what you're reading!

The Nook has 2 gigabytes (GB) of internal storage. This allows you to store hundreds of books whether they are text-only or highly illustrated. The device also has an expandable microSD slot, which according to the current technical specs that I found supports up to 16 GB memory cards (though larger cards may be supported in the future through firmware updates.) Regardless, with 2 GB internal and a 16 GB memory card, your e-library can hold thousands of books.

The files on your Nook don't necessarily have to be "books." Nook supports any content you've obtained from the Barnes & Noble eBook store as well as content you've transferred to the device. Files can be transferred from your computer using a USB cable or the micro SD card.

Note Nook's Wi-Fi connectivity allows you to sync with your online e-library and to access the B&N e-store. It does not allow you to add your own content to the Nook. To add content, you must use a USB cable or the sdMicro card.

Thanks for reading, time for me to get back to work! Hope you'll take a look at my new book Windows 7: The Definitive Guide.

William R. Stanek
williamstanek at aol dot com


Thanks for the noise! Want to see more on e-readers, make more noise!

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Another nice job on this, William.

Great details. One thing that will probably determine this battle - flexibility. Features/options. It seems the Amazon, Sony, Barnes & Noble readers all have good points.

On a side note how come it is impossible to find your posts? I'm on Oreilly every day from blogs to forums and such but I never saw your stuff. The only reason I found yours on the nook is because a friend sent the links to me. Is there a reason Oreilly keeps your work buried and hard to find?

You've written some of the more intelligent stuff I've read on here in a long time. Needs to be easier to get to.

Hi Brent,

Catching up with a bunch of comments today! I agree flexibility is important for the long-term success of e-readers.

Not sure why it is so hard to find my posts. Generally, my posts go to the community page but not to other top-level pages. The page seems to be reserved for Radar posts mostly. Try checking

Sorry your experience in finding my posts has been the best or easiest.


My mom and I both have nooks but we are unable to lend certain books to each other (the ones that don't have the "lend me" symbol). I was wondering if it's possible to store books on my microSD card and then remove the card and place it in my Mom's nook so she could read them on her own nook?
Any advice?

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