Thursday, November 4, 2010

Review: The Nook App for iPhone

Last week I was forced to upgrade to the Nook app... and I do mean forced.  I purchased an ebook from B&N, only to discover that I could no longer download new ebooks using the old eReader.  Considering the problems reported with the Nook app, and considering they had told us we could continue using the old eReader, I was infuriated to discover this.

After having used the new Nook app to read a couple of ebooks, I have a few comments, both positive and negative.  First, the stuff I like:

* I can use the Nook app to manage my online library.  The old eReader didn't allow you to view ebooks in your archive, send ebooks to archive, or lend ebooks to friends.  You can do all that with the new app.

* The app syncs between other reading devices.  If you have, say, an iPad and an iPhone, or a Nook and an iPhone, or you read ebooks on your computer as well as your Nook, the apps sync with one another.  Your bookmarks, notes, etc. all update when you open the ebook on another device.

* Changing brightness, text size, etc. is a little easier.  The app has a menu that drops down from the top banner while you are in the book.  With the old app you had to go to an entirely different page.

* The formatting is better.  I can now download free ebooks that were scanned by Google Books, because this app reads the formatting better!  The old one didn't have paragraph breaks on ebooks that weren't formatted specifically for the app.  This problem seems to have been resolved in the new app, so downloading free classics is a much more appealing option for me now.

* The dictionary works!  A dictionary didn't come free with the old app — you had to buy one.  Therefore, having a working dictionary on the new app is a nice touch.  In addition, if you highlight something to look it up online, it Googles it for you — on the old app, you had to remember what it was you highlighted, and how it was spelled, so that you could type it into the search box yourself.

Now for what I don't like:

* IT'S SLOW.  Ridiculously slow.  It takes twice as long to load your ebook, whether you are opening it for the first time or going back to something you've already started.  Obviously that's because it is checking the server for any updates to your notes or bookmarks, but I don't like the delay when I am waiting to read.

* I don't like the layout as much.  Although the text size, font, and margins are easier to change on this app, and free ebooks are better formatted, I don't like the way text looks on the screen quite so much.  The old reader seemed to have a perfect text size, while this one seems to always be either too small (hard to read) or too big (too few words on the page).

* I'm not sure how it'll work when I don't have Internet access.  I almost always have wifi or wireless service, so I haven't yet experienced how not having it will affect my ability to read...  But since it updates bookmarks and notes from the server, I can't imagine it'll be good.  What will happen if I want to read an ebook on the airplane?

* There's not a back button to return you to the book if you look something up online.  Nitpicking, I know, but when it takes the app this long to load, you kind of want to be able to just hit "back" instead of having to close Safari and open the Nook app all over again!

So, more good than bad with the new app — but I'm still annoyed that they forced the upgrade, when they had said we could continue using the old app.

No comments: