In an article in the June / July 2011 issue of the MLA News, staff from Eastern University’s Warner Memorial Library reported that Amazon.com’s Kindle e-reader offered features that made it an excellent choice for nursing students. Reporting on a project funded by the National Network of Medical Libraries / Mid-Atlantic Region, it was noted that the Kindle offered superior social networking tools and an excellent user interface giving it an advantage of the Barnes and Noble original Nook e-reader. However, with the advent of the new Nook Simple Touch e-reader, early in June 2011, along with an updated version of the user interface, a reassessment was necessary.
The Nook Simple Touch offers a totally redesigned interface that makes downloading books, reading and navigation much easier than that found in the original Nook. Gone was the awkward two-screen interface of the original, replaced with a simple single touch screen. The navigation tools surpassed the physical keyboard found on the Kindle. The Nooks enhanced e-ink screen with a speedy page refresh makes reading on the new Nook enjoyable, in this Nook also has surpassed the Amazon product.
The advantage of the social networking benefits mentioned in the earlier MLA News article has disappeared. The new Nook offers the ability to send information ”post-its” to Twitter and Facebook, an excellent means for sharing readings with members of a class. Additionally, the improved web-browser opened up a large array of possibilities for classroom use with the potential to easily link to important web-based nursing education resources.
When looking at the way Barnes and Noble has positioned its Nook products, the bookseller has the potential to make a major impact in the textbook market 1. Barnes and Noble provides a wide array of Nook applications across a variety of mobile and desktop applications. If your preference is to read e-books on a PC, Blackberry, or IOS (iPad or iPhone) device then there is a Nook app available for a free download. 2. Barnes and Noble is a major player in the campus bookstore business. The company’s physical presence on campus provides a very accessible means for service and support. Additionally, as a major supplier of textbooks, Barnes is in a position to expand its e-textbook offerings. 3. All Nook e-readers are Android devices, with a potentially rich array of apps for nursing and medical education. 4. The Nook-study application, a free download for PC or MacIntosh, provides an additional avenue for nursing educators who use the online class management site Blackboard to impact student readings through the Nook-study Building Block product. (The Building Block is also a free download from the Barnes and Noble website.)
The developments over the last few months give the Nook a technological edge over the Amazon’s Kindle. So, whether purchasing the Color or new Nook Simple Touch, nursing educators and students will have a range of options for the classroom. If nursing faculty, students and medical librarians are preparing to dip into the e-reader pool, then the new Nook is a product deserving consideration.