Sunday, July 5, 2015

Why Did e-Reader Companies Abandon Page Turn Buttons?


Many of the top e-reader brands from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo have abandoned manual page turn buttons. There was no clear reason for doing so and it’s not like thousands of people were complaining about it. Why exactly are they a thing of the past?

When the Amazon Kindle first burst on the scene in 2007, touchscreen technology was still in its infancy. There weren’t that many products on the market and tablets did not even exist yet. Instead of a touchscreen, the Kindle had manual page turn buttons and a keyboard in order to buy books, enter payment details and navigate around the UI. It wasn’t until October 2, 2008 when Sony unveiled the PRS-700, which featured the first touch screen and built-in lighting.

Every single Sony e-reader model whether it had a touchscreen or not used physical buttons to navigate around the device, including page turn keys. Sony did it right until they stopped making e-readers in 2013, every model blended the old school with the new school. I know personally thousands of people who loved their Sony’s and continue to use them to this very day.

Barnes and Noble first started making Nook e-readers in 2009 with the Nook 1st generation. This e-reader was a byproduct of stolen product designs from Spring Design, who filed a lawsuit and settled out of court in 2011 for millions for dollars. Nook was always a product that used a touchscreen, but always had manual page turn buttons. When the Nook Glowlight was released in 2013, this was the first modern e-reader to not have page turn buttons at all.

Page turn buttons were mostly abandoned due to then rising success of smartphones and tablets. All of these devices relied solely on touchscreen technology and the e-reader industry wanted their hardware to give the same type of user experience. Why would e-reader companies want customers to still use D-Pads, home buttons and page turn buttons when phone companies abandoned this sort of thing almost six years ago.

There are a few reasons why people love their manual page turn buttons and continue to use older models. If you have ever commuted on the bus, subway or tube, you often are holding the e-reader in one hand. It is very hard to hold the device and use the touchscreen at the same time. Others tend to read as they are balancing a baby or eating, one handed reading is popular.

Some people have said that “Manufacturers rely on “novelty” to sell new models. Touch was a novelty that enticed owners of older page-turn button models. Then Amazon introduced their pressure sensitive buttons on the Kindle Voyage as the next novelty.

Why has page turn buttons been abandoned? Amazon, Kobo and Nook aren’t saying anything, likely it was to save money on unnecessary hardware so e-readers can continue to be offered at lower prices. I have said it before that e-readers are on a race to the bottom, eliminating critical features to sell stuff as cheap as possible.

Barnes and Noble Unveils Broken Nook Website


Barnes and Noble has been working on a massive upgrade to their website for the last two years. The new design gives us a sense on what the bookseller is hoping to sell more of, which are lifestyle products, print and e-books. Unfortunately there are a number of bugs with e-books and Nook that are preventing people from reading and this is resulting in a fair amount of apathy.

When you are looking to buy a new book and haven’t heard much about it, likely you want to check out the first few chapters with a digital sample. Barnes and Noble has an online reading platform called Nook for Web. Sadly, this system is totally broken and has not been revised to work in conjunction with the new B&N website.

Here is what the company has said on their main help page, due to the overwhelming amount of emails and phone calls irate customers are making “On Tuesday, June 30, we updated our ecommerce website with new features. The NOOK for Web “Read Instantly” function was not updated as part of this rollout. Our technology team is currently working on including the NOOK for Web “Read Instantly” functionality and we hope to have it available in the near future. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and thank you for your continued support of NOOK.”

Another glaring error is the fact that any past purchases cannot be read online and the Nook Library does not recognize past purchases as being owned. If you click on any e-book you have bought in the past the only options right now is to archive it or purchase it again. If you try and buy it again there are a series of errors that do not allow you to complete the transaction.

It seriously looks like anything related to Nook e-books and digital content is simply not working with the new website. This is a shame because Apple iOS users have to buy digital content on the website, because B&N disabled the ability to buy e-books on iOS so they would not have to pay Apple a commission on each sale. It is also a hard blow to anyone who browses the internet on their PC or tablet in order to read a few samples before making a buying decision.

10 Free Kindle eBooks and Deals – July 5th

Here’s a roundup of 10 free Kindle ebooks and a few Kindle device and ebook deals, along with a couple other tablet deals, like the Lenovo Tab 2 10 for $179. The Kindle books are free as of July 5th, 2015. Please note that most of these titles are free for a limited-time only and […]

There is Little Interest in the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite 3


Amazon has just released the Kindle Paperwhite 3 and it packs the same high resolution display as found in the flagship Kindle Voyage. Sometimes specs on paper aren’t everything and already many users are reporting that they like the old model better. Are you going to buy the Paperwhite 3? This is a question we asked our audience and there is a tremendous amount of apathy towards the new device.

Over the course of the last week 231 people responded to our quest to find out what the demand is like for the Paperwhite 3. The vast majority did not find the new Kindle appealing, 117 people said they won’t even consider buying it. 61 people said they are likely going to purchase it, while 45 people are on the fence and are waiting for more reviews to come in.

It seems like in the last few years Amazon releases a new device every year and most people are not upgrading to the latest and greatest. I know plenty of people who use four and five year old e-readers and are quite happy using them.