back to article Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight e-reader review

It’s not hard to imagine how Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch initial design meeting went. Assorted hardware engineers, industrial designers and marketing types assemble to examine Amazon’s Kindle Touch and work out how they can make something better. And they have. On almost all points, the Simple Touch - and the Simple …


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  1. JDX Gold badge

    New kindle has a light too

    It might have been on the Reg I read it, not sure, but Amazon are also bringing a light in the next refresh of the Kindle reader.

    So IF that's the one feature you want, wait for reviews on both would be my advice.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: New kindle has a light too

      Here you go:

  2. Ralph B


    Why make comparisons with (non-illuminated) Kindle Touch when the more obvious competitor is the Kindle Paperwhite?

    Why say that the Kindle reads only DRMed content when it'll happily read DRM-free .mobi files (as well as .txt, .doc, .pdf, etc.)

    Why criticize the Kindle for not being able to read content from, say, Barnes and Noble but not mention that the Nook cannot read content from Amazon?

    Now I'm not saying that the Nook is not a fine eReader device, I'm just wondering why The Reg found it necessary to make so many bogus comparison points? Is this the Register Tariff at work?

    1. Tony Smith, Editor, Reg Hardware (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Odd

      The Paperwhite isn't available in the UK, and wasn't even announced for UK availability when this review was produced.

      Now it has been:

      All e-readers can handle a variety of non-DRM files - Reg readers know this. I think they're more interested in broader DRM'd content compatibility. Ditto most ordinary punters who buy books online, the vast majority of which are DRM'd, alas.

      1. Ramazan

        Re: Odd

        Well, but disadvantages at DRMed material are not equal - I'd say there are far more DRMed books available at Amazon than at B&N and Apple combined (and I suspect B&N reader won't be able to read Apple books either).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Better late than never

    This thing's been out for months, and Amazon are just catching up now, putting a light in their new one.

    I've had an original Nook Touch for some time, and it is great. (Even better after I deleted all the built-in B&N software and put a better e-reader app on it, but).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Better late than never

      So great that you had to jailbreak it and install another OS ? .....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Better late than never

        No, just delete the B&N advertising apps.

        1. Ramazan

          Re: just delete the B&N advertising apps

          With Kindle paperwhite you have an option to get rid of ads legally BTW

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tied into Amazon's ecosystem?

    But fancy swapping to another reader?

    I have heard that its possible to strip the DRM from Amazon purchases - purely for back up purposes of course - and save them in a different ebook format.

    Something to do with Calibre and plugins or summit - all over my head anyway and I'm sure it violates pages and pages of the EULA that you sign up to unwittingly each time you buy an ebook....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tied into Amazon's ecosystem?

      Obviously is over your head as Calibre will not allow drm breaking plugins to work with their software and go to great lengths to maintain this stance ;)

      Of course there are plenty of DRM breaking apps out there for you to use before you get close to Cailbre

      1. Jason Bassford

        Re: Tied into Amazon's ecosystem?

        "Obviously is over your head as Calibre will not allow drm breaking plugins to work with their software and go to great lengths to maintain this stance ;)"

        I think you'll find that's not true - it only takes a little Google search to easily come up with plugins of this nature that work with Calibre. Now, Calibre may not support them - but that's something different than saying working plugins don't exist. Now, I'm not sure about Amazon's DRM specifically - but I believe you can find those too if you look around enough, and aren't too concerned with officers of the law knocking on your door.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But how does it compare to the Paperwhite? they are the same price.

  6. Danny 14

    SD card & light with side buttons? sold. I had been sat on a fence regarding a dedicated ebook reader. I have been happy enough with my phone but longed for something bigger to read on. This looks like an ideal christmas pressie for me.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      I don't really see the point of an SD card for an e-reader, when even 2Gb will hold a crazy number of books. Of course I get free 3g connectivity with mine to swap books held on the device, but even without that popping into Starbucks and using their WiFi when you read the 100 books you're limited to isn't a big bind.

      On a phone/tablet, maybe. On an e-reader, meh.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Dapprman

          Re: It's not even just that 2gig holds a ludicrous number of books


          I wonder if that's why Amazon dropped the SD card slot when they brought out the Kindle2

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. Danny 14

              Re: It's not even just that 2gig holds a ludicrous number of books

              It isnt for the storage it is to move things around. I want to move from PC to "device" without faffing about too much. I do it with my phone and with other devices. Sure other people have their ways but for me I prefer to move things on cards. Same for backing the stuff up too.

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. JDX Gold badge

                Re: It's not even just that 2gig holds a ludicrous number of books

                >>I want to move from PC to "device" without faffing about too much.

                Me too. There is no faff. I click on the book I want to read on any device and it downloads in seconds if it's not already there, and opens to the page I was at on whichever device I was reading it on last.

                I have Kindle on my Kindle, my iPad and my Windows Phone. All work great (apart from my phone is the low-end Lumia 610 which can be a bit slow).

        2. handle


          "...a Sony, and for a while I did what a lot of people do - add an SD card..."

          My, how the world has changed!

  7. DrXym Silver badge

    "Press harder"

    "Now, I'm not a fan of touch-screen e-book readers. They add weight to an e-book reader and increase its thickness. They’re less responsive than phone or tablet capacitive sensors, and I feel constantly made aware not only of the need to press harder to trigger a scroll,"

    I thought most touch devices used an IR beam. I know the Sony Reader does. Technically you don't need to touch the screen at all, just break the beam.

    1. johnnytruant

      Re: "Press harder"

      The screen on my Sony is so sensitive that on more than one occasion a large particle of dust or falling feather from the duvet has triggered a dictionary lookup on the word it's landed on.

      I can't speak for other devices, but on mine you definitely don't need to worry about whether you've pressed hard enough.

    2. John Bailey

      Re: "Press harder"

      Not sure about all. I think a few of this year's models use capacitive touch.

      My Kobo uses the beam method too, and it does work quite well. There is a knack to getting some buttons to work though, but after a while, it becomes unnoticeable.

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Preacher

    Rounded Corners

    Is that a certain fruit company's lawyers I hear knocking ?

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Something not mentioned...

    How does this thing respond when it's got a few hundred books on it? From personal experience the Sony and Kobo readers tend to get very sluggish, particularly in returning to the home page or returning to operation after charging/loading - though they're fine once you're actually reading and you're just page turning/sleeping-waking - and I hear horrible things about the Kindle in similar circumstances.

    1. Mystic Megabyte

      Re: Something not mentioned...

      Are you married to Janet Noble-Nook?

    2. Laurie

      Re: Something not mentioned...

      I've got nearly 300 books on my Kindle touch, some of them heavy-duty tech manuals stuffed with images (only really readable on Kindle app for PC).

      I've not noticed any performance degradation flitting between the home screen and the text. It's possible that this is because I've split my library down into collections so the screen has less to sort through and display though.

      I'd be interested to know under what circumstances the Kindle's performance degrades so that I can avoid them. Anyone got any examples?

  11. Glostermeteor

    I'm afraid I'm already locked into Amazon's empire, so I won't be jumping ship. For now it's fine, because Amazon tends to price books cheaper than everyone else anyway. The sweet spot will come when they come up with a tablet that can go into 'e-ink mode', where you can have your Amazon app and Barnes and Noble app running side by side, but still have the visual advantages of an e-ink screen over a bright tablet one.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      I was thinking about a dual-mode screen too. I wonder if that's realistically feasible though.

  12. Martin

    It's so uuuuugly....

    Picked it up in Comet yesterday. That HUGE bezel around the edge is awful - it just makes the whole thing look too fat and wide.

    Technically, it's fine, I guess. But I'll never buy one. I love my Kobo Touch, and I don't often read in the dark.

    Must say, though, I like the look of the new Kindle Paperwhite...

  13. thomas k.
    Thumb Up

    Love mine

    I've had a Nook Simple Touch for about a year and I just love it; it really reawakened the pleasure of reading for me. I have about 100 free books from Gutenberg but am about to make make my first actual purchases - the 2nd Forsyte trilogy, sadly not available on Gutenberg. :( (The 3rd not available on either - have to dig out my hardback copy, I guess.)

  14. h3

    What are the options for something similar to this and the Kindle Paperwhite without a Touchscreen ?

  15. Camilla Smythe

    +£30 for six LEDs???!


    1. handle

      Re: +£30 for six LEDs???!

      Probably also a larger battery. But I thought that everyone knew that the relative costs of different models of a device bear little resemblance to their relative BoMs.

  16. Mark Pawelek

    Amazon == stone-age technology

    There's one crucial thing you missed from this review. I have a kobo touch. The kobo touch has no way to follow a hyperlink. For instance, if I want to follow a reference or an indexed word I can't.

    Is it possible to follow hyperlink with the Nook?

    PS: I like the Amazon reader hardware. Shame it can't handle epub. mobi and amazon format books use html 3.2, which hails from 20 years back; no useful css.

    1. Paul B

      Re: Amazon == stone-age technology

      That is pretty odd, my Kobo touch follows hyperlinks fine, sideloaded ones anyway. Have you updated your firmware to version 2.x?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Side-lit screens. Welcome to the 90s.

    1. handle

      Re: Ew

      You obviously haven't noticed that your phone uses the same technology, and it's just emerging as the latest thing in LCD TVs.

  18. bep

    Only one competitor?

    I suppose it makes for an easy review when you only compare the product to one other, but really, there's quite a lot of other e-book readers (Sony, Kobo etc.) and the review would be more uuseful if it provided more comparisons.

  19. DF118

    I'm not a fan of touch-screen e-book readers. They add weight to an e-book reader and increase its thickness. They’re less responsive than phone or tablet capacitive sensors, and I feel constantly made aware not only of the need to press harder to trigger a scroll, a button press or a page turn, but notice the lag between the tap and the action.

    Couldn't disagree more. The need to press harder is a red herring - 99.9% of all touch actions on an eBook is swiping to turn the page and a simple brush of the screen accomplishes that perfectly. Agreed they're less responsive, but there is zero need for fine control and the OS buttons etc. are adapted in size to match the comparative lack of responsiveness anyway. Sure there's lag, but there's lag when using hardware buttons on an eBook. It's nothing to do with the touchscreen and everything to do with the display.

    I've owned a few e-readers and the touch screen I currently have is by far my favourite.

  20. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Why buy one?

    "If you’re an Amazon customer already, there’s no reason not to buy one, unless you really feel the need to be able to buy e-books from multiple vendors."

    Am I the only person who uses their mobile to read e-books?

    If you find the text size too small (I don't), then you can increase the text size. OK, so you have fewer words on a page and have to change page more often, but that's not so bad on a phone display...

    The display updates faster, much faster than an e-ink display and you don't have the whole page display purge every 8 pages or so. The resolution of a phone is easily high enough on most models to not be so bad on the eye and the greater colour range and graduation between shades means anti-aliasing becomes more effective. Being able to change colours is nice as well, as white on black or vice-versa can be hard on the eye. Where e-ink really wins though is the low power usage and daylight readability, but does fail a bit in the dark requiring additional lighting, but this isn't a particularly serious engineering challenge and even for devices without it, you can get case with lights embedded in them.

    Only one device to carry around - this is one of the biggest advantages there is. I don't carry around a separate MP3 player either, so why carry around a separate e-book reader? Most comical site I've seen, all too often, is somebody playing music on an iPod, reading a kindle and then pulling out their mobile to check text messages occasionally.

    Choice of multiple stores and reading apps - want Kindle, B&N or other e-book readers (such as the quite handy fbreader) all on one device? no problem.

    In my mind, the outstanding battery life of e-ink readers and their daylight readability are the only positive points - and both are either not an issue or can be worked around using mobile phones as e-book readers.

  21. h3

    It is not relaxing reading on an lcd screen. (Its ok for technical docs etc on a tablet).

    But useless for e.g reading part of a novel before you go to bed.

    Only way I like the idea of multifunctional devices is if they are superior in every way to what they replace.

    (Smartphones are terrible to use for making calls).

    The Organiser type functionality is dumbed down too much even compared to the best old Palm OS stuff.

    I don't know of any phones that sound as nice as the sansdisk sensa clips for playing music.

    Smartphones are masters of nothing. (a DS or PSP has better games.) not even their own primary function (Making calls and not running out of battery when you really need to make a call).

    They are pretty good at being a sat nav. (Being more conveniently shaped than ones designed to be used in a car and having 3G access makes some stuff better).

    If I had to only have one portable device it would be my e-ink Kindle.

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