Geekalicious Recommends... Barnes & Noble Nook HD

Geekalicious Recommends
Recently I have been having a play with the Barnes and Noble Nook HD.  The Nook is brand new to the UK and bridges the gap between an e-reader and a tablet but with full-colour 7-inch HD screen, leaning heavily on the fact that it is an idea unit for reading magazines and newspapers on.

But it's so much more than that.

The Nook HD is a very tactile tablet.  It's light - about the same size and weight as a standard sized paperback book - with numerous features.  Straight out of the box you find that it has a plastic screen surround, a rubber-feel backing with two speakers built in and boot-up from complete shut-down takes around 68 seconds.  The screen resolution is gobsmackingly sharp! 

The main feature of the Nook HD is that it allows numerous profiles so it immediately feels like a family-friendly unit.  There's also no risk of any of the kids buying anything from the Barnes & Noble shop as the children's profiles only have access to their own personal library and pre-downloaded apps.

First things first

Your Nook profile opens up at your home screen where you can create shortcuts to your favourite books, magazines and apps and there are permanent links to your Nook library of books, your downloaded apps, a web browser, email and the Barnes & Noble shop.

The Barnes & Noble Shop

Barnes & Noble have a huge online catalogue of books, apps and subscriptions tailored to the UK market and this is still in development however the quality of the downloads is second to none!  I have found that some of the books seem quite expensive when compared to pricing on Amazon (one example was a new release - £20.87 on Barnes & Noble, £6.29 on Amazon) however many of the best sellers are almost the same price - just a few pence difference. I hope that Barnes & Noble address this pricing issue for digital downloads because I feel that users will simply migrate back to Kindle for their book reading.  On the positive side, I have found that the interactive children's books are really engaging with fantastic graphics, unique inclusive options such as a "read and record" feature and many touchscreen surprises.

When a purchase is made from the shop you can assign it to as many profiles as you like.  This ensures that  individual profile material is age-appropriate and parents can assign child-friendly apps and books direct to an individual child's profile.  This in itself is an ingenious feature simply because it means that adults don't have to scroll through a child's 'recently used' selection and that children of different ages can have books and games appropriate to their age.  I can create a user-specific profile for the grandchildren (both under the age of 5) and one for my teenager (aged 13).

Newspaper and magazine subscriptions

As previously mentioned, I feel that Barnes & Noble are focusing heavily on their newspaper and magazine subscription feature and once you see the quality of the downloads you can see why.  The subscriptions are a similar price to paper and digital version but the interactivity feels like you are getting so much more for your money.  It is easier to demonstrate this and here I show you how a magazine download looks and  how you can 'tear out' a page from a magazine to keep - something that I always do with paper magazines and I constantly feel was missing from digital downloads.  Please excuse the shaky camera work...

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Operating system and apps

The operating system that Barnes & Noble are using is Android based.  The browser is super quick and email is easily incorporated.  And because I have chosen to link my own Google account I can also access my Google calender and other Google features.   They have also taken many of their apps from the Google Play store but whilst you have to use what is provided, be assured that they are the best of the best.  It's reassuring that Barnes & Noble have done this research because, as a dedicated android user, finding the official or best apps in the Google Play store can be a bit of a minefield at times. My new discovery is the Flipboard app.  It has collated my social media channels, Google Reader, news, and photography favourites and presented them in one handy feature.  Find it and use it.

Edited to add:  With effect from 3rd May 2013, the Google Play store has been integrated into the software for the Nook HD and the Nook HD+. 

Television and film

In the Barnes & Noble store you can also download film and television features.  Watching films on a tablet is not something that I had experienced before but, as you can see here, the HD screen ensures that you enjoy a clear, crisp viewing.  


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Conclusion

I feel that the Barnes & Noble Nook HD is a fantastic bridge between an e-reader and a tablet.  I have been using an Android tablet for over six months now and I haven't picked it up since using the Nook HD.  Any social media channels that are missing from the app market (namely Facebook and Google Plus at the time of this review) can be accessed via the browser and even over the few days that I have been using the Nook HD I have seen new features added, new additions to the libraries and shop and I am constantly finding new ways to interact with the downloads.  

On a personal level I think I'll still use my Kindle for reading books as the special offers and freebies are much more wide ranging (edit: using the Kindle app from the Google Play store bridges this gap now).  If the Barnes & Noble shop catches up with this, I may migrate completely.  I'm enjoying the magazine/newspaper experience and the speed of the apps and browser doesn't need to be any faster for personal use.

Edited to add:  As mentioned above, the integration of the Google Play store is a very clever move.  I believe that Barnes & Noble may lose out on some book and app sales but this will generate more Nook  HD unit sales because this has just made it the best Android tablet on the market in 2013.

For more information, stockists and prices visit http://uk.nook.com/

This Nook HD and access to the Barnes & Noble shop was provided for the purpose of this review.  
Please see my disclosure policy for more details.

Social Petworking

Geekalicious Guest Post
Occasionally a daft idea transposes into a great business opportunity.  A while back I was being amused by the updates on Text From Dog and now some previously unseen text conversations have been pulled together into a book.  At one time my old dog had a Twitter account but the pressure to be funny or original, when you're up against humorous updates from Text From Dog is just too much so now I prefer to take cute pictures of my new puppy and upload them to Instagram instead.  

Does your pet have a social media account?  According to the research completed by SPANA - the international animal welfare charity - 1 in 10 pets have a social media profile and they have pulled this infographic together to show you the best of the best!


Social Petworking Stars

How To Generate Sales By Offering Freebies

As a keen reader I often scout Amazon for free downloads for my Kindle.  These offers give me the chance to discover new authors which very probably leads to the purchase of their other titles.  Confirming this in a blog post last week was book editors Bubblecow with their post, The Secret of Giving Your Book Away For Free which concludes that by offering a well-written book for free generates good reviews which translate into future sales.  I believe this is a method that can work across many business models. After all, how many times do we purchase something because of a seemingly tantalising special offer?

By coincidence, an author friend of mine was planning to offer one of her erotica books for free as an experimental promotion.  The book would be available for free for 48 hours only - the 5th and 6th of December 2012.  Here is Indigo Moore's experience.


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Geekalicious Guest PostI had no idea whether offering a free title on Kindle would work as a promotional tool - after all, people are always tempted by a freebie, regardless of whether the item is something that they really want. So I didn't hold out much hope of it translating into a realistic amount of publicity.

I didn't help myself by forgetting to prime any of the promotional websites - those pages that advertise upcoming Kindle freebies. Real life got in the way and it was only when I received a rather disappointed-sounding email from my publisher bemoaning the lack of downloads at the beginning  of the free period that I realised what I (hadn't) done. I did then send a slightly panicky message to the managers of the Free Digital Reads website and they very kindly put my details out at short notice, but that was the only third party promotional site that I used.

I decided that the best method at this point would be use the contacts I've got on Twitter and Facebook. I posted a link for the promo on my personal accounts as well as the Indigo Moore ones, asking people to share wherever they felt possible (erotica not necessarily being as 'shareable' as, say, children's books).

A quick note on promotion vs. anonymity seems relevant here. Although I write erotica under a pseudonym, I have never gone out of my way to hide that it's actually 'me' under the pen name. This makes it much easier for me to push my own stories, as I can use my personal Facebook and Twitter accounts as well as my author ones. I can also bribe / bully / cajole my friends and online acquaintances to share my commercial links through their own networks.
If I was writing anonymously I think it would have been much harder, as it immediately cuts out many of the potential media outlets.

Given my rather slapdash methods, I wasn't expecting great results. However…

My story hit the #1 spot on the UK free erotica charts within 24 hours. By the end of the free period it was at #9 in the States.  Amazingly, it also got to #28 across all free Kindle categories in the UK. There are currently 43,138 free titles on that list, which makes my final placing pretty goddamn awesome by anyone's standards.

But still, I did wonder whether it would have any impact on 'actual' sales, or whether it'd turn out to be a flash in the pan (albeit one which now permits me to say 'I made number one once, you know' to anyone who'll listen).

It's only a day after the promotion closed, so possibly too soon to tell really. But the other five (paid) titles that I currently have available on Amazon all took a jump up the charts in the 24 hours after the promo closed and social interactions (via Twitter, Facebook and my website) have increased noticeably. I've had enthusiastic comments (and promises of telling friends about me) from people I've never met, both here and in the States.

And publicity is the crux of the matter - the absolute fuel to a writer's commercial survival. Readers are much more likely to take a punt on one of your paid titles if they're already familiar with your work and confident that they'll like it. Content is everything - the more work you put out there, the more likely people are to find you. I had six titles available before we decided to run a free promotion - much less than that and it wouldn't be worth doing, as I wouldn't have enough in my catalogue for people to buy even if they wanted to.

At the end of the period my story had been downloaded over two and a half thousand times

Maybe I was lucky, maybe people genuinely like my writing, or maybe I just know a lot of brilliantly active people on social media - either way, it's been a very positive experience.



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If you want to find out more about Indigo Moore you can delve into these links:


Websitehttp://indigomoore.com
Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/indigorosemoore
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/IndigoRoseMoore
Amazonhttp://tinyurl.com/indigomooreamazon








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