Another high-profile app has hit Windows Store and here is a look at it. Many may prefer Amazon and Kindle but ever since I owned a Nook Color I had an attraction to Barnes and Noble. Besides I visit the bookstore from time to time and you can’t do that with Amazon. I like to hold a book. Ok I realize you can’t do it with this app either but the option exists. An app like this is ideal for a tablet interface although certainly can have uses on a desktop/laptop as I currently use it.
Despite enjoying Barnes and Noble I haven’t made many purchases via the Android app I currently have nor the now departed Nook Color. What I am able to show you is my existing books, which are mainly Star Wars. Once you login if you have an account you’ll eventually get all that content readily available (its in the process of downloading the magazines above). It is fairly quick and painless to get it going. The right-click is active above and you will always have the options to return Home, go Shop and see your Library.
The Home screen is huge. It scrolls on and on to the right. It begins with large images of your recent magazines and books. A nice little touch is when you mouse by each title they twitch a little back and forth. Next you get recommendations, your current library of books and then library of magazines and finally the shop (which as mentioned you can jump to). The shop is divided into several main sections with easy jumps to those sections and then if you keep scrolling more details of each.
If you wish to read a book in your library or a free sample from the shop you’ll get this window (right-click currently active above). It is readable, but I would actually prefer one column if reading it on my desktop/laptop. The option exists in the Font chooser, but maybe not all books support it. On a tablet you could turn it into portrait mode and get one column I believe.
It has many options for the look of the text (including some with darker colors if you wish to preserve battery on a tablet/laptop). You can bookmark it, pin the book to start for easy access or jump to a specific place in the book. It will remember where you are, no matter which device you are trying to view your book. You will swipe to advance pages or just scroll the mouse. It is fluid in movement though would be nice if it did a page animation to more simulate reading an actual book.
Magazines is one area the app no doubt shines. You can see above how vivid the imagery is above. You “thumb” through a magazine the same way as a book but you get a much more visual way to jump to different sections of the magazine. It will display two pages as one big page in landscape view. A nice touch is the drop down in the upper left which for books just shows chapters, but for the magazine it is a like a live table of contents, showing you mini screenshots of the beginning of each story. Nicely done.
You might be wondering about the text, since it is rather small to read even on my 20 inch screen. Just double-click (on tablet touch gestures will work) and it zooms in making it easily readable. Just drag it around to see everything. It works reasonably well but then it forgets that view when you advance to the next page. I wish it had what the Android app has is an “article view” option so you can read just the story.
I tried a newspaper to see how the view was with it, I tried USA Today. I’m used that being such a vivid newspaper to read, but I found it to be a chore in the Nook app. It had lots of white space and awkward to jump to different areas or advance stories. I just didn’t enjoy it. Perhaps other newspapers are better, but I don’t want to subscribe and no way to see a sample unless you do a trial (which you have to cancel at mynook.com if you don’t want to subscribe – a little tedious). If you find your experience different from what I am showing, please add in the comments below (the screenshot is only the front page, the rest had more text).
I thought I’d try out a comic as well though I normally don’t read them, but it is supposed to be a great experience. The experience is quite good with high quality images very much like the magazines. Navigation is exactly the same as with the magazine view. I have shown the drop-down as mentioned before in magazines for jumping to a certain section. If you want to read comics digitally this is the way to do it, with the Nook app.
Search – results appear quickly and if you currently own any titles that matches your search, they will appear first in the results. The ability to sort the results is available with a right-click (by price, alphabetically, etc). Share – does not seem to do share which is a shame, could at least share what you discovered with others so maybe they can purchase it as well. Settings – just provides info on managing your account. You can do it all within the app, which is a nice bonus.
Believe it or not you can read anything in the one-third snapped view. Of course it is rather squished down and magazines/comics are less readable (though double-click stil zooms in). The three main views Home, Shop and Library don’t work in snapped view. I don’t recommend using it in snapped view but if you want to, be prepared for lots of scrolling.
The tile flips between a few different things, two of which are shown below. I like the stylistic cover view of the large image. The smaller image will have text to show what recently arrived. The NOOK in the lower left though gets hidden as you can see in the larger image view. I think just the big lower case “n” that is used for the logo would be better fitting here with a background so it was visible.
All things said this is a fine app for book lovers. I imagine it really stands out on a tablet. I may have to compare to the Kindle app (I did one during the beta of Windows 8 but haven’t look at it again – that review is gone because it was outdated). I have seen reports of the app crashing and it did twice on me during this review but nothing too disruptive (have had apps crash a lot more). It may have a few shortcomings, but overall this should please those who want to consume their content digitally. I may use it more now that I can find things to read and then it will be also available on my phone and any future devices with a Nook app.
|Category: Books & Reference > E-reader||Download size: 14.4 MB||Age: 16+|
|Publisher: Barnes & Noble|