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Not much love for Barnes & Noble Nook

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The Nook – the new e-reader from Barnes & Noble – seems to be drawing mostly negative reviews from the press. The experts have finally gotten their hands on the device and the consensus among the media technorati seems to be: too little, too soon.

The device promises a lot. While retailing at the same price as Amazon's Kindle ($259), it boasts some advantages over its rival: a color touch screen, a larger library of books available, Wi-Fi, and (perhaps the most interesting) the ability to loan books.

However, say the critics, the Nook simply doesn't deliver well enough on any of these points. (Except, perhaps, the WiFi.)

The color touch screen, writes David Pogue in the New York Times, "is actually just a horizontal strip beneath the regular Kindle-style gray screen." Too often, he says, "the color strip feels completely, awkwardly disconnected from what it’s supposed to control on the big screen above." Worse, he finds the screen to be "balky and nonresponsive."

Reviewing the Nook for USA Today, Edward C. Baig (who overall finds the device to be "unfinished and sluggish") notes although Barnes & Noble advertises that "a million titles are available for the Nook compared with more than 390,000 in the Kindle Store," the comparison is "somewhat misleading, because Barnes & Noble includes a boatload of free public domain books, most from Google."

And as for loaning books to your friends, Pogue says that the feature comes with a number of "buzz kill footnotes."

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