The New Nook Glowlight, With Cat for Scale

Yes, it is a tiny little thing, isn’t it. Although in point of fact it has the same screen real estate as my first-gen Nook; what it’s missing is the bottom third, which included the little LCD screen. It’s also (and not surprisingly) substantially thinner and lighter the first-gen Nook, which was not especially hefty to begin with. It’s something like six ounces, which means it probably weighs less than the paperback version of The Human Division. That’s a little weird.

I’ve had the thing for less than a day so I don’t want to post an in-depth review, but I will say that so far it’s been pretty lovely. It does what it’s supposed to (i.e., allow you to read electronic books without much eyestrain), the screen is crisp and clear, and the built-in light works as advertised. The thing doesn’t have as many features as the first-gen Nook; you can’t cruise the Web, for example. But inasmuch as cruising the Web on an e-ink reader was a distinctly subpar experience that I did exactly once, I cant say I will miss it much. For reading books, the new Nook is exactly as advertised.

44 Comments on “The New Nook Glowlight, With Cat for Scale”

  1. I have a Kindle myself, but I find e-ink readers make a fantastic replacement for paperbacks. Easily portable, and with my eyes easier to read because there’s no gutter and you can bump up the font.


  2. Out of curiousity, does anyone know how well the Nook Glowlight handles manga? I ask because Viz has a fair amount of manga on the Nook store, and I’d be interested in seeing how well (or how poorly) it works on the Glowlight.

  3. I love my Kobo Mini, but if I had to do it all over again, I would like the “glow” feature for in bed / on plane, not bothering other people purposes. I wish you many, many happy virtual page turns.

  4. Perhaps a smaller cat would have been better here. The Mighty LSC dwarfs most things smaller than an elk.

  5. 5 inches wide. I could “fit” that into the 4.5″ pockets of my pocket T’s. Easy fit for a back pants pocket but hell no.
    @ Alexander It would handle an epub or pdf manga as well as any 758 x 1024 black and white display would.

  6. Alexander Case:

    I haven’t tried it with Manga. I will say I find my seven inch tablet a little small for comics/graphic novels, so I suspect this might be as well.

  7. I purchased my wife one for Christmas and she enjoys it. I am still on the first gen model as well but expect that I may have to upgrade soon. Enjoy!

  8. For me the Kindle paperwhite was the best buy ever (for reading related gadgets.) I spend around three months each year in a small village in the Czech republic but until I finally buy a place there I have to travel light: so I only carry my iPad and ereader. When travelling in buses and trains the backlight is a gift from the Gods and being able to buy & download books from the thin air is something you really learn to appreciate when the first half-decent bookstore is more than 70 kilometers (45 miles or so, I think) away.

    Plus, there’s something about reading in bed with only the light from your ereader that I really enjoy…

  9. No opinion: I’m in Lent-mode. I am here veiwing a half-lazy, winter-furred cat sitting on an Indian blanket, all under a cool sun glow … it makes me sleepy. (Can’t say it’s a beautiful pic: that would be an opinion.)

  10. I really love mine as well. I had the Simple touch with Glowlight, which was a good device as well, but this newer one has twice the memory, and since I have a rather large Nook library the larger storage comes in handy.

  11. Greetings, O Mighty Lopsided Cat!
    How difficult was it to move your old books over to the new Nook? I have one of the original generation Kindles, and am dreading the time when it eventually poops out and I must buy a new one and perform the alarums and excursions of transferring said files.

  12. @Alexander Case:

    This is based on using a Kindle a few years ago… But e-ink displays are relatively low DPI black and white displays. Fine for woodcuts and dithered images specifically made for their displays.

    The big issue comes with having comics that were masked/dithered for print at higher DPI, that are then re-dithered for a lower DPI. You can get ugly moire affects. And of course, most comics are published in colour now, which does not translate well at all.

    I found that comics really work better on LCD displays with higher DPI, and more gradual shading than e-ink can use.

  13. John, you may have said before, but what made you go for the Nook over the Kindle? I don’t own an e-reader, but I have borrowed an old Kindle keyboard (Gen-4 I think) and it seems to me that compared to a Nook, it is a much cheaper made device…the Nooks just seem like they are made outta a little bit more durable materials and to me felt better in the hands. Did you ever consider going for the newer Kindle Paperwhite or did you just decide to stay on the Nook since you already had a Gen-1?

    I have really wanted a Paperwhite for some time, although I have never used one before. I would image Kindle wins out a lot of times simply because Amazon backs it versus B&N with the Nook. I imagine if you live in close proximity to a B&N, maybe the Nook starts to look more attractive.

  14. Having an old fogie moment… I dont like ereaders. They dont feel right. Im younger than john too. Ill get one when they make one with a look and feel of a regular book.

    John makes me feel old with all his fancy gadgets. Im in IT too…. Lol.

  15. Mad Librarian,

    It is doable but quite a chore. All of your titles appear in your New Nooks library, the most recent five download, and the others have a download button appear on the bottom of the cover image. However your shelves do not transfer, so you have to rebuild them. I have a Kindle Paperwhite as well. The library screen shows books on the device and can switch over to books on you cloud. I suspect, but do not know as I haven’t done it yet, that you then need to download the ones you want from the cloud screen. I also suspect that the Kindles shelves, called collections, will not tranfer since they are only on the Kindle and not in the cloud.

  16. Richard Norton: Did you give up opinions for Lent?

    The Mad Librarian: I Googled “transferring files from old to new kindle” and got a ton of useful links. Based on moving files around in general, I would expect it to be time-consuming but not particularly onerous, but I haven’t actually done it.

  17. Have a Paperwrite, which I received over the holidays. Love it, especially being able to read in bed with no lights on and then just switch off the Kindle and go to sleep. I so love the future.

  18. @Jay Blanc: Well, most manga is published in black and white, so color isn’t too much of an issue.

    @John Scalzi: On a whim, I measured my copy of Ruroni Kenshin vol. 2, and that’s 5″ by 7.5″. So, it looks like there’d be some compression on the Nook’s screen (though not as much as with a Western graphic novel), though I’m not sure how much that would affect the readability of text or how well the action looks.

    If I was to use one manga series as a way to judge how well manga looks on the Nook, Kenshin might be a good one to go with. So, if someone has the Glowlight (or knows a guy who has a Glowlight, or whatever) and wants to check this out for those who are interested and share your findings, I would be appreciative.

  19. At first, I misread the headline as reading “…with cat for sale,” and was curious as to the asking price. ;-)

  20. @Alexander Case

    The black and white actually introduces it’s own problems, because screening to make grey shades is done as lots of tiny dots to a dots-per-inch level for print. But the DPI is different on the e-ink display, so you’ll get an image that has had dithering re-applied to an image already dithered. And that introduces moire-paterns into what are supposed to appear as solid or gradient blocks of shading.

  21. I have the exact same reader. I love mine. I am one of those who still reads paper books. But, I also believe in the future of e-Readers. I like their functionality, and I think they are good for what they do. Versus Tablets or Laptops or PCs which are made for a totally different purpose.

  22. If B & N goes out of business, do your books disappear into the ether or stay on the Nook?

  23. I love my 7″ Nook HD as an e-reader and while that’s small for a tablet it still works for me to browse the web and view documents.

  24. I’m really glad that they are still making e-readers that are just e-readers and don’t surf the web. I prefer for my kids not to take web-enabled devices to bed with them, and my son’s scout troop doesn’t allow web-enabled devices on camping trips — but e-readers are great for both purposes.

  25. I have a Kindle and I love it for reading in bed. I used to be terrible about falling asleep with the light on, now I get into bed, turn on the Kindle, shut off the light and when I fall asleep and swiping activity ceases, the Kindle shuts itself off. Yay!!

  26. @The Next To Last Samurai: We hope that B&N stays in business or that the Nook business would get sold to someone who continues to support the customers’ libraries, but if not, it is possible to download ones books from B&N and sideload them. Unfortunately B&N has chosen to partition the Nook so that most of its memory is only available for directly downloaded content, and only 25% of the memory is available for sideloaded content. I will note that Sony’s US and Canadian customers were recently informed that the Sony ebook store is shutting down and all of our purchased libraries will now be available from Kobo.

  27. The Next to Last Samurai writes:

    If B & N goes out of business, do your books disappear into the ether or stay on the Nook?

    That depends on just how they go out of business.

    If B&N’s system were to just evaporate in a puff of smoke overnight, the books that reside on the device would still be there, but any of your books that you removed from the device, or had purchased but not yet downloaded would evaporate. You can operate a Nook with WiFi turned off, the Nook wouldn’t even notice B&N was gone until you turned on the WiFi and buy a book. If you back up your device to a computer and remove the DRM, you ought to be able to move the files to a new device. To move them to a Kindle you would need to convert them from .epub to the Kindle format.

    If B&N is bought out, you might be able to acquire the files from the new owner.

    I had several Fictionwise books on my old Treo phone, which died and had to be replaced. I knew that I had the files for the books on my computer. Fictionwise had encrypted them using my credit card number as the key, and since I wasn’t sure which of my old cards had been used, I had decided that I didn’t care that much since I was unlikely to reread them.

    B&N bought Fictionwise. Soon after, nearly all of the lost books turned up in my B&N account. I still haven’t downloaded most of them, since I don’t plan to reread them. There are a couple that I haven’t read.

  28. Thanks, Mike and Bruce.

    I bought a Kindle Paperwhite to free up shelf space and am very happy with it. In the unlikely event I buy another gadget (we are not really a gadget family) I’d probably buy the Kindle Fire. Amazon probably isn’t going anywhere (whether this is good or bad is debatable).

    Did anyone see the news about Amazon planning to deliver with drones? I can’t quite see that working in the U.S. I can see the citizens of East Bugscuffle playing Name That Target (“I can shoot down that drone at 400 yards!”. “Well, I can shoot down that one over there at 500 yards!”

  29. Mad Librarian,

    Moving libraries from Kindle to Kindle is SUPER easy. Plug old Kindle in to your PC. Open it up. Drag and drop the books folder onto your desktop. Plug new Kindle in to your PC. Drag and drp the books folder onto new Kindle. Done. If you had two free USB ports you could do it direct.

    I did it from my Kindle Touch to the 1st Gen Paperwhite, and then again from the 1st gen to the second.

  30. I’ve been through three eInk devices now, first a Sony 505, then a Nook STR, I toyed with using an Android tablet as a reader for a while, and now I use a Kindle Paperwhite. I bought the Paperwhite the moment I saw it in person. The lighting on it is absolutely superb. I hope the new Nook light is as good.

    My Kindle Paperwhite is absolutely my favorite device. It’s the one thing that if I broke it I would immediately replace it with exactly the same thing without hesitation. It’s possible the Nook glowlight is as good, I just haven’t seen one.

    The nice thing these days is that with Calibre, readers really are just commodities – you are not locked into a given vendor. When some other company comes out with a reader that is better than the one you have, you can buy it and not worry about not being able to read your content. If some other content provider offers a title that the vendor of your device does not, or at a better price, you can use the other provider.

    So even though I had a bunch of purchased media from B&N, I bought the Kindle and just continued on. If some other company comes out with a better reader this year, I’ll buy that and not lose a thing.

  31. @Bruce: “Unfortunately B&N has chosen to partition the Nook so that most of its memory is only available for directly downloaded content, and only 25% of the memory is available for sideloaded content.

    Well, just to be clear, that’s for the internal storage. Since you can purchase and insert an SD card, you can have massive amounts off free space for sideloaded content. Given how tiny ebooks and epub files are, you really don’t need that much space. I primarily use my extra 8GB space from my card for storing movies from Ultraviolet for viewing offline.

  32. I’ve got two twenty pound plus Maine Coons. I should pose them next to my iPad.

    I debated for months which reader to get and ended up with an iPad. I wanted something I could surf the web on as well, would hold my usual gargantuan amount of music, play some games on, hold all my ebooks and comics, and coordinate with my iPhone.

    The iPad is heavy but no more so than a GRRM doorstop and I’ve read in bed with all of those. I did find that my middle-aged eyes did not work well with comics and graphic novels. The dialog balloons are too small and making the panels bigger destroys the effect of reading the entire page. And FSM forbid that I hit one of those two page spreads with dozens of tiny balloons or narration. Those are impossible. So I’m back to reading those on the desktop or laptop.

    The biggest problem with the iPad (or the iPhone) is I have to set up, delete, etc on iTunes on my PC. iTunes on a PC is a bloated, unwieldy, and poorly designed steaming pile of dung. I really hate iTunes.

  33. John Ridley – according to the reviews I’ve read, the Paperwhite spanks the competition for the screen lighting; most even and whitest.

    Re Calibre – I’ve found that some transformations are easier than others. Kindle books are trivial to de-DRM; I never got Kobo ones to work properly at all.

    Jeroljohnson – I have an iPad, but I won’t get another. If I need another tab, it will probably be a Samsung Galaxy or a Google Nexus.

  34. John Ridley writes:

    The nice thing these days is that with Calibre, readers really are just commodities – you are not locked into a given vendor. When some other company comes out with a reader that is better than the one you have, you can buy it and not worry about not being able to read your content. If some other content provider offers a title that the vendor of your device does not, or at a better price, you can use the other provider.

    I was advising people to avoid Kindle Fire or Nook Tablets now that 7″ Android tablets are pretty affordable; one can just run the Android App for Nook or Kindle on the tablet. Then I replaced my Nook Tablet with a Nook HD. The reason that I ignored my own advice is that B&N rolled out a software upgrade for Nook HD. Now it can not only run Nook apps, it can also run generic apps from the Google Play Store. I am able to run the Android Kindle reader app on my Nook. This is supported by B&N; no jail breaking or side loading was required.

    I haven’t tried Kobo or Google Books yet, but I expect it to work. That only leaves out iBooks, and I don’t think I care very much.

  35. So is this a picture of a small cat with a very big device or a picture of a big cat with a very small device? I’m confused.

  36. Mike: LCD devices simply need not apply as serious reader devices IMO. I used a 7″ tablet for about 6 months a while back, and I’ve poked at a few others, some 10″, etc. Nothing compares to eInk for reading comfort.

    I sold my tablet because apart from reading, I can do everything else that I want to do on a mobile device on my phone, and reading is important enough to me that I want the BEST device I can get for doing it, and that right now, IMO, is a Kindle Paperwhite.

    A phone is actually a far better platform for non-reading apps for me because I can keep it in my pocket at all times. I actually opted for a SMALLER phone on my last upgrade – moving from a 4.9 to a 4.2 inch screen, and I’m pleased with the change. If I was still trying to read on an LCD device I would no doubt have a device that was larger than I really wanted for most everything, and was a compromise for reading.

  37. I have the same device. I do miss physical buttons and an SD card but if I don’t have day to day problems with there not being an SD card, most people won’t find it an issue, since according to Nook customer support (who I have occasion to talk to from time to time) I have an unusually large library.

    I started with eBooks on various generations of Palms and had something like 900 books at Fictionwise and 600 at by the time they shut down, and I’d been buying B&N ebooks for a first gen Nook by then. I had always kept backups and the keyinformation (I put the key information in the directory name). About 80 ebooks they didn’t have the rights to transfer, but I had the PDB files and the key info and converted them in Calibre.

    With the newest Nook, I simply turned on the device. signed in, waited an hour and everything (except those 80) that I’d purchased from B&N, Fictionwise, or ereader was available if I was somewhere with wi-fi. I did do some shelf reconstruction and some archiving.

    Books purchased elsewhere are tagged in Calibre – I have about 300 that normally live on the device.

    My library will no longer load on a first gen. I also use the Nook app on 2 tablets (7 in & 10in) and my Samsung 3 phone, but eink is really the best for straight reading.

    As far as Barnes & Noble going poof? I download new stuff and strip DRM for backup purposes about once a month and have additional backups of that.

  38. How do we know that is the actual size of the cat? they have been know to disguise their size. they have properties of liquids being that they are capable of expanding to fill the size of a container

  39. @John Ridley

    I sold my tablet because apart from reading, I can do everything else that I want to do on a mobile device on my phone, and reading is important enough to me that I want the BEST device I can get for doing it, and that right now, IMO, is a Kindle Paperwhite.

    Perhaps, now that the e-ink devices are lit; they are best for book reading. I’ve never owned one; perhaps I am missing something in reading comfort. I am missing something in battery life. Amazon promotes them as being great for reading in sunlight, but I find that I rarely am interested in doing that. On the other hand, I frequently read in the dark.

    I do use my tablet for other stuff, so I’m not as dedicated to optimizing for reading. I also use my phone for a fair amount, and I’m likely to go with a bigger screen on my next phone. I sometimes use it as a pocket-sized backup for my reader, but I have big pockets.

  40. I have the previous version: “Nook Simple Touch Reader with GlowLight”. It’s a fantastic device, and still the only e-Ink reader with both lights and physical page-turn buttons. When they were on sale to clear stock before this new one arrived, I got a spare one, because everything is going touch-screen.

    I walk to work; I like reading while walking. In Winter, it’s dark and cold, so I need a lit device that I can read with gloves on. That means the particular Nook that I have. Good job it’s a good device.