Nook Delays: Why Barnes & Noble hates its customers

features_einkv4Back in October, when Barnes & Noble finally took the wraps off its Nook E-Reader, I expected to see David Pogue, Walter Mossberg and the whole rest of Gadget World publish their reviews within a few days. After all, Barnes & Noble was happily taking customer orders (and customer money) on their web site. At that point almost no one had seen the Nook except at the press conference. Barnes & Noble was promising early orders would be in customers’ hands within a month and working models would be in stores soon.

But then nothing happened. There were no reviews. There were no working models in stores. There were no units delivered to customers. October turned to November. November turned to December. And only now, fully seven weeks since the Nook was introduced and no doubt after tens or even hundreds of thousands of pre-orders, has Barnes & Noble put working Nooks in its stores and, more importantly, handed out review copies.

And the reviews are pretty savage. Here’s just a smattering:

Overall, after testing the Nook for about a week, I don’t think it’s as good as the Kindle, at least not yet. At launch, the Nook has the feel of a product with great potential that was rushed to market before it was fully ready. –Walter Mossberg

Those missing features are symptoms of B&N’s bad case of Ship-at-All-Costs-itis. But the biggest one of all is the Nook’s half-baked software. To use the technical term, it’s slower than an anesthetized slug in winter. And it’s buggy. –David Pogue

I’m glad I didn’t pre-order. Disappointed, but glad. If the Sony Daily Edition or the mythical Apple Tablet can’t top this, then I’ll just stick with my Sony 300 and iPhone ’til things have had a chance to mature. Being a gadget hound isn’t all that fun if the gadgets don’t behave to function… –Jean Kaplansky on TeleRead

If Gadget World had its own justice system, B&N would be tried and convicted of heinous abuse of its customers and sentenced to years of solitary confinement. So does Barnes & Noble hate its customers or what?

And just to throw one more log on the fire roasting the Nook, before you buy a Nook be sure to check out the comparison Inkmesh did of ebook prices. Out of some 11,604 ebook prices they checked on a handful of sites, Amazon had the lowest price by itself on 3,263 and tied for the lowest price on another 5,329. B&N had the lowest price on a whopping 463 and matched low prices on 4,837. Sony was by far the worst, showing the lowest price just 18 times and matching low prices only 423 times.

N.B. Thanks, as always, to the excellent Teleread blog for linking to all the reviews and generally keeping us up-to-date on all things e-bookish.