Jeff Freedman

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Jeff Freedman

213 Elm Avenue, Yardley, PA 19067
Jeff Freedman

Lump of coal in my stocking thanks to Barnes and Noble

December 23, 2011, by Jeff, category Books, Gadgets

In a bonehead move, Barnes and Noble rolled out an OTA update for the Nook Tablet which disables the ability to root the device and side load applications. As reported on gizmag.com …

“According to reports from from the xda-developers forum, the Nook’s new 1.4.1 firmware update that was rolled out this week disables root access and removes the ability to load third-party apps. Since the update is applied automatically when the Nook is connected to the Internet via Wi-Fi, many people will find themselves unable to root the device – although the root script mentioned in the above instructions also disables over the air updates so if you haven’t already received the update the above method should still work..

Also, if you’ve already rooted your Nook before receiving the 1.4.1 update then already-installed apps will still work and you’ll still be able to access the Android Market – BUT, while you’ll be able to purchase new apps there, you won’t be able to install them and will receive a message saying, “Install blocked. For security reasons, only apps purchased through the NOOK shop can be installed.” Judging by comments on the xda-developers forum, Barnes & Noble will be seeing quite a few Nook’s returned as a result of this move.”

B&N did this to secure their content revenue stream, and I get that. However, I can’t imagine that they’re taking a huge loss leader on the hardware sales and the NT is a superior piece of equipment over the Nook Color or the Kindle Fire. And, if most owners of the NC/NT are like me, even if they root their device and/or side load apps, we’re still buying our ebooks from the B&N shop. However, with the news this week (http://www.jefffreedman.com/2011/12/23/justice-department-confirms-investigation-of-e-book-industry/) that the Department of Justice is following along with the EU in investigating the eBook industry for price fixing and possible anti-trust violation, I’m personally starting to question the entire nature of eBooks. I for one do not want someone telling me what I can and can’t do with the content that I’ve purchased and given that the costs related to the production and distribution are far less than those related to physical books, there is no way that an eBook should cost more than it’s physical counterpart. My lovely daughter, Lauren, who has had a problem in general with eBooks from the very start (she’s a hard-core bibliophile), may just be right after all.

I for one am very unhappy with this recent news and will be giving serious consideration to returning my NT and getting a general purpose tablet instead.

So, what do you think ?