Robot 6

Graphicly expands to the Nook, but apps are hard to find

Nice book... but where is it?

Barnes & Noble’s unveiled its app store for the Nook Color e-reader, yesterday, edging the $249 device even closer to being an alternative to the iPad. And Graphicly was right there at the launch with three graphic novel apps Mouse Guard: Fall 1152, Wanted, and Irredeemable.

This is not Graphicly’s fault, but the Nook Color app store is not very well organized; they have cute headings like “Explore” and “Organize” but not “Comics” or even “Read.” Plugging the titles in to the search engine gave mixed results: The Mouse Guard app turned up alongside listings for the physical books. Clicking on the title brought me straight back to the generic Nook Apps page. I couldn’t find Wanted or Irredeemable at all. Maybe if I had a Nook it would be easier, but the website should be as well organized as the built-in app store.

The bottom line is this: It’s great that Nook is getting into apps, and it’s great that Graphicly was there on Day One. But if no one can find your books, no one can buy them, and unless Barnes & Noble comes up with a better way to feature content than this—vague categories and no complete listing of all the apps—they aren’t going to move many comics.



My sense is that the most recent Nook update was a response to people hacking it to get a more “pure” Android experience; but since that’s not what BN actually delivered with the update, those who are comfortable hacking their devices will continue to do so while those who aren’t will be stuck with a kind of hybrid, less-than-fully-satisfying experience. The Nook, unlike the Kindle, is capable of functioning as a midgrade tablet, so what you get out of it really does depend on the software.

The Android app store has its own issues, of course, and I’d love to see BN or another company turn their efforts toward improving access, search/browsability, etc. to what’s already available.

I have a Nook Color, and found all three graphic novels right away as soon as I upgraded the firmware on my device and pawed through the app store. Can’t speak to the website issue, as I haven’t gone looking there yet.

I personally felt like the nook app store was a huge disappointment. Very limited free apps. Also, may now use google for their calendar and email, but there was not an available app for that. All the hype on how the nook would be a competitor to the iPad for a fraction of the price is a lot of bull. I am crossing my fingers that some better apps come out soon.

It looks like the website functions differently via nook/android than it does via a computer web browser. For example, I cannot click on the apps via my computer, and the exact address on my Droid phone shows a different screen with no access to the apps shown on my desk PC.

Looks like we’ll have to visit a store and test-drive it…

Hey! Look! The “exclusive” elephant is back in the room! I thought we got rid of that beast!

(Yup… how soon before these GN apps are available on the regular Comixology site? What if Marvel, which offers no digital comics outside of their DCU, offers GNs via nook? Or (even worse) Amazon?)

It sounds like the onboard app store is better organized, and I think there’s a pretty good reason for that-

BN e-magazines ONLY work on the Nook Color (which may or may not be up to Barnes and Noble), and IMHO pretty clearly labels them as such. But a lot of people have decided to try to download them anyway and proceed to give one-star reviews because “it didn’t work on my Ipad, pandigital novel, etc.”

So now, BN has to be very careful about how they list apps on the non-nook website to avoid similar confusion. On the one hand, it sucks for Graphicly to not get quite as much exposure as they otherwise would. But on the other hand- do you really want people getting angry at you (and possibly screwing up your apps rating) simply because they can’t follow directions?

whoops…, not comixology! *blush* But the concerns are still valid.

Torsten, that may have been a typo/Freudian slip but it’s 100% valid and one of the reasons digital distribution is such a mess and still so uninviting to consumers. There’s a great piece in Ars Technica about how Crunchyroll is defeating anime pirates by doing digital distribution right. Comics still have a ways to go in that regard, sad to say.

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