By Elizabeth Comben

ecomben@my.madonna.edu

A college student walks into the university’s bookstore to purchase the textbooks for her classes.  Walking through the aisles, she notices that several of the books she needs are not available or have sold out.  She then sees that most of the books have an available eTextbook option.  She had recently received a NOOK for Christmas and the program used for the eBooks displayed the name NOOKstudy.  She had recently learned that the eBooks would be available on the device and eagerly purchased them. 

Once home, she started the process of downloading the eBooks and realized that the eBooks did not display on the Nook, only on the computer in the program.  Frustrated, she drove up to Barnes & Noble to try and resolve the problem. Customer service explained it can take up to an hour or two for the eBooks to transfer and not to worry.  By the next day, the books had not transferred so she decided to call the customer help line.  Here the customer service representative explained that the eTextbooks purchased through the NookStudy program do not always transfer to the device and only certain ones have that capability.  Her frustration grew to anger because not only was it difficult for her to bring her computer to class every day, she could not return the eBooks and order hard copies because she had already used the activation codes. 

This student does not stand alone.  The Barnes & Noble Community page showcases dozens of posts by consumers who have had the same issue.  Students and other customers alike post questions such as “why call it NOOKstudy if it doesn't work on the NOOK?   The name implies that it should work on the NOOK” or “The whole point of the handheld device is convenience, and if I'm tied to a PC what's the advantage?” These people have a point. It’s a tricky marketing plot Barnes & Noble toyed with. 

One of the page moderators, Jeanne Belin, said “The ability to interact with educational content is much more complex than interacting with recreational content.  Hand-held devices like the NOOK and other eReaders make it cumbersome to add notes and highlights - functions that students and faculty use regularly, and to easily to flip back and forth within an eTextbook.” While this argument is valid, it does not comment on any future plans to fix this problem or why the company used the name NOOKstudy when their eReader device is called a NOOK. 

Another user commented, “Why are you ignoring your customers’ feedback?  I understand this company makes nearly a billion dollars every few days but your customers are what got you there.  Maybe it’s time to read these posts and care about the people who spend their hard earned money at your stores.”  Some of the original posts date back to 2010 when the NOOKstudy program first came out.  Barnes & Noble has yet to develop any changes to the program that allow all eTextbooks on the NOOK. 

Many students find the idea of having all of their textbooks available on their eReader devices very appealing and especially convenient.  As described by the advertisement, the point of an eReader is to have all of your books, magazines, newspapers, etc. available on a single device.  Unfortunately, Barnes & Noble has yet to achieve this goal. 

Opinion

NOOKstudy program fails to impress new users