American book retailer Barnes & Noble have launched the third model of their Nook ebook reader. We've previously written about the Nook, but until recently the Nook did not get much attention due to the limited options available.
Things have changed and now the Nook represents a real threat to users because of its invasive DRM, close relationship with DRM champions Adobe, and because of its use of the Android operating system -- which might lead many to think the Nook is not defective by design.
Currently two models of the Nook are available -- a color Nook which has garnered widespread popularity with the Android hacking community, and a cheaper black-and-white model to compete with Amazon's Kindle.
And sadly, that's what the Nook amounts to -- a cookie-cutter Kindle-type device. The Kindle has begun experimenting with DRM-free books, but the Nook store has yet to catch up in even this regard. Magazine publishers with a technical audience, such as 2600 Magazine, continue to keep us informed of their own experiments in electronic publishing, and attempts to keep DRM out of their publication. For now, their yearly Hacker Digest Volumes remain the best way to get the magazine without DRM or DRM-capable devices such as the Nook or Kindle. But overall, the industry continues trending toward use of DRM on ebooks.
While The Nook itself is a fairly standard Android device under the hood, and as such could be loaded with ebook reader applications avaible from the F-Droid marketplace such as FBReader, which supports all the major formats for DRM-free ebooks and some lesser known ones too, Barnes & Noble has shown no interest in this direction.