One of my favourite details about the Nook—the 14-day "lending"—just got a lot less enticing. Turns out there are very specific rules about this lending process, and they pretty much nullify the feature's promise.
Lending seemed too good to be true: Sure, we knew about the 14-day lending period, but we wondered if it'd work like a library, where you can renew a book before its due date. No such luck. As it turns out, publishers have the right to allow or not allow lending (and book publishers are at least as uptight as record labels) in the first place, so who knows if you'll ever even get to try it. Besides that, you can lend each book one time only, forever. When you lend it, it's unavailable for you to read, which admittedly is what happens when you lend a physical book — but THESE AREN'T PHYSICAL BOOKS. For god's sake, let us enjoy the benefits of digital text!
I'm a little pissed off by this, especially since I was so excited about the Nook, but not entirely surprised. Despite the open-source promise of Android, owners of digital intellectual property are going to keep as tight a hold on their product as they can — even though these restrictions are far tighter than those on physical books. It's like when Microsoft introduced the Zune's sharing feature. They understood that people share physical media and want to share digital media, but still forced (probably at the record labels' behest, but whatever) a three-play, three-day restriction that was so strict nobody ever used the feature. And now Barnes & Noble is following in Microsoft's footsteps. Balls. [MobileRead, thanks Gideon!]