After Apple announced the iPad, Barnes & Noble contacted me immediately to inform me that my long-standing Nook order was on its way. This new-to-me product has proven to be more than a little quirky - directly upon opening it.
But I'm not going to lament the Nook's ePub/DRM compatibility failings that sucked away a good portion of my wife's weekend when she just wanted to read - those have been well-documented on plenty of message boards by now. Nor will I complain that the arrangement of left and right page turn buttons is completely counter-intuitive. (Why wouldn't a button on the left of the screen flip pages back while a button on the right flipped pages forward? Instead, B&N uses an odd stacked arrangement.)
OK, I won't complain about those quirks much.
I just want to point out something so ridiculous that it encapsulates every obvious and avoidable design flaw with the Nook; it should serve as a symbol, a mascot, if you will, for all that is wrong with what should be a device every bit as natural to use as a book.
The Nook has a two-page, seven-step set of instructions to explain how you pull the thing from its plastic case. I'm not exaggerating. Within the scope of the grandma test, it's fail incarnate.
The sadder point? Even with as many electronics as I unbox a week, it took me a good five minutes to figure this process out on my own. (After all, I never thought to turn to the instruction manual just to open the package.)
In other words, the Nook packaging actually necessitates these lengthy instructions, as ridiculous as they are in their own right. Somehow, they've invented a box that's every bit as complicated as their product.
Rulers of B&N - CEOs with names I'm too lazy to Google at this time - don't let some prima donna designer or marketer tell you how to make or package your product. Ask your mum or grandma. They always knows best.
Read our full Nook review here.