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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nooks and NonGovernment

Well, kids, the Financial Reports are in.  You know, those long articles in the business section, full of statistics and numbers and so on, that you never bother to read.  I don't read them either, and I didn't make an exception just because I was gonna be writing a blog post about one of them later.  But, anyway, here's the link to the one that says that Barnes & Noble experienced a 26% drop in profit in Nook products during the third quarter of last year.  

Now, I'm not sure how they measure that, and I wouldn't claim to be the expert in counting Nooks or noses or anything else.  But I do know that this is Bad News.  I love love love my Nook.  I loved it from the moment I picked it up and I have never so much as even liked a Kindle.  But I do have a theory, kind of, about why things aren't going so well in Nookville:  They did it right the first time. 

Seriously.  I have a Nook First Edition, pictured above.  It was big and clunky and weighed a little bit more than was convenient.  It was also perfect.  The Nook 1st was the one that broke the mold.  It was not, by any stretch of the imagination, a tablet, but unlike the later Nook Simple Touch and the Nook Glowlight, it did have a rudimentary Internet browser.  (Pain in the ass to use, but at least it was there, and if you had an emergency, you could tap out an SOS email on the digital keyboard.)  It also had the capability of playing certain sound files, so if you wanted to listen to an audio book, you had that option.  Later low-end Nooks eliminated this feature.  It even had a chess game, which never failed to checkmate me in about twelve moves.  Okay, I ain't Bobby Fischer.  But still.  

Later Nooks got more advanced and added stuff like color and HD and the capacity to play movies and suchlike.  Those were the high-end Nooks that were the most tablet-y.  The trouble with the tablet Nooks, though, is that they're--tablets.  And if you're going to buy a tablet, you might as well buy something that has serious processing power, like an iPad or a Samsung Galaxy or something.  In fact, I think that's where this whole e-reader thing is going to end up.  What started out as Kindle  vs. Nook will end up being two little iPad apps, dueling it out in cyberspace.  Which, when you think about it, is kind of sad until you realize that none of us actually exist, anyway, except as a sum of component parts.  

Speaking of getting it right the first time, I'm given to understand that the entire U.S. economy is going to drive off a cliff tomorrow at about 12:01 a.m.  I'm a little fuzzy on the why, because the various factions have been yelling at each other for such a long time that I've basically stopped listening.  Something about "kicking the can down the road," and/or, if they'd fixed it the first time, we wouldn't be in this mess.  That's true about a lot of things, from Carter warning us about the ultimate instability of our dependence on foreign oil to Reagan (Yes!  I'm going to say something nice about Reagan!  Nobody faint!) predicting the eventual demise of the Soviet Union through simple economics vs. nuclear weapons.  (Though I'm sure mutually assured destruction didn't hurt. And it's not like all that vacant farmland in North Dakota didn't need Pershing missile silos; I mean, what else would you do with it?  Grow crops or something?)  

I've always wondered why people vote contrary to their best interests.  I mean, if you don't have health insurance, which is pretty major, and one party's going to help you get health insurance and the other party isn't, why would you vote for the second party, just because they're also going to cut money to schools?  If you're a woman, say, why would you vote for the party that wants to take away your birth control, stop protecting you from domestic violence, send your kids to different wars all over the globe and have the local police investigate your miscarriage?  If you want your kids to have well-funded schools, why would you vote for the party that always cuts the money to the schools, instead of the party that makes sure the schools have all the money they need?  As I've said time and time again, people are strange.  People are strange.  People are strange.

I hope, when the history books are written about this weird little gridlock, the writers will point out that the gridlock wasn't the fault of the Democrats, or even of the Republicans.  The gridlock was the fault of us, the voters, who watched all this happen four years ago and sent most of the same idiots back there to do it again.  Thanks, y'all.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to flip open my Nook First Edition and do a little reading while it still works.  

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