Barnes & Noble Nook: CoverFAIL!

UPDATE: Barnes & Noble is blameless. See this post about how the IDPF screwed up everything for everybody!

I heard this first from Judie Lipsett of Gear Diary.

I sent her a commercial-grade ePub to test on her Nook. I also sent her a Calibre-made ePub that was a PDB format-shift of an eBook she owned to investigate preserving her eReader eBook investment.

In both cases, the wee color LCD screen would not display a thumbnail of the eBook covers! From her email:

ok – unless you purchase it at B&N, you will never see the pretty cover art at the bottom of the screen.

I asked on Twitter and @jfritsche and ePub expert @liza (Liza Daly) confirmed this.


Click = big


Click = big


Click = big

This is not a minor issue, either. Over the weekend rumors popped up on Twitter about Barnes & Noble moving from their current PDB-formatted eBooks to ePub.

If the covers of the ePub eBooks can’t be shown on that shiny color LCD, that’d be another strike against Barnes & Noble in its rush to get the Nook out for this holiday season.

Further update: The least Barnes & Noble should try to do is to get the Nook software to find something called COVER.JPG so there would be a possibility of a proper thumbnail being generated. Again, see this post about how the IDPF screwed-up.

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5 Responses to Barnes & Noble Nook: CoverFAIL!

  1. jfritsche says:

    Mike, I wonder if the reason we’re not seeing covers is not due to the fact that the books are PDB/ePub/whatever, but rather due to the fact that the B&N books have specific metadata that calls to download/cache the book cover from the B&N store. I know that when I looked at the first book I bought from the store on the nook RIGHT after I bought it, it didn’t have the cover art yet. A minute later, it did.

    Right now it looks like the software simply does not allow sideloaded books to show cover art, regardless of their format. I hope they add cover settings to the sideloaded books, either pulling from the book itself or the web/B&N catalog based on book metadata.

    • mikecane says:

      Displaying a cover contained in an ePub file is not a difficult thing for any bit of software to do. B&N better intend to fix this issue. In the meantime, it’s another embarrassment for them.

      • jfritsche says:

        I’m not saying that it’s not annoying, or that it’s difficult…just trying to figure out the technical whys or wherefores behind it.

        That said, it’s really not that huge of a deal for me. Would I like to see my covers? Yes, I would. Is it going to keep me from using my nook to read sideloaded data? Hell no. I didn’t have covers on my ebooks until I started using Stanza, and I’ve been reading them for almost 10 years on various devices, though never a dedicated eReader until now.

        • mikecane says:

          You’re the second person to mention coverless PDA eBook reading today. I’ve been irreparably spoiled.

          • jfritsche says:

            We already knew you were spoiled. ;-) I’m reading the book, not the cover! LOL (though from an aesthetic standpoint, I really love the covers on the LCD so I hope they fix it.)

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