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