Barnes & Noble hasn't officially launched Yuzu in the 9 months since they turned the platform on, but that doesn't mean they're not inflicting it upon college students.
The retailer has been promoting Yuzu in the college bookstores it runs while at the same time neglecting to mention that the platform is still under development. Basically B&N has been recruiting college students to be unwitting guinea pigs in the development process, and conning them into paying for the privilege (with no refund option).
And judging by the students who have shown up in my comment section, they're not too happy about the situation. Three students have left comments on this blog in the past week, all of which have complained about Yuzu.
I just rented my first e-book for school and of course it’s Yuzu. I hate hate hate it.
The text is tiny and you can’t enlarge the whole page. Highlighter feature seems useless to me. No, you cannot print and I even tried sending to onenote to enlarge it there, but it didn’t work. I so regret the $73 I had to spend for this and hope they get enough of the same feedback to stop using this affiliation for textbooks. I would have been so happy if I could have read on another platform…sigh.
And then there's this one from yesterday:
Yuzu is horrible. I wish I would have gotten the hard textbook because it takes twice as long to read the digital book. It is hard to turn the pages, every time you touch the screen the note tab pops up, so you have to close it. Very irritating. It is hard to navigate, not intuitive at all. It also freezes up frequently, so you have to reload it all the time. Do not use yuzu!
And one from last week:
Posting this as a word of caution to any students considering purchasing an e-book on the YUZU platform. I am using the webapp organic chemistry e-textbook I purchased for a class and will never do this again. This would have been fine for a casual read, but there are several issues in functionality that make this almost useless for a class text book. (The price difference was not that significant either, compared with the hardcopy).
My biggest complaints: The pages appear to be protected such that you cannot print. Since turning a page takes about 5 seconds (each…turn….), I tried to print out the end of chapter questions so that I can work on them while referring to the text. What I got was a blank page. NO PRINTING!
And then there are the reviews on iTunes, where the iPad app has a two-star rating:
What the heck. This doesn't allow us to copy and paste for easier quoting in our papers and we can't even use the ctrl + f shortcut or Find shortcut to find keywords for easier studying. I guess they did this so people couldn't cheat on papers? Yet Blackboard has a program to catch plagerism.... Why why limit us customers on how we use this app? I feel so cheated. Buy the eBook from the publisher or some other site, not Yuzu. Life will be easier without this app/site.
In short, this platform has been around for 9 months and is an utter fiasco.
So why does that matter (other than to show that B&N doesn't care about fucking over college students)?
Well, B&N is still planning to spin off Nook Media into a publicly traded company later this year, and that means they will need to pitch it to outside investors. And with digital revenues declining by 50% each period, B&N can't pitch Nook Media based on growth, so they'll have to pitch its diverse offering of services, including the Nook Store (which consumers are fleeing in droves), the overpriced POD service, the author editorial services (which have been outsourced to Author Solutions) and Yuzu.
My point, folks, is that Nook Media is a stitched together patchwork of technologies which - at best - resembles Frankenstein's monster.
But I would not make that comparison, because in the novel the monster was at least minimally functional as a unit, while you can't make that claim about Nook Media.
A more apt description for Nook Media would be to compare it to an early failed experiment from The Island of Doctor Moreau - one which was never shown to the public.
Alas, if only B&N would show that same courtesy to Nook Media, but it looks like this chimera is going to be put on display at least once later this year when it is spun off. Let's hope someone (other than this blogger) notes the kludged together nature of Nook Media and comments upon it.
image by Ant1_G