Barnes & Noble(NYSE:BKS) has announced an August release for their new NOOKstudy software package. Following in their recent tradition of following up Amazon’s original moves with some further refinement, it appears we’re looking at a few old favorites with a couple new twists. The Kindle DX has proven to be slightly less than ready for big-time school exposure so far, which leaves the field open to the nook and its related software for the time being.
As anybody might expect, looking at software for students, there will be highlighting, annotation, and in-text note-taking for follow-ups. In addition, annotations and notes in general will be tagged for easy searching and full-text searching will be, obviously, much faster than the existing search feature native to the nook device. There also appears to be some browser integration to allow for fast look-up of formulas and definitions as you read. Users will be able to open two texts at once for simultaneous reading/reference on the same screen, a tabbed browser will allow multiple documents to be open for use at any given time, and students will likely find the ability to organize documents based on class and topic quite helpful.
This all comes at the same time as an announcement of integration of the Barnes & Noble eBook Store with the ever-popular Blackboard educational software, which will allow students to download any available texts directly from a list of what is required for their classes. Basically, B&N is hoping to take the college scene by storm and they seem to have a good idea of how to go about it.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson, dominated the #1 spot on the Kindle bestseller list for a long time, and has maintained a spot in the top 100 for an astounding 630 days. Dragon Tattoo was just recently unseated from the #1 spot by Daniel Silva’s The Rembrandt Affair. The others in the Larsson’s much sought out trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest are not far behind with about a year in the top 100.
The trilogy follows financial journalist Mikael Blomkvist and brilliant young private investigator Lisbeth Salander as they seek to solve several intense, mind blowing murder mysteries. In Dragon Tattoo, they get an assignment to solve the mystery of a nearly 40 year old murder case involving 82 year old Henrik Vanger’s beloved great niece, Harriet. Throughout the process, Blomkvist does his research in exile on Vanger’s vast estate. The pair uncover a great deal of corruption within Vanger family and about Salander’s own past.
The Girl who Played with Fire follows the duo again as Salandar is accused of murdering a couple in their Stockholm apartment based on her previous violent tendencies, and the presence of her fingerprints on the murder weapon. The trilogy goes out with a bang in Hornet’s Nest as Blomkvist works to figure out who harmed Salander in a previous circumstance and murdered Salander’s father, a longtime asset to the Swedish Secret Police.
The reviews for the whole trilogy are very positive overall. There are some dissenters who say that Blomkvist’s character is not fully developed, and that the Swedish words are kind of distracting. I’m currently reading Dragon Tattoo, and I echo what a lot of reviewers and peers have said in that it is a bit boring for the first hundred pages because of financial jargon and other plot set up. After that, it starts to pick up and then you can’t put it down. I also highly recommend the Kindle version over the paperback because the paperback is bulky, and the print size is tiny. So be patient, put on your seat belt and get ready for a wild ride.
So what do you think? If you’ve read any of these books, do you think this trilogy is as good as the hype surrounding it suggests?