Last year at this time, I posted a story on a contrast between Kindle and Nook’s successes or failures over the holiday: Kindle sold more e-books than printed books on Christmas day, and the Nook’s servers collapsed for 24 hours.

Now TeleReader Karen Mallinger posts:

And yet, it has happened again. A year to the day. Servers down for 2 days now. Cannot download books, account locked up. An hour on hold waiting for Customer Service. I will be spending Monday taking back my Nook and purchasing a Kindle. To fall prey to the same issues and not learn the lessons is inexcusable in this day and age. Too many other folks waiting to take my money, which I’m happy to give as long as they understand the intricacies of customer service and basic “planning”. FRIGHTENING!!

Oddly, a cursory search of Google News and Blogsearch doesn’t pull up any stories on this event (probably because most tech reporters are still sleeping off Christmas dinner), but it’s all over Twitter.  Not everyone is unable to download new books—some just report it being very slow, or say they finally got through—but there are enough tweets to suggest it is a widespread problem. “Apparently I wasn’t the only one to get a Nook for Christmas,” carlwatkins tweets. “Getting a ‘Server Busy’ message. Everyone get off so I can get on! :P”

Apparently there has been at least some trouble with Kindle, too, however. Searching on “kindle server” brought too many false positives, but “kindle servers” produced tweets of people having trouble connecting their new Kindles…but only two of them.


  1. And yet I was able to download AND purchase three ebooks for my Nook over the past few days…

    Methinks someone’s a wee bit impatient. There’s a lot of traffic on the servers so a little patience goes a long way.

    Aside from the fact that it sounds like her account may have more problems than just a slow server.

    Good luck with that Kindle!

  2. I haven’t been able to access my Nook library on, or check the balance of my managed gift cards. I’m not, however, going to run out to Barnes and Noble tomorrow and return my Nook– people are so absurd.

    Like an earlier poster, I was also able to purchase and download ebooks on Christmas day with no problem at all. i was also able to purchase one today. I’ve had some hangups with LendMe today, though– it wouldn’t go through.

  3. This post seems a little ridiculous to me. Oh no! You couldn’t access your account for two whole DAYS? Whatever are you going to do?
    Return your nook just because of this small issue? Seriously? It’s not like this problem
    a. is going to last an obscene amount of time
    b. happens frequently
    c. is inexpicable

    So why the stupid threat to take it back? You can put the e-reader down for a short while to do something else? Heck, it’s Christmas! Play with your kids. Relax. Watch a movie. Cook some food. Or for God’s sake, read a real book!

  4. A reader should just work. Because the thing it’s trying to replace–the printed book–just works. If the Nook’s servers go down for two days around Christmas one time…that’s kind of a problem, but as long as they fix it, okay.

    A year later and they haven’t fixed it? I think that’s a problem. “My Nook works great, let me show you….Uh, I guess the servers are busy…”

    If B&N get the problem fixed next year, you can always make your *next* reader a Nook.

  5. I had a problem uploading my e-book gift cards. I am not sure this was related to any server problems from Barnes & Noble. However, interestingly enough, when I went to other websites at random, I was able to connect immediately. When I attempted to upload my gift cards to my Barnes & Noble account the next day, I encountered no problems whatsoever.

  6. Sure, a reader should “just work.” But if you think about the problem, it’s not much different from the days of getting a gift card to a bookstore, getting out there the day after Christmas and finding all the bestsellers out of stock. I agree, a little patience is in order.

    Also, let’s make readers aware that they can get books from indie sites (like , for instance!) if they can’t get through B&N and Amazon’s servers!

  7. B&N’s had flaky servers since they started selling e-books (and maybe before, I don’t know). A couple of months ago they redesigned the whole site, introducing further flakiness. Then they began selling NOOKcolor, and it was obvious that the B&N servers were becoming overloaded. Emailed acknowledgements of e-book purchases are supposed to go out within an hour (according to the page you get when you buy an e-book), but are now backed up more than a week.

    The B&N forums pop in and out along with everything else. At the moment, nobody’s been able to post anything to the forums since midnight Pacific (3AM EST) last night. Well, at least you can log in and read them, which is more than you could do at many times during the weekend.

    I have to wonder why B&N failed to add sufficient additional capacity for the Christmas rush. For the past couple of years, the AAP statistics show e-book sales doubling in January. There’s no surprise here.

  8. The whole thing was a nightmare – 8 hours, two BN stores, one INCREDIBLY rude, insulting clerk at the BN on Sheridan Blvd in Westminster CO later… we finally figured out how to download using the USB, which actually worked better for us than the wireless method. I have to say, right now, hundreds of dollars and hours later, I’m not sure it’s a purchase I’d repeat. We like regular books at our house. It was a close call in the first place. The experience has tipped the overall decision into the absolutely not category.

    Oh, and I work in Customer Service and worked for a bookstore for 10 years, so I actually know exactly what that’s like. There’s simply no reason for rudeness or impatience with the long line of waiting customers – at least the clerk is getting paid to screw around with the device. The consumer is not.

    No idea if Kindle would have been better, but the whole Nook experience? Night. Mare.

  9. My Nook was dropped and stepped on Christmas Day. They shipped me a new one free! Of course I had to wait on the phone for two hours because they didn’t have a ton of people there to work Customer Service on Christmas Day, but hey, I got it in the mail today Express Delivery. No arguments even though I am actually nearly 1 month past my end of warranty, they still sent it to me free. I can return mine tomorrow by free UPS pick up service.

    All in all, I think B&N did great on the Customer Service.

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