Barnes & Noble's new electronic book reader, the Nook, is not ready for prime time. So says David Pogue in his product review in the The New York Times. The Nook is modeled after Amazon's Kindle reader, but falls short of the Kindle in several respects according to Pogue. One is the "color touch screen," which is "actually just a horizontal strip beneath the regular Kindle-style gray screen." Another is the touch screen, which is "balky and nonresponsive." Nook claims that it has over one million titles available, but many of them are "junky Google scans of free, obscure, pre-1923 out-of-copyright books, filled with typos." Nook books are more expensive than Kindle books. The built-in Wi-Fi doesn't work well, and the claim that you can loan Nook books to friends is not completely true. "You can't lend a book unless its publisher has O.K.'ed this feature. ... only half of its books are available for lending ... Furthermore, the book is gone from your own Nook during the loan period ... And each book can be lent only once, ever." Pogue reserves his most stinging criticism for "Nook's half-baked software," which he describes as being "slower than an anesthetized slug in winter." A very vivid image! He concludes that "the Nook is a mess, clearly rushed out the door in hopes of stealing some of the Kindle's holiday cheer." A number of fixes are in the works, but for now, the Nook remains an inferior product, at least in Pogue's opinion. I played with one at a Barnes and Noble in Manhattan a couple of weeks ago and found that the screen tended to be nonresponsive, even for the salesperson. I concluded that it would drive me crazy to try to read a book when it took three seconds to turn a page (Pogue cites the same figure) and I didn't buy it. While I was at the booth, I was the only customer; there didn't seem to be much interest in the Nook on the part of other customers, although the store was otherwise very busy.