Why do all the e-readers have such terrible names?

Want to stick a book in your Nook? Me neither. It just sounds uncomfortable.

After what I assume was thousands of man-hours of marketing research, the best Barnes & Noble could come up for their new e-reader was a word that already exists and has nothing to do with their product? I, for one, can’t wait for the Borders Cranny.

Plus, Nook, like Vook, just sounds unpleasant. Sure, they’re derived from “book,” but that word was needlessly ugly in the first place. Literature is one of the most beautiful aspects of human culture. The word that describes its most basic unit should be like an elegant dancer, not a homely Germanic dwarf. But even though we’re stuck with it, that doesn’t mean these companies have to follow suit.

The names of other major e-readers aren’t much better. Amazon’s Kindle seems intended to antagonize traditional book-lovers by subtly mocking the flammability of paper. The arbitrary capitalization of the iRex iLiad is Homer via an IM-ing 12-year-old. The Sony Reader is dull and obvious. The Bebook is a stutterer’s nightmare.

Not all technological developments spring out from their creators’ heads fully formed. The flashlight began as the “electric flowerpot” and the zipper was originally given the boring name of “slide fastener.” So maybe it’ll get better.

What’s your take? Am I just trying, by nook or by crook, to find a way to complain? Any suggestions for better names? The Panasonic Codex? The Sharp Wit? The Canon Canon? I guess it’s harder than it looks.


Comments (12 total) Add your comment
  • Kevin

    Agreed. “Kindle” has kind of grown on me, but it still doesn’t make me think of literature. I’d go with something like “Folio” or “iTome” or “Omnibus”. Or how about the pun-tacular BiblioTech or BiblioFile?

    • John

      Delete this comment, copywright those names, sell them, and live out your years as a happy rich geek.

      • sbwm

        Folio. I love that. Meanwhile though I am so happy with my Kindle I don’t care what it is called.

  • Lisa Simpson

    I do like iTome.

  • MyQuestBe

    I always like “Notescast”

    I also like “Nook”, as it ties with a reading nook.

  • Katja

    LOL. The “Kindle” always unsettled me for some reason I could never quite pinpoint, and I think that the flammability thing actually has something to do with it! Also the fact that I don’t take kindly to unnecessary technological changes, and I am very much anti e-reader at the moment. [Maybe I can excuse it if you travel a lot or something, but I love solid, paper-smelling, pretty cover-bearing, paperback books to pieces! (Literally. My books are all well-loved/worn. I don’t consider that a negative.)]

  • Stevex

    You know that when (not ‘if’) Apple comes out with their version, everything about it, including the name, will be cooler than ice.

  • Sue

    Nook e-book? Say it loud… Really?

  • Elena

    “Curl up in a cozy nook with a book.” I think it’s trying to evoke a warm feeling from a product that most of us view as cold (and unnecessary–from Katya) technology. I’m 25 and I hope to never buy one.

  • Jason

    This is quite a moot point for me since I refuse to buy into this riduculous fad!
    To quote Charlton Heston while holding on to all my books “From my cold dead hands!!!!”

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