What do naming gurus think of Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader?

Posted on Wed Oct 21 2009

Nook

Barnes & Noble finally unveiled its e-reader this week, and while techies will no doubt pore over the specs, branding types will be more interested in the name. Nook? My first connection was the Nook Gase in a bookcase from Dr. Seuss. Others pointed out that if you say "Nook e-reader" quickly, it sounds like "nookie reader." Danny Altman, creative director of the naming firm A Hundred Monkeys, admits Nook does sound a bit dirty, but he thinks it's a good name overall. "We think it's the top of all e-reader names out there so far," he said. He points out that a reading nook "is a place where you can be in your own little world." John Hoeppner, president of NameQuest, also liked the name, calling it a "short, easy-to-spell, one-syllable word that will be memorable to consumers," though he noted it may have more appeal to consumers over 30, as younger ones may snicker at the "nookie" connotation. Tom Sepanski, director of naming at Landor Associates, also said Nook is a winner. "With Nook, it appears B&N is trying to improve on the Kindle blueprint," he said. "Both names quickly associate with a love of reading and feel friendly, warm and true to their respective brands. Where Kindle is about trying something new, Nook is more familiar and comfortable." Athel Foden, president of Brighter Naming, said Nook is a great name. "Soon there will be a lot of e-readers, and who will everyone remember? Kindle and Nook!" And what about the name Kindle? Altman is lukewarm on it. In a blog post in August, he said the name "conveys some lovely ideas about maybe little children or starting a fire, but in a very odd package. Perhaps there's a disconnect between the warmth of the name and the cold, hard, ugly plastic of the device." But he likes it better than some other e-reader names. The Ectaco jetBook "sounds like it would be at home at an ATV rally," he writes, and the iRex iLiad  "sounds like ancient Greece with dinosaurs. It's right up there with my wife's Helen of Troy Cool Shot 1600 electric hair dryer." Best of all is the Foxit eSlick, which, Altman wrote, "is available wherever condoms are sold."

—Posted by Todd Wasserman


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