Nook Simple Touch' Last Read Page Issue

A year and a half ago I ordered a Nook Simple Touch from Barnes & Noble. I choose it because I liked its physical format and page turning speed, the fact it utilized touch based operation and supported the EPUB format (with or without Adobe DRM).

Though Barnes & Noble happily allows me to buy physical books and ships them to The Netherlands, they won't allow me to buy ebooks from The Netherlands. The logic evades me, but I knew that upfront. Fortunately all ebooks in The Netherlands and from publishers such as O'REILLY and The Pragmatic Bookshelf are in EPUB format. These are easily sideloaded onto the Nook using Calibre

Initially I only read one book at a time. But in due course I started reading more books simultaneously; one or two technical books and one novel for instance. This is when I started noticing that the Nook lost the last read page information when I switched back and forth between books. Very annoying but not insurmountable. I suspected a firmware upgrade might solve this seemingly simple issue, but alas, after three firmware upgrades (I'm now at v1.2.1) the issue is still there.

I also started highlighting important bits of information especially in the technical books. The Nook keeps loosing these too. This is now way beyond annoying!

Trying to find out more information about both issues I came across a post on the Barnes & Noble's Community forum. It suggests that it is an issue specifically to sideloaded books and only apparent when you use the Home Screen or Reading Now icon to open an affected book. Other posts in that same forum emphasize the problem and offer workarounds that don't really work. It puzzles me why basic functionality in a widely used product remains broken for so long.

A problem that's over 1.5 years old, affects many users, and hasn't been fixed in the last three firmware updates must be hard to troubleshoot and fix for Barnes & Noble, right? Well, a member of XDA Developers has proven that assumption wrong as well. In an, already, 1.5 years old post the issue is analysed and the culprit identified. So with all the hard work done by their users all that Barnes & Nobel has to do is take responsibility, show that they value their users and FIX IT!

UPDATE 2013-06-20

I emailed Barnes & Noble with this body of collected experiences of me and other users, proposed workarounds and even the detailed troubleshooting and suggested solution on the XDA Developer forum. Their reaction:

The only troubleshooting procedure we have for copied or sideloaded eBooks is to completely power off your NOOK and turn it back on to check if that will resolve your issues.

[...]

If the steps mentioned above may not work, we ask that you call us [...], select option 2 for NOOK Support and please ask for your call to be transferred to the next level of support.

I've provided them with pretty much every bit of information available on the issue, and they tell me to power my Nook off and turn it back on. Guess what, my next ereader will not be a Nook.

UPDATE 2014-12-14

I seems that loosing data is a problem that is present among other Barnes & Noble ereading products as well. Their Android app too looses notes much to this person's chagrin.

And for what it is worth, the Nook Simple Touch is still at firmware v1.2.1. Barnes & Noble's message is clear: Don't use our ereading products!

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