Using an e-reader for academic pursuits can be pretty disjointed. What happens to the passages you highlight? Are they citable? What about supplementary learning tools like workbooks and class notes?
Barnes & Noble hopes to make the experience better with the launch of NOOKstudy. It is downloadable software for your Mac or Windows PC that will help you access and organize your course material, whether or not you use Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader.
Barnes & Noble says that NOOKstudy will give students access to "eTexbooks, lecture notes, syllabi, slides, images, trade books, and other course-related documents." This information should be able to be synced with your own notes as well, taken either inside the Nook e-reader or inside the NOOKstudy software.
Barnes & Noble says that no Nook is required to use these learning tools so students without the actual e-reader can still download the software and access the same materials as those who have one. In fact, with the Nook's sluggish e-ink screen, it may be preferable to skip the device altogether and just opt for the PC software.
As an avid user of Amazon Kindle's note-syncing feature, I think NOOKstudy seems promising. Amazon presents my highlighted passages in list form and the citations are listed by location in the Kindle format of the book, not in a valid page number format. It is frustrating and ugly. Also, there is no ability to share or collaborate on my notes and they are certainly not searchable. If NOOKstudy can make this experience better, it may succeed in academia where Amazon has only served to frustrate students and educators alike.
NOOKstudy is set to launch in August. Students and professors can sign up now for an early account.