Why do all the e-readers have such terrible names? | EW.com

Books | Shelf Life

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.

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