35 Replies Latest reply on Sep 2, 2013 2:29 PM by bobstro

    UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader

      I am a mom of four children and recently allowed my oldest daughter to purchase a NOOK with money that she saved from her birthday.  She turned 9 years old.  She purchased the simple touch NOOK in January after her birthday.  I did not want her to have access to the internet and did not want her to use it for gaming, etc so we were very happy with this compromise.  She is an avid reader and this was great for her to carry around to school, games, and car trips.  We were so pleased that my son just last week decided that this is what he wanted for his birthday present as well.  He turned 8.  

      We purchased to NOOK for him and I downloaded the NOOK books that we had bought for my daughter onto his and thought we were ready to go.  When I checked the home page to make sure he was set to bring it to school the next day to read, I was completely flabbergasted at the “WHAT TO READ next” advertisement at the bottom of the page.  It was, and still is currently, COMPLETELY inappropriate for children of any age, much less an 8 and 9 year old.  With titles such as “Lover at Last” and “Resisting Her,” including full straddling of a couple all but completely naked,  I was, and still am, completely shocked that this is what your company deems appropriate for children.  

      I called NOOK support and was told that there was nothing they could do to take it off, that it was indeed an advertisement.  She then agreed with me that is was in fact inappropriate for children.  I went to our local book store and returned my son’s NOOK as we had just purchased it.  I called customer service and after much haggling and speaking to the representative’s supervisor and him speaking to his supervisor, got the five books I had purchased refunded as well.  I am satisfied with the customer service that I have received overall, but I would like to know what you will do for my daughter’s NOOK refund.  It was her birthday money and I think your company owes it back to her.  

       I have sadly lost trust in your company to monitor the content that is sent out to the eREADERS and am very ashamed of you all for this.  I do understand that there are much more expensive versions that have more parental controls, but this was money my child had saved to go towards this purchase.  Just because, along with the vast majority of the population, the simple touch NOOK was the only one in her budget that I would allow her to buy, does not give the company the right to disregard any moral and ethical obligations to their customers.  This world has too many sad and tragic things happening, to expose your younger clientele to images and books that are R rated is a sad commentary on how your company is trying to situate itself in our world.  I have attached the image at the bottom of my children’s screen.  If this was on TV, a DVD, or a video game it would have a rating, whereas you all just put it out there through your advertising apparently without a second thought.

      So I would like you to please give it a second thought.

      Sincerely,

      Amanda Mendieta

        • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
          patgolfneb
          I understand your concern but feel your expectations are unreasonable. This is not a product originally designed and marketed for children. The HD is the product designed which emphasizes families and children, it has user profiles. To expect every product to be child proof is unreasonable. The parent is responsible for determining product appropriateness, absent any representation by the seller that a product is child proof or child friendly.
          • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
            bklvr896

            It does say under what to read next, based on your past purchases.  So are you using one account for everyone?  Is someone purchasing adult books?   Perhaps you could have used this as a time to discuss what is appropriate for him to read and what is not.  But I can't see how they would have gotten there if someone hadn't purchased something using the account.

            • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader

              I actually want to give kudos to BN for attempting to lock down their devices though user/child accounts are not really fully implemented in Android (sub accounts are new to the android platform, hence why there are some teething pains) (See the Nook HD and HD+ for what im referring to).... That said... I think you were complaining about the Nook ST or STG, which will only show that sort of stuff usually if you purchased something of that category.... or show the flavor of the month which usually consists of romance novels.. So whats the big deal? Its not X rated... so theres a few shirtless covers... nothing they wouldnt see if they went to a normal library.. Im presuming youve locked purchasing to require a password.. Whats left.. Really have a hangup with people relying on software and censoring their childrens lives..Why cant parents take some responsibility and explain to children why perhaps some content is not for them instead of pushing the goverment and corporations into censorship and doing their parenting for them, becoming more of a nanny state.... And this whole no internet thing.. teach them to avoid stuff.. Your going to end up with a popup ad someday that ISNT THEIR FAULT and it becomes a non issue.. 

               

              Really interesting you ranting about this in a forum dedicated to books.. books have been banned burned and censored over the years... and its bookstores and libraries that still fight for this everyday

                • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                  I've had my Nook Color for going on two years. I have never purchased - or gotten free - any erotica title, yet they still come up in the suggested reading list constantly. Since my kids don't use the shop section of the NC it's not a big deal. Of larger concern to me is the porn material that continually pops up when searching the Nook Comics selections. First, it was a bunch of (barely) censored covers that show up when you select "browse all graphic novels." OK, so I was looking at "graphic novels" and those are "graphic." I figured I 'd just search for specific comics from then on. However, now when I search "Superman" there's super hero porn that shows up with a completely uncensored cover. If I went to a physical store, this material would be either covered or in its own section, why is it mixed in with the regular material in the online store?
                  • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                    bobstro

                    bugeek wrote:

                    [...] That said... I think you were complaining about the Nook ST or STG, which will only show that sort of stuff usually if you purchased something of that category.... or show the flavor of the month which usually consists of romance novels.. So whats the big deal? Its not X rated... so theres a few shirtless covers... nothing they wouldnt see if they went to a normal library..

                     

                    I personally would just like to filter out crap I don't want to see. It's annoying to worry about what B&N puts up. 

                     

                    You don't have to search very far with B&N to start coming across gems like this, but I'd just as soon not have the face of random political pundits showing up. I don't remember the exact combination of $0.00 + keyword that I searched on, but I got a lot like this in the results.

                     

                    [...] Really have a hangup with people relying on software and censoring their childrens lives..Why cant parents take some responsibility and explain to children why perhaps some content is not for them instead of pushing the goverment and corporations into censorship and doing their parenting for them, becoming more of a nanny state....

                     

                    While personally, I subscribed more-or-less to your theory in raising my sons, please realize nobody asked you for parenting advice. Put it this way: Would B&N put that same image in a television ad? If not, why not? Then apply the same logic to a parent and stop preaching.

                  • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader

                    They need to just create a separate bookstore for adult porn addicts--and let the rest of us live in a world of books that have a minimal idea of beauty and happiness.

                    The number one educational goal of the nation is literacy. And e-mediums is the primary way literary material will deliver. So to deliver readers into the market without some semblance of responsibility towards children is ludicrous. Actually, the product lines they include is irresponsible in and of itself.

                    It is not possible to look down to the end of the block and not see a household that is somehow being sabotaged by porn. This obviously is not the responsibility of B and N. But EVERY actor does have responsibilty for their contribution.

                    My child was sucked in by nothing more than a late night chatline advertisement on broadcast television. And now I have to shut down all this middle schooler's access at a time she ought to be free to explore the world of information and technology. Now I can't even let her use her plain old nook reader because she will spend her time searching for nude men.............

                    It is not just, "Ha,ha,ha,...." Minds and hormones at this age are profoundly impressionable. She can be gently nourished-----but I have no time for the "responsible adults" who refuse to see innocent children or act with any sense of moral foundation.

                    For that matter--B and N brick and mortar stores are not safe for children either. But at least they have sections and would be too embarrased to plaster the trash they sell online across the front of their stores. You know--the Adult Books that say, "This book has no words. 40 pictures."  The height of literary stupidity delivered by your porn dealer.


                    Disgusted Father

                      • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                        patgolfneb

                        Beautifulhappy doesn't say how old his child is?  Chat line commercials are restricted to late night. This is the crux of the issue.  Was your child up late watching unsupervised?  If so then the child is old enough to have the social, psychological, moral issues with pornography discussss, with emphasis on your values, as I did with my daughters. Insisting your values be the only ones reflected leads to loss of important freedoms.  We see this in fundamentalist Islamic regimes, incidentally. most of which treat women horribly.  You are responsible for protecting your child not BN.  If your child has web access then you already know you have to take action, and there are tools available. 

                          • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                            flyingtoastr

                            I'm going to break this to everyone. It might shake your world, but you need to hear it.

                             

                             

                             

                            Your parents had sex before you were born.

                             

                             

                             

                            >.<

                              • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                RHWright

                                I really loath, as an advocate of free speech, being put in the position of defending pornographers. But, as someone said, "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

                                 

                                Freedom of expression means that others will often express ideas we disagree with or find objectionable.

                                 

                                ... And then they march in with the "but think of the children. The poor, innocent children!"

                                 

                                While I do not doubt many raise this issue with only the best of intentions, others have used that argument for grossly unjust opression and impossing of personal moral judgements.

                                 

                                Such as miscegenation laws. "We can't have mixed marriages! Think of the innocent children who will be stigmatized!"

                                 

                                Or Russia's current anti-gay "propoganda" law, which is proported, among other things, to be "protecting" children.

                                 

                                I appreciate the concerns of parents (as a parent myself) over what their child may be exposed to on the Internet. But the solution is not making every corner of the world a kid-friendly zone. The solution is knowing when your child is ready to move from the kiddie pool to the big pool, and from the shallow end to the deep end. Don't just throw them in the deep end and hope they'll swim. Teach them the tools and give them the guidance they need to make their own good decisions.

                                 

                                Will they make mistakes and screw up? Sure. That's called being a kid and growing up.

                                 

                                Does that mean being the "mean" parent and not giving them the freedom that their peers may have? Sometimes. But just because their cohorts' parents give them unmonitored access to a computer and smartphone doesn't mean you have to for your child. It may not make you a popular parent, but it will make you a wise one.

                          • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                            patgolfneb

                            I think it's a given that BN hasn't made addressing this issue a priority.  In all fairness it probably is a minority of the sleaziest publishers, I suspect maybe largely self published intentionally mis tagging?  I have to admit this doesn't seem a large enough issue to make it worth determing. The number of posts indicate it is perhaps a not so minor irritant  for a number of us. 

                              • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                bobstro

                                The old "the other guys do it" excuse hasn't worked so well for B&N. In the spirit of fairness, I did some searches tonight at B&N, Kobo and Amazon using $0.00 to search ebooks on each web site. The searches work differently on each, so I just went through to see how far I had to go to find obviously "not romance" titles.

                                 

                                On Kobo, I did find "The Ginormous Book of Dirty Jokes" on the 1st page with a cartoon of a guy's backside. Borderline, but let's count it.

                                 

                                On Amazon, I do find a few obviously naughty titles in the first 4 or 5 pages, but not any zingers any worse than a magazine ad.

                                 

                                On B&N:

                                Oh, so wait. That must mean those others don't have the naughty stuff? No. Search for "anal" or "gangbang" on Amazon and Kobo, and you can find those titles. Plenty of 'em. (Man, are my search results skewed now!) The difference is that you have to specifically search them out.

                                 

                                Maybe instead of trying to be clever and insinuating that this is the user's fault (again), perhaps B&N should start being a bit more responsive? The competition is obviously not having problems keeping DP for Daddy off of casual searches for free books, why can't B&N?

                                 

                                It's great that the new devices have some of this filtering. Why server-side fixes can't be made for the NST/NSTG is beyond me, but perhaps the next generation eInk devices will include the fixes. Meanwhile, B&N's web site would trip the content filters at most organizations I work with. Surely they should fix this problem, if only not be labeled "NSFW" and blocked from access by potential customers?

                                 

                                Again, I'd also like to keep political titles off my front page. Simple filtering criteria or search options ("would you like to see the following categories?...) is simple enough to do.

                                 

                                 

                              • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                patgolfneb

                                I am troubled by the use of censorship as a pejorative. This results in a basic misuse of the word.  Government censorship, especially of political speech and journalist is far different than a retailer choosing to not carry or label certain material.  Tagging adult material and errotica to allow those who wish to find it or avoid it only allows us to censor ourselves.  Making that easier is a positive goal.  I find the attempts to equate this with government  censorship puzzling.  I know that some of those posters are well educated making this misuse of the term troubling. 

                                • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                  roustabout

                                  Holy cow this thread could benefit by people editing the posts they're following up.  I'm going to go overboard by quoting nothing.

                                   

                                  So, some general observations: 

                                   

                                  1)  The C word

                                   

                                  What some are calling censorship or claiming starts a slippery slope in that direction is in fact a request for curation

                                   

                                  The smut display / romance novel display problem is a symptom of BN's terrible to nonexistent curation. 

                                   

                                  BN is like a crazy lady with a shopping cart full of things to sell.  She claims that a request to organize the content is a slide downhill into fascism, when in fact she wants to avoid the bother of being asked to sort the dross, which some part of her brain understands might be a lot of work. 

                                   

                                  BN seems never to have chosen to use its computer system to organize books in any useful way.  When I first got the Nook and tried using it to search, I was apalled at how bad the search on the device was.  Nooks could be sophisticated tools for composing queries, but they're not.  There is no way that I've ever seen to do an advanced search from the nook.

                                   

                                  The tool for doing advanced search on the website isn't automatically shown to customers if they do a search and it returns a ton of titles.  I also don't know how good the advanced search is, at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/search.asp

                                   

                                  A couple of years ago, I looked at a simple query of the BN catalog for Chaucer at price 0.00, and I compared it to the Amazon catalog result for Chaucer at price 0.00.  I was struck mostly by the fact that Amazon actually did some curation, where BN clearly did much less.  Neither company is making any money off those titles directly.

                                   

                                  2)  Working around the problem

                                   

                                  I've run spam filters for a few years in smallish environments, tens of thousands of emails a week.  I'm not as big of a fan of Bayesian filters for book length titles as Bob is, but I'd certainly be interested in seeing the results of a test. 

                                   

                                  My hesitance is driven by what I know of the filters:  the longer a spam is, the less likely the Bayesian filters are to even be able to do a spam / not spam categorization.  When a spam is lengthy and relates a tale of riches crafted by the Bards of Lagos and sent from a breached webmail account, it's far less likely to be seen as spam.  (The breached account means the machine parsable stuff in the headers looks good;  the longer-form essay explaining the funds and their availability are balanced again the Prime Directive of spam classification:  never, ever drop email from the CEO's daughter into the bit bucket.) 

                                   

                                  However, there's a potentially great corpus of material already classified and available to try:  the Dewey Decimal system.  I don't know how granular Dewey is for fiction, but for nonfiction it's off the hook granular.  I can remember being struck by that in the biology library in college. 

                                   

                                  If there's anything resembling that for fiction, it seems that would be a great way to train up and test a Bayesian system to see if it could "learn" the difference between (say) fiction and historical narratives.  If titles were chosen based on their inclusion in both Google's scanning archive and availability of Dewey data, you could load up thousands and then test against a selection of other titles.

                                   

                                  This would let you leverage the extensive curation libraries have done to see if you could 'reverse curate' the crazy lady's cart without having to ask your friends to help you sort through it manually. 

                                  • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                    patgolfneb
                                    I could be mistaken, but I believe libraries are moving away from the Dewey Decimal system.
                                      • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                        roustabout

                                        Libraries may be, but I'd expect most or all of the stuff in the text searchable Google Books corpus is indexed in the Dewey system.  

                                         

                                        The stuff I was thinking of is out of copyright and hence useful training material for Bayesian filters as you can run fulltext from it pretty much where you like without worrying that if you scan the text via a cloud-based system you may've stepped across a copyright restriction. 

                                         

                                        Here's a good geeky link for pulling biblio data via ISBN:

                                         

                                        http://www.dawsoninteractive.com/articles/article/php-isbn-lookup-tool

                                         

                                        The source is available and free accounts can do 500 lookups a day.

                                         

                                        The Library of Congress and the Dewey folks are apparently still cataloging most titles that come out in the US. 

                                         

                                        http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/libsci/faq.html

                                         

                                        has lots of good info, including on another index called Worldcat which has many more indexed titles and will give partial Dewey info. 

                                          • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                            bobstro

                                            Great stuff, Roust! The link you provided to DawsonInteractive led me to ISBNdb. I'll have to try hacking up a python port of the dawson php script to do what I want, but ISBNdb provides exactly the info I need via their API. My immediate thought is a plugin to Calibre to look up the title at ISBNdb via ISBN (extractable via existing Calibre plugin), then clear any existing tags and insert a nice set of consistent Dewey Decimal categories. That alone will go a long ways towards sorting my mess out. Having done that, I'll have to see what's left and how much effort the bayesian classification effort is worth.

                                             

                                            There are some other web resources I also need to check out.

                                             

                                            The classifications are pretty broad for fiction, as expected, but at least I can get to the right row of shelves in the library with this information!

                                              • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                eaglewomanEP

                                                We have a new state of the art library in our district and they do not use the dewy system anymore. Don't know if that is good or bad. Old habits hard to break.

                                                  • Re: Classifying by Dewey
                                                    RHWright

                                                    The problems with classifying by Dewey are:

                                                     

                                                    1) It is becoming less familiar and less utilized as many libraries move to a customer-focused layout and computers make searching by topic easier.

                                                    2) It doesn't always seem to be applied the same in all cases. Example 1: though literature is broken out in the system, most general libraries just label all fiction as "Fiction" in one section, rather than break it out into American & English (813, 823). Example 2: Some libraries count graphic novels as fiction, others include it as part of Arts. In my library system's case, sometimes both. Some graphic novels are under Drawing & drawings (741), others as Fiction. Often by the same artist or in the same series! Example 2b: even within the system, some branches shelve graphic novels in their own sub-section, some inter-shelve it with the rest of fiction.

                                                    3) OCLC is the "official" body in charge of Dewey and you pay for their services and access to their resources and updates. I think some of the confusion comes from libraries using old references or free-handing their system's classifications based on librarian familiarity with the standards. But with no resources that says ISBN=this exact Dewey classification all the time, it becomes a little confusing.

                                                     

                                                    Still, it would be an interesting plug-in for Calibre.

                                                     

                                                    Back on the original topic, I don't know how B&N could apply it to their tagging and classification issues. At this point, any attempt to improve it would be appreciated.

                                                    • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                      TnTexas

                                                      eaglewomanEP: We have a new state of the art library in our district and they do not use the dewy system anymore. Don't know if that is good or bad. Old habits hard to break.

                                                       

                                                      If they don't use the Dewey Decimal System anymore, how do they organize the non-fiction books?

                                              • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                patgolfneb
                                                The advantages of Dewey appear when doing research. Unlike bookstores which primarily accommodate pleasure and hobbyists readers, libraries serve those doing research as well. The Internet is great but real research still requires a proper library. Dewey classification narrows research areas effectively, easily generating a list of resources more easily for a knowledgeable researcher.
                                                  • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                    flyingtoastr

                                                    patgolfneb wrote:
                                                    The advantages of Dewey appear when doing research. Unlike bookstores which primarily accommodate pleasure and hobbyists readers, libraries serve those doing research as well. The Internet is great but real research still requires a proper library. Dewey classification narrows research areas effectively, easily generating a list of resources more easily for a knowledgeable researcher.

                                                    As a Master's degree history student I'm happy to report that all of the research libraries I've done work in aren't using Dewey anymore either.

                                                      • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                        roustabout

                                                        Are they using a catalog system, though?  Although Dewey is not as helpful for some fields, I've seen few libraries where books aren't cataloged according to some system that tends to do fairly detailed sorting by subject.  (In purely medical libraries, it's more often National Library of Medicine cataloging than Dewey, for instance.)

                                                         

                                                        And then there's the stuff where folks have to pretty much make up a catalog system - an interesting (to me) example is the UC Berkeley Asian Library which has one of the largest collections of rubbings in the world. 

                                                         

                                                        The collection's not a stack of books on a shelf, and is in some ways a throwback to the days when books were shelved in closed stacks in order of arrival and size, and librarians were the ones who knew where they were. 

                                                         

                                                        But, the collection has a computer searchable catalog now all of its own

                                                         

                                                        http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/EAL/stone/about.html

                                                    • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                      rfortson

                                                      I agree with the OP 100%, but the issue is also with Kindle.  The search algorithms are terrible.  I've seen some really nasty stuff pop up in totally unrelated searches.  Luckily, my wife and I have both seen these results already so when we gave a NC to our daughter, we told her to let us help her search.

                                                       

                                                      And it's not related to what you read previously.  I keep all that "stuff" on different computers under different accounts.  :smileywink:  So it's not like I don't know what it is.  But if B&N and Amazon want to get the ereaders into the school community and into the hands of kids, they need to do a much better job of filtering searches.

                                                       

                                                       

                                                        • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                          Mercury_Glitch

                                                          the things that show up in the bottom of the screen, at least on the NST/G, are related to one of two things.  Your purchases, or what your friends are suggesting/reading currently.  B&N should clean up the purchases, they can't clean up your friends :smileywink:.

                                                           

                                                          Once you have Nook friends it defaults to that, and I've yet to see a way to switch it w/o removing all your friends.  Even then I had to erase and dereg to get everything out but I had mucked with my NST so YMMV.

                                                            • Re: UNsutiable for children-NOOK eReader
                                                              keriflur

                                                              Mercury_Glitch wrote:

                                                              the things that show up in the bottom of the screen, at least on the NST/G, are related to one of two things.  Your purchases, or what your friends are suggesting/reading currently.  B&N should clean up the purchases, they can't clean up your friends :smileywink:.

                                                               

                                                              Once you have Nook friends it defaults to that, and I've yet to see a way to switch it w/o removing all your friends.  Even then I had to erase and dereg to get everything out but I had mucked with my NST so YMMV.


                                                              Friends are a hassle. It's better just not to have them. :smileywink: