There have been some complaints about the sound volume. Yes, it is quite low on mine too. The speaker placement on the back is against their being much volume, especially if the NC is in a case, and, of course, the speaker is way tiny to begin with.
I don't know how much they vary unit to unit since I have never seen an NC except mine, and I never returned or exchanged it. Headphones help, and I once suggested battery powered external speakers, like for an iPod, to someone who wanted to use the talking kids books feature.
You might want to compare yours to another at a B&N or Best Buy to see for yourself.
I have my Nook Color in full blast and the sound is so soft I have to turn the unit and put the speaker next to my ear to hear the sound. Is the unit defective? Do I need to exchange?
I bought the 2 years protection.
I think this is my #1 complaint. It is really bad when listening to Read To Me books.
It's hard to say without having some comparison. On mine I have music that I listen to with the speaker facing down on a soft surface like my bed and it is loud enough for me to hear with the volume setting at 11 out of 15 clicks and then there is music that is hard to hear and if I'm just listening to music, not reading, I amplify it by sitting it angled against a book (if you're reading with it, that's not going to happen). I think the volume has to do with the file itself, what volume level it was saved at. Some songs are louder than others. But when I listen on Pandora, I can also tell some songs are louder than others. So not sure if it is the files you are playing, or if it is your nook. In general my nook speaker are loud for the size, I rarely ever listen at 100% volume level (I do usually if I take it into the bathroom with me and sit it on the counter), and if I use ear plugs I have to turn it down to 2 out of 15 clicks but I do have to say I also am not listening with your ears so my experience is individual and I know I have good hearing, my hearing doctor marvels at what I can hear. By the way, I counted, it is 15 clicks for me to go from mute to full volume. I received my nookcolor on 12/25/10 for christmas.
I wouldn't expect much out of the itty bitty speaker in the NC. It really wasn't designed to be a great speaker. It's there mostly for "convenience". If you want a better listening experience, headphones work really well.
I have the same problem with poor sound volume with it set to Max.
Tried both earbuds and headphones. I still rate it poor compared to my cell phones, mp3 players, PDA, portable CD player and my cat.