Today I downloaded my first newspaper to an e-book reader (the Dutch NRC Handelsblad on the iLiad reader), and I am really happy with the result. As regular readers of this blog (or of my Twitter feed) know, I am a big fan of e-books. I believe that is the future of reading, as long as the producers manage to get people to try it and if the readers become cheaper. When I travel I can bring all my books with me and I can read my favorite newspaper sitting on a tropical beach – without having to wait for days for it to be delivered, or without having to read it from a laptop screen that is unreadable in the sun. Try it and you’ll love it.
But getting my first newspaper to work was a major hassle. I complained before about the total lack of marketing knowledge at the people behind iLiad. But also the newspaper people have a lot to learn about being user-friendly. First of all it took me a lot longer to get my iLiad then I was originally told. Someone from the Chinareis organization was supposed to bring it to me late March, but the iLiad-NRC combi was delivered a week later than planned (despite NRC assuring me that it would be there on time). So I had to wait for my next trip to Holland to pick it up, which was two weeks ago.
Because I was too busy with other things I waited until two days ago to set it up. First of all I had to create an account at iLiad. Problem is, I already have an account there for my other iLiad so I had to use a different email address. Now I know that I am probably one of the very few people with more than one iLiad at this time, but still they should think about this. Because I don’t use the other iLiad anymore I decided to use that account and use it for my new iLiad.
I followed the steps in the NRC booklet explaining how to set it up but soon hit a brick wall. The booklet told me to go to www.nrc.nl/epaper and click on the activate button. Seems easy to do, except for the fact that there was no activate button. I surfed around and even searched the NRC site for the word ‘activate’ – zero results according to their internal search engine. Finally I tried typing in epaper.nrc.nl and to my surprise there I could activate my subscription! I twittered about it, and to my surprise people at NRC were listening in because the next day I got a reply through twitter that they would change the link. I just checked it, and they indeed forwarded nrc.nl/epaper now to epaper.nrc.nl. Thanks!
So everything was ready to download and read my first paper. I kept following the steps in the booklet, connected to my wifi network and the iLiad started searching for downloads. Result: Nothing found to download. Huh? I went back to the booklet, maybe I made a mistake? I tried the whole procedure again but still the same result. I decided to turn my iLiad off and on, that works for Windows computers, so maybe the iLiad might also need a restart first. But no, still the same result. Now I was getting a bit angry and of course I posted about it on Twitter again.
What to do? I looked for a user forum for iLiad users and found one on the NRC site. You had to log in with your NRC subscription code (kind of weird, why not open this up guys? It’s not secret information right?), and then I scanned the questions. Soon I found out that everybody there had the same problem, you have to wait at least 24 hours before your subscription is activated. OK, no problem, but please please please inform people about it. Just put a note next to the activate button on the site for example. The current user experience totally s*cks.
Anyway, now the iLiad has been set up and it works fine. Today the iLiad automatically downloaded my first paper and it was on my machine within one minute. Finally I can read my favorite Dutch newspaper on the day it is published, wherever I am in the world. I am very happy with this, and I hope the e-ink technology will eventually catch on with the bigger population as well.