When I bought my Nook Color, I basically did so because, at the time, it was the only e-reader/tablet-ish product that had the color screen (and didn’t cost $500). I’m still very happy with it, and haven’t rooted it.

So far my experience has been great, and I’ve been reading more than I have in 10 years. But something happened, a few weeks ago, that gave me pause. The stock USB charging cable that came with my NC basically fell apart. Lately it had been looking like it wasn’t even plugged in properly. It was so loose. Then the sides started to fall off, and before I knew it, my Nook Color was dead and would not charge.

Grrrrrreat. This all happened right as the first teaser trailer for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones debuted and I suddenly wanted to read that book again. Of course, right?

So, I did a Google search to find a replacement for my cable. I stumbled upon Barnes & Noble’s product page and let me tell you; the reviews were scathing! And on top of that, the replacement cable was $15! How Apple-esque of you, B&N!

Turns out, some people ran into this problem as early as a couple of months into earning their NC. Others have had to regularly replace their cable every 6 months or so. And no one is happy! Luckily for me, my cable made it almost 2 years, which is respectable. However, the issue seems to be a design flaw that Barnes & Noble has decided they aren’t going to bother correcting. They probably figure that as they keep cranking out new products (Nook HD, Nook HD+ etc.) that customers will just upgrade to those without blinking an eye.

I think they’re wrong. And if you read the product reviews on that page, you’ll see why. What they’re really doing is telling those early adopters, “Hey, we don’t really care about you or the product we sold you. Just deal with it. Or upgrade.” A lot of people will likely look elsewhere when it’s time to upgrade to a newer e-reader/tablet. Myself included. I’d probably find a way to snag an iPad mini.

Some customers have called their local B&N store and got a free replacement cable (even without being under warranty). No such luck for me, and I damn sure wasn’t paying $15. So, I went to the one place I knew wouldn’t let me down: eBay. For the reasonable price of $1.83, I had a new USB charger in my hand just one week later. Works like a charm!

Now, just like 3rd party phone chargers, it doesn’t work nearly as fast as the stock B&N charger, but I’m ok with that. If I’m not reading, it stays plugged in bedside. There’s never really been an emergency, where I’m away from the house, w/ Lula Mae (that is what I named my Nook Color), and the battery is dying. Although the charger was so cheap, I may get one to stick in my car. I have spare 3rd party iPhone chargers all over the house, & keep one in my purse as well.

I know what some of you are thinking. You’re all “Hey, why is it ok for Apple to get away with overpriced chargers, but not Barnes & Noble?” It’s not just a price thing. It’s also a quality of product thing. The B&N cable never looked like it fit well. Plus, it was hard to fit into the slot. And once you get it in there, I feel like it starts slipping or moving. Mine was definitely leaning in its later moments. That’s not a quality product. It’s supposed to be straight out of the slot! Whereas, with Apple’s overpriced chargers, they fit well and work. I’ve never had to replace a single one of mine (although I do know that others have, for various reasons & certainly not every few months) and I’ve been using Apple iPods/iPhones for over 4 years.

So, Barnes & Noble is running a business. That’s fine. I’m a consumer, and in this vast marketplace, I have many choices. When Lula Mae is ready to become a paper weight, I likely won’t be replacing her with another Barnes & Noble tablet. And the outrageous manufacturing & cost of the USB cable is just part of the reason. But that’s a post for another day!