My Nook Color Has Outlived Its Cord

Terra’s Nook Color is still working just fine, but the device’s USB cable isn’t. It no longer works. She could buy an off-brand cable cheaply from a vendor on eBay or Amazon. She could buy one directly from Barnes & Noble, at a cost of $15-20. She didn’t think it was fair that she had to buy a new cable and that hers only lasted a year and a half, so she contacted Barnes & Noble to see if they could provide her with a replacement. They would not.

A quick note: Terra says that the Nook charger is proprietary. It isn’t, exactly: it’s a micro USB cable. However, the charger for the Nook Color is a little different, and the battery can’t charge from a normal micro USB cord. It has to be one made specifically for that device, making ordering third-party chargers a bit of a crapshoot.

I am writing this letter to comment on Barnes & Nobles terrible customer service support for the Nook Color. I purchased mine 1.5 years ago. I LOVED it. Recently, the usb cord that attaches to the wall plug-in has been coming apart. The two plastic parts that encase the usb were loose. Soon after that, the plastic parts fell off. I was still able to charge my NC with the broken usb via the wall charger. Now, it doesn’t charge at all.

I called B&N’s customer support line, hoping they would send me a new cord for free. I have purchased hundreds of dollars of books for my NC. I was told that because my NC was no longer under warranty and because I didn’t purchase a protection plan, I was out of luck. Of course I asked to talk to a supervisor, hoping he/she would have more clout. Again, I was denied a new cable.

The proprietary power cords aren’t expensive ($15-25 depending on whether you need a new wall charger), but I am very disappointed that B&N treats their loyal customers this way. It is not like I’m requesting a new part for an old product! When I purchased my NC (I was so excited I pre-ordered it), it cost $250. Am I out of line to expect a usb cord to last for more than 1.5 years? I am not the only customer with this problem; I have heard similar complaints from other owners.

Luckily, I have a Kindle Fire so I won’t be book-less this weekend. I must say I preferred the NC. When my Nook Color becomes obsolete or fails, I am not going to buy another Nook product!

On the surface, yes, Terra is out of line. Typically, the accessories the come with a device don’t have a warranty at all. Companies can send you a replacement to foster goodwill if they want to, but that’s about it. But should B&N take her spending on ebooks into account when deciding whether to send her a fresh cord?


Edit Your Comment

  1. drewsumer says:

    They did take the amount she has spent on ebooks into account. “She’s spent hundreds of dollars on her Nook, so she’s locked in. We could mail her a fart in a box and she’d still use her Nook, once she buys a new cord.”

  2. philside92 says:

    i won’t fault her for trying (although i would suck it up); i won’t fault them for saying no.

    • jiubreyn says:

      An old colleague of mine used to say “You don’t ask, you don’t get.” It was worth the effort to get a replacement cable for free but to expect it isn’t warranted, in my opinion.

  3. Admiral_John says:

    From the warranty page for the Nook Color:

    “Subject to the terms and conditions of this Limited Warranty, Barnes & Noble, Inc. (“B&N”) warrants to the original retail purchaser only (“you”) that your NOOK will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal consumer use for a period of one (1) year from the date of original retail purchase (the “Warranty Period”). This express warranty is not transferable to subsequent owners of the product. If your NOOK was originally purchased by someone else as a gift for you, as shown by a gift receipt, you will be considered the “original retail purchaser” of that NOOK. “

    It’d have been nice if B&N had replaced the cord but they were under no obligation to do so, as the device is out of warranty.

  4. Here to ruin your groove says:

    Root then flash custom firmware (CM7). You will then be able to charge with whatever micro USB cable you want. Check out xda for help.

    • belsonc says:

      Or, don’t root, since one thing has nothing to do with the other. You can use any cord you want to charge it, but the proprietary ones offer something the rest don’t – speed. Based on the construction of the port, your average USB cable will only trickle charge the Nook, even if it’s plugged into the wall.

      Side note – this was a known issue with some of the power cables. I called and told them where it was chipping, and they sent out a new one. However, that was last fall, and the NC was about… 8 months old at that point. I’d say this one is completely on BN to decide – but if she called back and told them she did some research and even though it’s out of warranty, since this is a known issue, could they do her this one favor because she’d like to keep using her NC…

    • chucklesjh says:

      This is stupid-easy to do with a nookColor. If you’re worried about breaking it, run CM7 directly off the microSD card.

    • who? says:

      Rooting and charging have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Since she uses the nook as a book reader, she’s better off not rooting it.

      A regular micro usb may be able to trickle charge it, but even if it works, it takes hours. My nook would charge with a micro usb when I first got it. Now (14 months later) it won’t, but it still charges with the proprietary cable.

      • lordargent says:

        When the screen is on, the draw is more than the charging speed of a regular USB cable. All it does is slow the speed of draining.

        // my cable only lasted 2 weeks (it’s incredibly flimsy, longer than a standard prong in order to include the extra power rails that the nook needs to charge properly).

        // used to charge it in sleep mode overnight

        // eventually went to a B&N and got the cable replaced

        // Running cyanogen 7 to make it a cheap tablet. I use a kindle 3 for my book reading, I bought the nook specifically to root it.

    • Alessar says:

      I suspect what she needs to do is use a standard micro USB cable, plugged into a household wall outlet adaptor – which is what the Kindle comes with.

  5. Here to ruin your groove says:

    Root then flash custom firmware (CM7). You will then be able to charge with whatever micro USB cable you want. Check out xda for help.

  6. astraelraen says:

    Go to monoprice and buy a few extra. They cost like 30 cents apiece.

    Once I started collecting microUSB and miniUSB gadgets I purchased extra cords from monoprice.
    I have one in every vehicle and a few extra at work and at home.

  7. Coffee says:

    If B&N wants to be a smart company, they can take her spending into account when deciding how to treat her as a customer. That said, no, they’re under no obligation to replace the cord, and this is kind of a non-story.

    A quick look online shows that these can be purchased for about two bucks if you don’t purchase directly from B&N ( I have a few devices that use Micro-USB, and I always make sure to have three or four replacement cords just in case something happens to one of them (they can easily bend and need replacement). The OP should do the same.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yes, but even if they did I doubt someone spending a couple hundred bucks on books over an 18 month period being worthy of special treatment.

  8. Torchwood says:

    Funny how I can find some power adapters for the Nook at Amazon.

  9. Grogey says:

    “Am I out of line to expect a usb cord to last for more than 1.5 years?” Yes, they are a disposable item and either you can fix it or you can replace it. Move on, because I bet you would get the same treatment from Amazon under the same circumstances.

    • longfeltwant says:


      “It is not like I’m requesting a new part for an old product!”

      Um… yes, actually that is literally exactly what you are doing. Yeah, sometimes cords don’t last for long, because they are wear-and-tear items. Spend the $25.

      This is a plain case of bad consumer. It was fine of her to ask for something for free, but not to expect it, and certainly not to demand it.

  10. milrtime83 says:

    You really took the time to write to Consumerist about this?

  11. sparc says:

    it’s a one year warranty. So, buying a new cord shouldn’t be unexpected after the warranty runs out.

    If the whole Nook died at 1.5 years, you’d be using the same argument and saying you’d want a free Nook as a replacement. Sadly the warranty is still one year.

    Suck it up and buy a cord. Maybe you’ll get lucky and there’s some sort of class action settlement in 10 years.

  12. mediaseth says:

    These cables are made as cheaply as possible. I do not expect my iphone cable to last very long, either. It’s too short and too thin without enough extra protection by the connectors.


    I even treat expensive professional audio cables (xlr) delicately. I only coil them over-under and stress relieve the connectors. If you treat your consumer level cables that way, they’ll last twice as long, probably.

    Wires are made of metal. Metal only bends so many times before it breaks. The insulation is plastic/PVC/Whatever and can get brittle over time.

    • cosmic.charlie says:

      The first rule of coiling cables is don’t talk about the over-under! We can’t have everyone knowing about it.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        *finds video on YouTube* OH I SEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

        *runs around house wrapping cables all over the place*

        • cosmic.charlie says:

          If you do learn you will never go back, I use it for everything from cables to extension cords even to the water hose. Not only is it better for the cable, but they don’t get tangled if you pull it the right way (if you pull it from the wrong way you get a bunch of knots that is a charlie foxtrot), so just make sure you pull from the correct side.

    • who? says:

      “These cables are made as cheaply as possible.”

      No, they aren’t. I’m being semi-facetious, because they are pretty cheap cables, but…if you’ve ever bought a cable direct from a Chinese website, you’ll know that the nook power cable is nowhere near the the cheapest possible cable.

    • lordargent says:

      But they’re selling them for $15 IIRC.

      And they also don’t sell the cable separate from the adapter portion.

  13. chucklebuck says:

    But should B&N take her spending on ebooks into account when deciding whether to send her a fresh cord?

    No, because after they decide yes, then they have to decide what the dollar amount is, and they can’t do that without pissing off some segment of their customer base.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Oh, I’d disagree. Although IMO spending $2-300 with a company over an 18 month period wouldn’t warrent special treatment.

  14. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    I think a year and half is pretty good. It sounds like she was using it a lot due to the amount of money she spent on books. The cord probably just suffered normal wear and tear. Just find a replacement on the internet.

  15. Red_Eye says:

    Considering the Nook Color uses a semi proprietary adaptation of microUSB YES! If she has spent more than $20 in ebooks in the past year they should consider this a cost of doing business and replace their wonky proprietary cable. I have one and charging a nook color with a standard cable and usb is very slow.

    • daemonaquila says:

      When there are a slew of 3rd party replacement cables out there, it isn’t all that “proprietary.” When you can get one as low as $4.99 with free shipping, there’s not a lot to complain about.

    • StarKillerX says:

      Care to explain why it’s should be their “cost of during business” to replace a cord, especially outside the warranty period, as opposed to her cost of owning the device for an extended period?

      If she had purchased an extended warranty, and these devices were covered, then I would agree but since she didn’t and the device is out of warranty B&N owes her nothing.

  16. SpiffWilkie says:

    You *can* charge with a standard cable. At least while it’s powered off. Unfortunately, it takes a lot longer than the standard Nook Color cable.

  17. Damage Incorporated says:

    Sounds like normal wear and tear to me.

  18. josephbloseph says:

    The issue wasn’t that the accessories weren’t under warrantied, it is that the warranty on the unit had expired. I don’t care how loyal of a customer you feel you are, or what your sense of entitlement tells you B&N should do for you. You aren’t out of line to expect a USB cord to last for more than 1.5 years, but you are out of line to moan about a company not replacing a USB cord half a year out of warranty.

  19. TerpBE says:

    “Am I out of line to expect a usb cord to last for more than 1.5 years?”

    Not necessarily, but you’re out of line expecting a free replacement. Things break, especially when they’re used frequently. The warranty is to offer you some protection to cover a reasonable time period when they shouldn’t break. Beyond that, it’s a crap shoot, and sometimes you’ll have to pay a little to keep things working. A couple of bucks after a year and a half is not at all an unreasonable amount to have to pay.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      I agree that she was out of line for the expectation but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

      In general, I’ve had pretty good luck calling businesses to ask if I could buy a replacement, and then winding up with a free whatever. A lot of times, they’ll spend the $1 to build up some good will. If not, I don’t fault them for it.

      Last year, I got a new silicon cover for my OtterBox. I called them, asked if I could buy a new one for my case that was out of warranty, and they just sent me a new one. They spend $1 or $2 and not only got a customer for life but free marketing in the process, because I go out of my way to recommend their products to my friends and family. I’ve had very similar experiences with Amazon.

    • coffee100 says:

      > A couple of bucks after a year and a half is not at all an unreasonable amount to have to pay.

      Yeah it is. That cord should last for 100 years. The reason it doesn’t is because Barnes and Noble and their manufacturer are satisfied with charging premium retail prices for sloppy, shitty, crappy, half-assed junk and then blaming the customer when they break.

      This is what happens when you ship manufacturing to low-wages-and-no-regulations land. Quality goes to shit and you never have to justify yourself because no American manufacturer is intelligent or courageous enough to compete on quality instead of spreadsheet. Too STUPID to understand that you get what you pay for.

      It’s also why customers are forced to accept a product like the Nook where you can’t even replace the battery and you have to dispose of a working device when the battery fails. Or, even better, you are forced under penalty of law to recycle it (for free, naturally, or more likely at taxpayer expense) so Barnes and Noble can replace the battery for you and then sell it again at premium prices.

      Barnes and Noble wins. Their manufacturer, the customers, their former (fired) employees and the taxpayers lose.

      • jeb says:

        The Nook I had was able to have the battery replaced in it without voiding the warranty.

        • coffee100 says:

          So is my flashlight.

          • jeb says:

            Correct. But you stated that the Nook has a battery that cannot be replaced without voiding the warranty, which is untrue.

            If you’re going to troll, at least recognize when you made a mistake.

      • eyesack is the boss of the DEFAMATION ZONE says:

        No it shouldn’t. It’s an insanely thin wire, being bent hundreds of times. Eventually, they go.

        • coffee100 says:

          Maybe it shouldn’t be an insanely thin (sloppy, shitty, cheap) wire? Maybe it shouldn’t bend so easily if bending it causes it to break? Those are the kinds of things quality manufacturers would consider instead of TANK THE UNIT PRICE SO THE CEO CAN HAVE CRACKED CRAB ON HIS FLIGHT TO THE SHAREHOLDER MEETING!

      • StarKillerX says:

        ‘This is what happens when you ship manufacturing to low-wages-and-no-regulations land. Quality goes to shit and you never have to justify yourself because no American manufacturer is intelligent or courageous enough to compete on quality instead of spreadsheet. Too STUPID to understand that you get what you pay for.”

        Yes because American automakers were known for their quality before the lower cost japanese cars started gaining market share in the 70’s. lol!

        It also appears you fail to realize that much of the manufacturing that moved overseas were not directly profit driven by customer demands for lower prices. We, the American consumer have long showed manufactures that we are not willing to pay a premium to buy American made products so what exactly would you expect manufactures to do?

        It isn’t, and wasn’t, uncommon for a foreign made product to be sold at a price below the manufacturing cost in the USA, so how exactly could these companies stay in business, little compete against the foreign manufacturer if customers wont pay a premium for their American made product?

        • coffee100 says:

          Simple. Don’t compete on price. Compete on quality. Customers are always ALWAYS compelled by higher quality: far more often than lower prices.

          • Costner says:

            There you go again… just making things up to support your opinion.

            Are you serious? Have you been to a Walmart lately? They primarily deal with cheap made in China crap – and they do this precisely because the customers have told them they are more concerned with price than they are with quality. The world’s largest retailer probably knows a thing or two don’t you think?

            You may very well be the type of person who prefers quality products and you are willing to pay a premium for them. I am the same – but I acknowledge I’m a minority in the marketplace, and there is a very small price premium people are willing to pay even if the product is perceived as better quality.

            Case in point look at tools. You can buy Snap-On, Cornwell, or Matco tools that are lightyears ahead of the cheap Chinese crap that is sold at Menards, Harbor Freight, and Northern Tool, yet who sells more to the average American? Hint… it isn’t a truck brand.

            Sure someone who is a mechanic might be willing to pay more for a quality product, but for the typical guy who just wants a socket set he might use a few times a year – he is looking at price. I see this kind of thing all day long in almost every industry from cars to nuts and bolts. It is the reason Walmart is successful and the reason chains like Menards are growing at a faster rate than Home Depot or Lowes. Because they cater to price.

            If you want quality, you probably choose Target over Walmart or you buy American rather than Chinese. You might go to Lowes instead of Menards and buy Snap-On or even Craftsman instead of Tool Shop or Harbor Freight. But the companies who focus on price are those who are the most successful… do you really think that is a coincidence?

            Now I will agree that in some select areas people are willing to pay for quality, but it is rare. When you say things like they are “ALWAYS” compelled based upon quality rather than price… it just isn’t a factual statement.

          • jeb says:

            Then why do very few companies compete on quality?

            Because people won’t pay the respective higher prices for actual quality. Otherwise someone would be selling goods that have the quality you desire.

  20. DoraAreGames says:

    Like others have said, it would have been nice if they had given her the cord, but it shouldn’t be expected, and it’s hardly “poor customer service”. I hate the entitled “do you know how much money I spend” argument. I’ve given a lot of places a lot of money over the years… I would never demand something for free I wasn’t entitled to simply because I shopped there frequently, and then snootily decide to take my business elsewhere because they said no. Sorry your charger broke, but the universe does not owe you a freebie.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Yeah, it’s been my experience that if you spend enough money somewhere to make a difference, then the business doesn’t need to be reminded of the fact. If you need to remind them, then you’re probably not as important as you think you are.

    • coffee100 says:

      It would have been even nicer if the cord wasn’t a piece of shit to begin with.

      It is poor customer service to charge money for shit.

      Maybe if Barnes and Noble were as concerned with quality as they are with saving 30 cents by screwing over a loyal customer, they wouldn’t have these problems?

      The universe doesn’t owe Barnes and Noble a good reputation.

  21. Portlandia says:

    Where is the bad customer tag on this?

    She doesn’t want to buy an off brand USB cable? Seriously? Perhaps she should by the Monster Cable brand, I hear their the highest quality you can get. ;-)

  22. JenK says:

    Reason #572 not to buy or use an e-reader. Books don’t require usb cables.

    • incident_man says:


    • c_c says:

      Kindle uses standard micro USB … and I only have to plug it in once every month or two. Not a very strong reason.

    • Coffee says:

      There’s a fine line between being nostalgic for the feel of a book in your hands and being a flat out Luddite.

    • Princess Beech loves a warm cup of treason every morning says:

      Reason #576 for not buying a book: Hauling 10 different books around while traveling.
      Reason #577 for not buying a book: Trying to squeeze new books into an already cramped bookshelf.

      While I do like the feel of books (still do — I like the smell of printed paper), it was more practical for me to get ebooks, especially for travel. I typically want to entertain myself with a several books at a time, alternating between a light read and a more complicated book. You can pack hundreds of e-books in an e-reader, and not have to worry about finding a new book to read when you travel for weeks.

      Also, it’s generally cheaper to buy e-books than published ones (not all, though), so I made a decision to “sample” the book out by getting the electronic version, and if I like the book so much that’s when I will buy the hard copy. Keeps my bookshelf less cluttered (I already have a ton of books sitting there).

  23. PunditGuy says:

    Try a B&N store. My wife went in to purchase a new cord, told the salesperson what was going on, and they gave it to her for free.

    • selianth says:

      Yes, this is the best advice in the thread. The people that see you face to face in the store are going to have a bigger interest in keeping her loyalty than the nameless CSR in the call center. Although I agree with everyone else that she doesn’t “deserve” anything based on her buying history and they’re under no obligation due to the expired warranty period. (I say this as a dedicated Nook user myself.)

  24. Darsynia says:

    I’m curious to know how the OP treats the cable. My mother would consider herself a ‘typical’ laptop user, but she frequently sets her laptop sideways and leans it against things, sometimes even on the cord (so that it bends unnaturally). She’s pretty hard on her electronics, and they break accordingly.

    Anyway, if you really don’t want to buy a proprietary cable, get one from the internet and charge it at night. Unless you’re a breastfeeding mom like I am, you probably have a long stretch of time where you’re not using it, either while you sleep or while you’re at work. A slow charge might be enough during that time, and if it isn’t, you’re only out $3 or whatever for the cable.

  25. cbatt says:

    So this is what it’s come to, whining because a company won’t give you a free replacement for a product 6 months out of warranty that you can replace yourself for a few bucks? You just can’t please some people.

  26. coffee100 says:

    Maybe if the Nook wasn’t a cheap, sloppy, shitty, half-assed, poorly constructed, poorly engineered imported-from-12,000-miles-away product in the first place, there would be no need for a cord to be replaced?

    Come on folks, think back. Prior to 1995, how many appliances/electronics/etc. did you own where the cord failed? I can think of precisely zero. In fact, we had a refrigerator that ran for about 40 years without once being serviced.

    Now cords fail as a matter of routine. Why? See above.

    • TerpBE says:

      And how many times did you unplug and re-plug the power cord from the back of the refrigerator? I’d bet if the nook stayed in one place for 40 years, its cable would still be working fine too.

      • jeb says:


      • coffee100 says:

        Well, since my aunt was a cleanliness freak, she unplugged it every day from 1951 until Clinton was elected.

        Didn’t think I had an answer for that, did you? OHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!!

        • CoachTabe says:

          Notice that the question was how often the refrigerator was unplugged FROM THE BACK OF THE REFRIGERATOR – not the wall. So, how often did your aunt unplug it from the back of the refrigerator? Answer: Never.

      • Costner says:

        The troll is just making shit up at this point – read a few of his other posts and you can see he just has a chip on his shoulder and likes to create controversy.

        Trolls do what trolls do, and when someone makes a point that flies in the face of their assumptions, they do what he has done here…. just make shit up.

        I’m done making this troll look like an idiot… he seems to do quite well on his own.

    • jeb says:

      How thick was that refrigerator cable? And was it permanently attached to the device?

      Unless you want a permanent thick cable attached to the Nook, then your analogy fails. MicroUSB cables are meant to be unplugged, and their design is such that the cable takes most of the wear and tear (versus the internal connector) under the idea that cables are $2 to replace, whereas fixing the internal connector is much more expensive.

      Plus, I’m not exactly wanting to carry around a cable with the same thickness as a refrigerator cable when I’m traveling, nor do I want my cable permanently attached to my device.

      • coffee100 says:

        The refrigerator cable was thick enough not to fail in a year and a half.

        Hey go ahead though. Keep making excuses for shitty products manufactured as shittily as possible. You get what you pay for with your two-buck technology: shit.

        • jeb says:

          And your proposed solution is…what, exactly?

          Yes, there are many products that aren’t made as well as they’re used to. But there’s also products that we demand much more out of than we used to. A kitchen appliance has a much different demand placed on it, especially in the realm of how power cords should be attached to them, than personal portable electronics such as a Nook. Unless you want to have a power cord constantly dangling from your Nook, it has to be detachable. Which means that it’ll wear out eventually. The size of the Nook also means that it has to be a small-ish connector (otherwise it’d be too big to carry around easily), and I still don’t want to be carrying around a thick cable unnecessarily.

          And heck, I’ll take a $2 cable that has to be replaced every year and a half versus a permanently attached thick cable that will theoretically last until 2060. More than likely I’ll only have went through a few cables by the time I want to upgrade, anyways.

          I’m also wondering how much of the “it doesn’t work like it used to” nostalgia is because people didn’t feel the want/need to get the newest, latest, and greatest television and just used it until it croaked. There’s many working items that get recycled instead of reused. Also, is there the potential that we only remember the things that worked, and not the many items that we tossed out after a few years because they stopped working way back when?

    • elangomatt says:

      I’ll start believing your argument more when you show me that Americans would be willing to pay the premium that it would cost to manufacture our own electronics and such in this country. Everyone always wants the latest and greatest gadgets, but most people wouldn’t want to pay the money it would cost to manufacture the device in this country. People don’t even want to pay full price for a cell phone made in China so they sign up for a 2 year contract and get the price of the phone reduced by two thirds.

      • coffee100 says:

        The proof Americans are willing to pay a premium for quality is simple: Americans already pay a premium for shit.

        • elangomatt says:

          WTF are you even talking about? We don’t pay a premium for anything since we don’t make anything in this country anymore.

  27. cameronl says:

    Apparently B&N doesn’t quite grasp the “U” in USB.

    /My Magellen GPS is the same way. I can power it with a generic USB cord, but it won’t charge the battery.

    • who? says:

      B&N’s excuse is that they made a non-standard micro USB because they wanted to do a 1000 mA charger, and the USB standard is 500 mA. I call BS, however, because most android phone chargers are 1000 mA, and they all use standard micro USB cords.

  28. daemonaquila says:

    I think she’s just straight out of line. Power cords get used and abused. I’ve had the same thing happen to my Kindle cord. I just fixed it and kept on going. Eventually, I’ll have to buy another – and I’ll find one that isn’t the “official” (i.e. expensive) version. The same thing has happened to other charging cords, whether for the iPhone or various other electronic devices that are constantly used. If the cord fell apart with minimal use just a few weeks after purchase, it would be one thing. But after a year or more of constant use? Let’s not be silly.

  29. CrazyEyed says:

    Considering she slaps down hundreds in books, whats the big deal in paying 15-20 bucks for a cable that has clearly lived passed warranty? If she likes her Nook so bad, whats the point in whining to the Consumerist about getting something for free she really isn’t entitled to anyway?

  30. Audiyoda28 says:

    Good Gawds – how did this make it on Consumerist? What if Terra had purchased hundreds of dollars in real books – would she expect them to replace her book light that dies after a year and a half? Or replace the fabric on her favorite reading chair because of excessive use?

    B&N power cord is a standard microUSB with one small difference – it supplies 1.9 Amps at 5 volts rather than the standard .5 Amps (500 mA) at 5 volts. It will still charge with a generic power adapter, it will just take longer. (However charging on a computer would be pointless – the USB port will shutdown of the device tries to draw more power than the port can supply.)

  31. Sorta Kinda Lucky Soul says:

    My Nook Color cable’s tip snapped off about three days ago. I fully accept the blame; I used to lean it up against a cabinet and I’m sure that’s what finally did it in. Somehow I think she put it under some sort of stress similar to what I did since these cables don’t just shed pieces independently.

    Other cables DO work, it’s just they do not charge it as quickly as the two-phase B&N cable does, and it won’t indicate that it’s charging while you’re using the device. Not a deal breaker here. Yes, I’d like to have a cable with the little LED light indicating when it’s charging/charged, and I’d like to do it quick, but if you really need those options you pay the price B&N is charging. I chose to buy a $1.25 cable and live without the light.

  32. offtopic says:

    Terra is just plain wrong on more than 1 level (on top of complaining publicly about a cord that is more than a year old) – the cord is not proprietary – it is just a simple micro usb cable that is needed.

    • who? says:

      No, she isn’t wrong. It’s a proprietary cord. You can trickle charge a nook color with a micro-USB, but it’s slow, and the micro-USB has a tendency to slide out of the socket (on mine, at least).

  33. The Black Bird says:

    If she used a credit card to pay for it the issuing bank may be one that doubles the original warranty for up to an additional year.

    If not then she should just go out and buy the darn cord. In my opinion, she is being VERY petty!

  34. Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

    It is not like I’m requesting a new part for an old product!

    …Maybe I missed something, but I thought that was exactly what she was doing.

    • rdaex says:

      Nah… cause shes a precious snowflake that only wants what shes owed.

      • Peggee has pearls and will clutch them when cashiers ask "YOU GOT A WIC CHECK MA'AM?" says:

        Oh, I get it. She wasn’t requesting a new part for an old product, she was demanding one.

        Sorry, I guess I was interrogating the text from the wrong perspective.

  35. Versonymous says:

    I guess I have an issue with them profiting off of a cable so necessary to being able to enjoy owning the device. I know the name of the game in capitalism, but when you go proprietary, you definitely inconvenience your customers. The proprietary cable just charges the device SO MUCH FASTER than a regular microUSB.

    My question is, what magic is B&N putting into this cable to justify charging $15-20 for it when I could buy a regular microUSB from monoprice for less than $1?

    Some pencil pusher somewhere figured out that by charging $15-20 for a needlessly proprietary cable he could put some dollar figure on a line somewhere and get a pat on the back. Everyone involved in putting that dollar figure on that line got a pat on the back. Ever wonder what their TOTAL PROFIT is selling something like this cable over the lifespan of something like a Nook Color? I wonder, but I have no idea… Anyone actually know? @ $15-20 they are definitely not taking a loss!

    Where is the innovator at these companies clue-ing them into the fact that it is stupid to be turning customers off to their company over a $1 cable…

    Sure she is responsible for replacing the cable, but why not actually put some intelligence into their sales and make a lot less off of every cable they sell, but proactively offer to sell cables to people when they have been an owner for over a year? (You know, sell MORE cables…) Why not have the system suggest you also purchase a replacement or spare charger when the user purchases a book? Suggest at 6 months? 1 yr? 1.5yr?

    When we are dealing with either buying a $20 cable to keep my 1.2Ghz (barely a tablet) nook color going or taking that same $20 and putting it towards a Quad-core Google nexus tablet… I mean $20 is 10% of the entire purchase price of a FAR superior device…

    • jeffpiatt says:

      it’s the grade of cable and the class of usb AC adapter, if the cable is not intended to be an charge cable it does not have all the power pins on it. Ios devices have the same issue they require that an usb charger be an certain voltage to charge there devices.

  36. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    “I was told that because my NC was no longer under warranty and because I didn’t purchase a protection plan, I was out of luck. “

    She wants the benefit of having the protection plan with out having to pay for it.This is why I am not siding with the OP. If it’s out of warranty, it’s out of warranty and she is responsible for replacing the cord. If they didn’t do this, requests for free stuff would never stop. The warranty is the cut off period to get things replaced or fixed at no charge. I’m not sure why that is hard to understand. If she didn’t like the warranty, she could have bought a different device, or bought the protection plan.

  37. BeastMD1 says:

    Sure she is asking for a new cord, but the cords on these things are prone to break. Many posts about this if you look around. There isnt any reason for a usb cord or any cord that isnt abused to last for years and years.

    The problem here is the construction of the cord the end that goes into the nook has a light up “n” that shows orange for charging and green when done. The plastic on that end of the cable is very weak and prone to crack even on the slightest amount of pressure. Once cracked the joints inside of the able are put under stress and eventually break.

    I had the same request of BN when mine cracked and they also told me to pound sand. Even though I take excellent care of my stuff. I realize a warranty term is a warranty term but the cable is simply poorly designed.

    And for those of you who keep saying its a standard USB cable, IT IS NOT A STANDARD CABLE. If you use a standard cable sometimes it will charge very slowly but depending on the cable it may not charge at all.

    It would not be so bad if the cable didn’t cost $15 plus shipping. (something else I noticed is that the price on the cable seems to have jumped $5 in the last few weeks.)

    • who? says:

      I’ve never had a problem with my nook color cable, but, like you, it TWEAKS ME OFF that it’s a proprietary cable. I have this pile of micro-usb devices (including a kindle) that I can charge with a single cable. Then I have the nook color. Every time I travel, I have to bring an extra cable for the nook. Then, I’ll get where I’m going, and realize that I brought the nook cable, when I really needed the micro-USB cable, and I have to go to radio shack to get a new usb cable. Arrrrgh!

  38. Moniker Preferred says:

    Why are so many Consumerist stories about lame-brained people who are trying to wrangle a free lunch?

    Answer: Consumerist is really just an entertainment site, with the posters providing the content.

  39. anime_runs_my_life says:

    It’s called normal wear and tear. You can find micro USBs cheaper than the $15-20 that you claim it is. Search online. Search electronic stores. Sorry, but even I bought a new USB charger when the one for my iPod Touch fell apart. I didn’t go charging to Apple demanding they replace it.

    If you can afford books for your ereader, you can afford a new power cord for it.

  40. RoadDogg says:

    I have a drawer full of various kinds of usb cables and USB chargers, I would honestly prefer at this point that I be given the option to save $1 and have my device not come with one.

  41. kokathy says:

    I have one of the original Nooks and I am still using the original cable it came with and i have the original cables from all my apple products and they are still in great working order. This sounds like a user error thing.

  42. misanthropic789 says:

    While I agree that the original poster didn’t have much of a case, I have to admit that the proprietary version of the micro usb is one of the reasons I will NOT be upgrading my nook color. I have piles of micro-usb cables around the house and not one will charge the damn thing. The cable it came with is on it’s way out, and right now I just want it to last until the google tablet comes out so I can replace the whole mess.

    • Lee Jones says:

      I don’t seem to have a problem charging on other chargers. You just have to turn the screen off on the Nook to get it to charge faster than it is drained.

  43. mattwillis4 says:

    This is beyond stupid. Cables wear out over time with use. It happens. You buy a new one and go on with your life. Idiot…

  44. dourdan says:

    “because I didn’t purchase a protection plan”

    again, like the guy with the expensive tv- if you do not buy insurance, do not be surprised when they say “no, we will not help you”.

    insurance is their motivation for helping people. customers need to stop thinking they are so smart and just buy the damn insurance.

    and yes i buy it all the time- 100 dollars extra on a 600 laptop, 60 dollars extra on a 300 dollar camera,etc. and when i break my item (i broke my camera 3 times) i ALWAYS get a new one.

  45. WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

    The amount of money she spends on eBooks as no merit on the situation, the product is out of warranty therefore B&N don’t have any obligation to replace cord. I’m sure this is like most products where the accessories are not included in the warranty but most places will still replace defective accessories as long as the product is still under warranty. Honestly she has no right to complain or say that the B&N customer service is horrible. The OP needs to get over herself and move on.

  46. WyomingGunAndHuntingEnthusiast says:

    The amount of money she spends on eBooks as no merit on the situation, the product is out of warranty therefore B&N don’t have any obligation to replace cord. I’m sure this is like most products where the accessories are not included in the warranty but most places will still replace defective accessories as long as the product is still under warranty. Honestly she has no right to complain or say that the B&N customer service is horrible.

  47. Lee Jones says:

    You CAN charge the Nook with other adapters. I have a Nook Color. I charge my Nook regularly from the MicroUSB port plugged into my desktop PC, or using the same one I charge my phone with nightly. It’s slow, but it works. You just have to turn the screen off on the Nook to get it to charge faster than it is drained.

  48. Malik says:

    I am more concerned that this actually suprises anyone.

    So Barnes and Noble expect you to actually BUY new cords from them in the event that they need replacing. This should come as no shock since they designed the Nook to use a proprietary cord/charger rather than something more generic. If they did not care about selling the cords, they would use cords that you could purchase anywhere. Using a proprietary system means they intend for that to be a secondary source of income

  49. NotEd says:

    While it would be nice if they sent her a replacement cord I wouldn’t expect them to do it. The cord is a accessory that gets the most abuse, so it would be the part most likely to fail. It wouldn’t make send for them to replace them for free.

  50. Mah Freedoms says:

    If she wanted an extended warranty, she should have bought an extended warranty.

    • Mah Freedoms says:

      I just realized something… can we talk about her having both a Nook Color AND a Kindle Fire…?

  51. jewpiterjones says:

    $4 to replace it on ebay (includes shipping). Is all the time you’ve wasted on this worth more than $4?

  52. chaelyc says:

    They probably do take into account how much the average user spends on ebooks & with that in mind, determined that it isn’t worth it to guarantee the accessories beyond the terms of the device warranty. (I can’t think of any device on the market that does – most don’t guarantee the accessories that come with the item past 30 days.)

    B&N knows that you could afford the Nook & the books to put on it, so you can afford the cable. Furthermore, they know that you’re not going to brick the thing because your cord pooped out whether they send you a replacement for free or not. After all, those books that you paid for are stuck on it.

  53. Alcadema says:

    The exact same thing happened to my Nook Color’s cord: the plastic enclosure around the base of the connector was poorly glued/sealed, and separated, exposing the circuit board inside the connector.

    Three drops of super glue fixed it perfectly; it works beautifully, and it’s stronger than before. (shrug)

  54. Press1forDialTone says:

    Most manufacturer provided USB cables are delicate and inadequate for daily flogging.
    I can’t believe this female person actually thought she could flog this cable for more
    than 1 year and expect it to survive. A little education is needed. USB cables have
    4 wires inside, really really really thin wires connected to a really really really cheap
    connector on each end. This is why the industry embraces USB so tightly. It’s cheap.
    Consumers are cheap. Most things today are cheaply made. You want cheap technology,
    then you’re gonna get cheap sh*t. Quit whining. You got want you screamed like a baby

  55. Baka-no-Kami says:

    This post contains incorrect information. The nook color will absolutely 100% guaranteed charge off any USB cable and charger you care to use.

    The problem is that you just can tell this when looking at it. The screen uses power faster than a standard USB cable can charge it, so the nook reports that it’s not plugged in. However if you turn the screen off the nook is capable of charging just fine.

    Before you go to bed plug the nook in with any cable and make sure the screen is off. It’ll be charged in the morning.

    Source: I’ve done this dozens of times with my nook color.

  56. erinpac says:

    An off brand will work fine, IF you make sure it is a cord designed for charging, not just data transfer. It’s not just the Nook Color – a lot of devices use those sort of charging cords, and yes, if you use one not designed for that it will be too slow. Get a moderately decent brand that is labeled as a charging cord and you can still replace it around ~$7. Usually the Amazon reviews will tell you if one will work well or not. I wouldn’t really assume an under $20 item to be replaced free a half year out of warranty.

  57. syxx says:

    bad customer

  58. ssclark says:

    Terra is not out of line. I agree that if I spend $250 on an item that something as mundane and generic as a cable, should not have a lifespan less than 2 years. I got my Nook color Christmas 2010 and am on my 3rd cable.

    Fortunately, after reading this article (, where a number of people were also searching for ways to get B&N to pay up, I took the writers advice and went to B&N last night at 9pm. And told them my issue. They kindly GAVE ME A NEW CABLE FOR FREE!!!!

    When I am paying my hard earned money, I expect to get good service. Fortunately, I had a better experience than Terra. So, as recommended to me, these are your options:

    1. Take your old cable to your nearest B&N and ask them to replace it.
    2. Call 1-800-THE-BOOK; select digital products; select Nook Color; have your nook serial number accessible, tell them you need a new cable and they will ship one to you. (NOTE, I did not go this route so I can not vouch that it works)

  59. amy says:

    I completely agree. I too have had the same experience. I am extremely disappointed with barnes and noble. I don’t know why they have made a poor product and are sticking by their warrenty policies. If you know you have made a bad product you should replace it regardless of the warrenty. I won’t be purchasing another tablet from them.