On the heels of my post last week about video how-to sites comes word that Barnes & Noble is jumping into the fray with its own product, Quamut.com. What differentiates this site, though, is that B&N claims that all advice and tutorials are created by experts, fact-checked, and professionally produced. The entries are also tied to Wikis which theoretically will serve to gather even richer information.

To accompany each how-to the company offers a printable PDF chart to carry with you. For example, if I wanted to change the brake pads on my van, I could print off a detailed chart of how to go about it.

However, such convenience is not free. The charts are $2.95 each, and I suspect part of the model for this site is to push print books that delve into the topics in greater depth.

I have to wonder if B&N is pulling on the right side of the print/electronic tug of war here. It expects people who access the internet for information to then pay to print out paper versions of that information? Seems like a stretch to me. I love the internet because it frees me from the limitations of paper. Animation and video are so much richer in information, expecting me to pay a few bucks for a cheat sheet seems analogous to expecting me to buy driving goggles.


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