Monday, June 6, 2011

Why I Love My Nook

Emily was asking me why I prefer reading on my Nook to reading paper books and suggested it would make a good topic for a blog post, so here goes!

I never thought I would prefer an eReader, but when my dad gave me a color Nook for Christmas last year I was pleasantly surprised. I think some of my hesitation regarding eReaders was that I dislike Amazon and its Kindle. The Nook, turns out, is pretty awesome! While I have a massive stack of physical books to get through, I intend to buy mostly Nook books going forward.


One reason I prefer the Nook is the massive stack of physical books in my bedroom. They just sort of accumulate way faster than I can read them. It's easier to buy Nook books as-needed and they obviously take up much less space. My shelves are crammed clear full of books I may never read again and it takes up an excessive amount of space.

I thought I would like reading the Nook less than physical books but that hasn't been the case either. The page turning is intuitive and doesn't actually take away from the reading experience. I read in bed a lot and it turns out the Nook is preferable for that. With physical books you have the heavy side and the light side and if you read laying on your side like I do it's a major problem when every other page the heavy side of the book is up! With the Nook I can lay on my preferred side and not worry about supporting a big heavy book with the heavy side in the air.

The backlighting on the Nook is awesomely adjustable and I have had no problem turning it to a low level to read in bed immediately before sleeping or reading it at a higher brightness outside. It's nice not having to have ambient lighting while I'm reading, and makes it easier to fall asleep immediately after I read.

I find the highlighting and note taking features of my Nook to be very helpful. I like making notes and highlights regarding things to touch on in my book reviews, or quotes I like, fun words, etc. I am not the type of person to deface books generally (Aside from a brief period in youth where I enjoyed underlining the words "no doubt" if they came up in a book. I was a big fan.) I don't even like bending the corners so the Nook is perfect for bookmarking and highlighting!

I am pretty hard on books. I read at the gym on the stationary bike and get really gross and sweaty so my gym books get gross spots on the edges. I ruin many fewer books with my Nook. I still haven't figured out how to read it in the bathtub though. Maybe sandwich bags?

I think the main reason, the single biggest reason, a uniquely sufficient reason for using a Nook is the built in dictionary. I love words and learning new words, and until I had this tool I never really thought about how many words I don't know are in stuff I read. Normally I would sort of notice and maybe think I'll go back and look it up (but never do) whereas now I can look up words instantly! So much learning! After reading maybe one or two Nook books I became frustrated by not being able to look things up within normal books. Go figure. Until physical books have built in dictionaries, I think I will prefer my Nook.

I am pretty sure that the Nook color is the ideal eReader for me. While eInk is pretty cool, I actually like the color Nook's backlighting. Plus with a full color screen it's basically a simple tablet computer. It has WiFi allowing me to surf the internet. Considering most of what I would use a tablet for is reading and the internet and most of that use would be Gmail and Facebook, the color Nook is surprisingly sufficient as a tablet!

I definitely prefer the Nook to the Kindle. I hate Amazon, it's evil, but that's a topic for a different blog entry another day. Suffice it to say the Kindle looks like a 1950s kitchen appliance and functions about as well a graphing calculator for things other than reading. Plus, Amazon can't be trusted as the sole purveyor of content for your investment. They've proven that.


Other eReaders I am aware of are similarly inferior to the Nook. Smaller companies don't necessarily last, and when eBooks are mostly really proprietary (boo!!) it's important to have a device that will continue to receive support and a book format that will (probably) continue to exist.

That sort of brings me to my big problem with eReaders. It's like you don't really own the eBooks. You can to a limited extent loan Nook books, but it's sort of a joke. You can't sell them or give them away or rip them into pieces for art projects or set them on fire or anything! If Amazon chooses to delete eBooks off of your Kindle, they can. If you decide you hate the Kindle and want to switch to a Sony device, good luck importing your books over. It is easy to envision scenarios where a person is unable to access or read their collection of eBooks or obtain content for their device. This worries me. I guess it's part of the price you pay for the convenience of reading eBooks. I also hesitate to embrace eReading because of the potential for companies such as Amazon or Barnes and Noble to control what you can and can't read. That scares me.

So that's how I feel about my Nook! I haven't found an eReader that I think is its equal, but I'm sure that day will come. Now I want to write another post regarding all the reasons that I hate Amazon!

8 comments:

  1. So basically the Kindle is like the iPod of eReaders? I feel like when I got my first iPod years and years ago, I was unknowingly signing a lifetime contract to stay with Apple forever. Sounds like Kindle is kind of the same thing.

    How well does the Nook do if you're reading in bright sunlight?

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  2. haha yeah it is definitely like that with respect to building a largely nontransferable collection.

    I can read in sunlight, but super bright and direct might not work, haven't tried.

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  3. Ok experiment conducted. I can actually read it with the bright Phoenix sun shining at it!

    Also, I mostly agree with Richard Stallman's position ( http://stallman.org/articles/ebooks.pdf ) aside from the shitty compensation plan at the end, but still find eReading's convenience compelling.

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  4. Hmm, I totally had not thought of the whole anonymity of book buying part. Mostly my reasons for sticking to paper books are simply because I like having paper books and I like going to bookstores. No elegant or articulate reasons.

    I'm also one of the few weird people who read the copyright page, the acknowledgements and dedication pages, and the page at the end that tells you about the typeface used in the book, so maybe I'm just hopelessly old fashioned when it comes to books.

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  5. I love my Nook too, but I have the regular one, not the Nook Color. I really preferred the eInk since I generally just read regular books. Although it would be nice to have the backlight and the ability to get picture books and graphic novels for the kids...

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  6. I'm waffling over which e-reader to get. The only thing that holds me back is the price of the books! I wish they were just a LITTLE cheaper than paperback, since I know there's no printing costs involved!

    Some e-books I've seen priced at trade paperback and hardcover rates too, which is completely ridiculous!

    I might have to pick up a Nook since it comes so highly recommended! I tried using a kindle without touch capabilities the other day and it was a nightmare to scroll through menus and pages, haha. I do not recommend!

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  7. The Kindle sucks donkey balls in my opinion, I think you would do better with the color Nook. I think some people have managed to mess with the operating system stuff and turn their color Nooks into actual tablets... like http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/hiner/how-to-hack-the-250-nook-color-into-a-full-android-tablet/7630

    As far as eBook prices, yeah they are totally ridiculous. But publishers periodically mess with them and put them on sale for a few dollars. There are always going to be cheap and free eBooks, just not the new best sellers. Also, not that I would know anything about this or recommend it, but pirating exists!

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  8. Holy crap, that'd be so awesome! Frankly though, if the thing supports pdfs, I'd probably just leave it as is!

    Pretty much all my tabletop gaming books are in .pdf format, and being able to put over 1000 dollars MSRP worth of books onto a handheld device big enough for me to read would be the sweetest thing ever.

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