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!