My thoughts on Nook

On Friday I bought a Nook and a Kindle.  If I’m going to self publish, I need to be serious about seeing my formatting in action and those are the two main players on the field right now so that’s what I went with.  The Kindle won’t be here until at least Tuesday, but I’ve had the chance to play with the Nook so I thought I’d share what I perceive as some of the pros and cons of ereaders in general and Nook in specific.

Until Friday I hadn’t even seen a dedicated ereader in person.  My only experience with ebooks was via apps for my iTouch.  I had no idea what to expect really.  And I’m sure there’s a lot I’m still missing, but I think I’ve got a good handle on the basics now.

I ordered the wi-fi only, low end version of both the Nook and the Kindle.  That’s all I need since I spend most of my day in my house surrounded by wireless signal.  I just can’t think of a situation I might be in where I’d have to download a book on the go.  I may not always have the exact book I want to read on hand, but I have dozens of others loaded at any time so I’ll never be without something to read.

Pros:

  • Size- I like how portable the Nook is.  I gutted a smallish hardback children’s book, lined it with felt, and created a very quick and dirty cover for my device (note to self: measure and mark where to sew the elastic next time).  I feel confident about tossing it into my bag for on the go reading. 
  • An entire library on demand- Of course, this isn’t unique to the Nook, that’s kind of the point of ebooks.  But still, who cool is that?  I also love the idea of having a built in dictionary. 
  • Side loading ebooks from other sources- The first thing I did upon getting home with my Nook is search out as many free books as possible to load onto it.  I have a pretty good collection of books for my Kindle already, but none from B&N.  A quick read through some FAQs showed me that I can load epub formatted books onto the Nook too so I quickly hit up Smashwords for even more free books. (A quick note- I’m reading Deep Fried by Thomas Nesbit right now and it’s a pretty compelling read for all that it’s hard to relate to the MC).

    I was even able to side load some DRM protected books that I paid for on Fictionwise and bought specifically in secure format to be read with the eReader app on my iTouch.  I was afraid those books would be a total wash since they were secure and all, but I was able to load them like any other book and then unlock them with my name and credit card info on file.  All I can say is thank god that I saved my old credit card to use as a paint smearing tool because I’m not sure what I would have done otherwise.

  • Customizing the wallpaper and screensavers- From what I understand doing this on Kindle voids the warranty because it involves jailbreaking the software so I’m grateful that t’s so easy to do on the Nook.  My only regret is that it’s not color.  I spent about 20 minutes playing with a color Nook at B&N while the sales clerk helped a couple of ladies ahead of me.  All I can say is that wow, that’s sure a pretty experience.
  • Games- That was a fun little surprise.
  • Friday freebie books and in store free reads- I think the tie in to the brick and mortar store is a good idea for them as a business.  For those of you who weren’t aware, you can read for up to an hour every day if you bring your Nook to a B&N store.  It’s from full ebooks, not just samples.  The Friday freebie book can be downloaded from the online store at home, which is what I did with no problems. 
  • It plays MP3s- I love that I won’t have to carry a separate music device.

Cons:

  • It never really turns off- Ok, yes you can physically shut it off, but most of the time it is in a state of standby.  It makes me a little paranoid about the batteries wearing down or the image being burned on the screen.  Even being reassured neither thing will happen, I can’t quite seem to kick the idea.
  • The page forward and backward buttons are uncomfortable- I don’t like the placement of those buttons at all.  I guess it’s designed to be for either lefties or righties to use, but I would rather have the button on the left page backwards and the one on the right page forwards, period.  Remembering to move my thumb up or down on either side is counterintuitive for me.  You can use the interactive menu at the bottom to flick pages and that’s slightly better, but it’s only responsive about 60% of the time.
  • No new games- As far as I’ve been able to tell, you can’t load new games onto old school Nook, but you can (or soon will be able to) on color Nook.  It’s not a deal breaker since it’s not the world’s best device for gaming anyway, but it’s a little disappointing.
  • The reading screen is NOT touch activated- I can’t tell you how hard it is or me to remember that I can’t just point at the item I want to select.
  • I can’t delete books that came from the B&N store- My Nook came preloaded with a bunch of book samples on it that I have no interest in.  Through the device I have no option to delete them.  I can “archive” them, but that only grays them out, they are still listed in my library.  I suppose there is a workaround that I have yet to explore, but it’s annoying to have to go out of my way to get something off my reader, especially something I didn’t want on there in the first place.
  • The wifi is super weak- Seriously, I can’t get a signal on my Nook on the second story of my house which means I can’t load books from my bed.  Boo!
  • The web browser is lame- I haven’t explored this feature much since I have several computers available to check internet, but from the little I’ve played with it, I can see that it’s barely an option.
  • There you have my first impressions of my Nook.  I’ll do a similar write up about Kindle when it gets here and probably contrast the two, as well.

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