Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reflections on my e-reader

So it's been a little over a month since I got my new e-reader, a color Nook, and I have to say (loving books and gadgets as I do) that it's been a positive experience so far.  Pictured above is my new case, which is great because aside from protecting the device, the case acts as a stand, which makes for easy hands-free reading.

Here are some of the pros that I've been thinking about as I read through my first e-books:
  • I can increase/decrease the text size easily as I read, which came in handy one night when I took my contact lenses out but didn't have my glasses with me.
  • I can look up the meanings of words simply by highlighting them with a touch of my finger.
  • I can also look things up in Wikipedia the same way - so today, for example, while I was reading The Three Musketeers and the narrator was going on and on about Queen Anne of Austria's ravishing beauty, I found myself wondering what she actually looked like.  A couple taps later and I had a nice portrait of her, thanks to Wikipedia.  I love it!
  • I can read in the car, at night, without a book light.  I'm sure my husband is thrilled. :-)
  • I could read after it got dark during the power outage we had last week.  Luckily, I'd just charged the Nook.
  • I can load up tons of books on it when I go away, so I won't have to overpack books the way I usually do. If I ran out of books, I could easily download a new one from the library or buy one.
  • I can hold the book in one hand and turn the page with that same hand (keeping, say, a mug of hot tea in the other).
  • I can play music on it - either through the speakers, which are pretty loud, or through earphones - while I read.
  • I can "check out" books from my library on it - plus download public domain e-books, and what's better than free books?!
  • Barnes and Noble offers a free book every Friday.  So far none of them have tempted me, but they did get me to shell out 99 cents for a promotional deal on the first book in a series I've been meaning to try (by Lilith Saintcrow).  It appeared on my Nook as soon as I purchased it - talk about instant gratification!
  • I can put in multiple bookmarks with the touch of a finger, highlight passages and make notes on them.
  • I can buy newspaper and magazine subscriptions (and view them in color) - they just magically appear on my Nook when a new issue comes out.  This is convenient, paperless, and cuts down on the clutter of stacks of magazines waiting to be read or recycled.  B & N also offers a free 2-week subscription to any of their magazines.  Plus I can buy just a single issue of anything to read without committing to a subscription.
There are, of course, some cons to the e-reader:
  •  The battery doesn't last that long - just a few days, depending on how intensively I'm using it.  I understand that the black-and-white Nook has a longer-lasting battery, but I much prefer the interface of this one - plus color, well, it's just more fun.
  • It's pretty heavy - heavier than a paperback, and heavier than most hardbacks - about the weight of one of those textbooks with the mysteriously weighty pages.  But it's easy to prop up - or put in the stand.
  • It doesn't have that yummy book smell.  To be fair, it doesn't have a stinky mildewy book smell either, but still.  I like how books smell.
  • I worry about it getting stolen in public places.  I can't just leave it on the table at Panera while I go refill my cup of iced tea the way I would a regular book.
  • I can't leave it in the car - I worry about it getting stolen, or that extreme temperatures could hurt it.
  • If I were to load all the books, magazines and newspapers I wanted to read while I was on vacation, and not take any regular printed books, I would worry about the Nook malfunctioning!
  • If I don't have a wireless connection, I can't connect to many of the cool features the Nook offers. 
I'd have to say the pros outweigh the cons, and I'm so happy I got the Nook for Christmas this year.  The best part is that I do not have to choose between paper books and e-books - I can continue to read both, switch back and forth, and enjoy the advantages of both.

What about you?  Do you have an e-reader?  What do you love or dislike about it?  Or are you stubbornly digging your heels in and sticking to your beloved paper-and-ink books?  What is it about their format that you prefer?  I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. I loved your post on e-readers. I now have two, my original one which is a Sony and is just a reader and I received the Pandigital Novel for Christmas which is a colored reader and has Wi-Fi so I can browse the web and get my email. It's associated with B&N and is very much like the Nook.
    I love them both, especially for the convenience of loading them with books when I travel. I also like that I can load it with audio books to listen to when I drive long distances.
    But like you, I love the smell and feel of paper and ink books, so i still collect them.
    My sister, however, refuses to try an e-reader. I even offered her one of mine, but she is sticking to real books.

  2. I bought myself a Kindle before my trans-Pacific travel last fall (total: 57 hours on planes), and I loved it for travel! A few ounces kept me in reading material for weeks - I would have needed an extra suitcase if I'd brought paper books! I was a little bit worried about not packing any actual books, and it did actually start malfunctioning during one of the shorter plane trips, but I got it sorted out pretty easily.

    Now that I'm back to regular life, I don't use it all that often - mostly because I have SO MANY paper books that I need to read that I can't justify reading other things on my Kindle. It is great to tuck into my purse and whip out while I'm in line at the post office, etc. - much easier than a paper book for that!

  3. Your list almost convinces me that I should do this! I'm still hanging back, but I've a feeling it won't be for long.

  4. I have both a Kindle and a Nook (sadly, not a color one). I prefer reading and shopping on my Nook but I got the Kindle because it felt like more books that I was interested in were only on amazon, even though B&N claims they have 2,000,000+ ebooks available. (Most seem to be erotica or public domain books with poor formatting.) Also, the battery life on my Nook is comparable to yours; the battery life on my Kindle rocks - one charge lasts for WEEKS.

    Why question for you is: where did you get that awesome case? I looked on B&N's Nook accessory pages but didn't see it. Are those stands just for the Nook color or for the others as well? If they are, I'm definitely getting one :)

  5. I got a Kindle for my birthday and absolutely love it. I still read both on the Kindle and in paperback and love having the choice. But I do wish mu kindle had a case like your nook! And of course the kindle is only black and white. I guess I'll just HAVE to get an ipad for the magazines I want to read in color. ;-)

  6. I have a Nook (the original one) and I absolutely LOVE it!!! Though I find I don't use it as much as I'd like to. I'm still way too fond of my paper books :p But I always have a book going on it...just tend to not go to it as quickly. But that's been changing more recently.

  7. I have a Kindle and I love it! Of course, I love my "real" books more, but I like my gadgets too and I love reading books on my Kindle. It's not too heavy either, in fact it's more lightweight than I thought it would be.

  8. I don't have one but I keep thinking that I wouldn't be able to bring it on the beach, or in the bath, and I'd be worry to drop it and break it all the time...

  9. *points to her post from today* I had a bad reading week, so I haven't read The Three Musketeers yet. I'm sorry!

    I have a very basic eReader, but I imagine down the road I will want one that does more...

  10. I'm still holding out on not buying one but you make an awfully compelling case. I think I'd rather my husband finish my library shelves though.

  11. Joyce - That is funny about your sister being so adamant, particularly when you even offered one of yours for her to try! Printed books sure have a loyal following (which is as it should be). I wonder if she'll cave at some point? :)

    Fyrefly - Wow, that is a long time to spend on a plane - and now that they charge for bags, it seems that an e-reader is essential. I like having the choice of reading either or both - and like you, I am so backlogged with printed books!

    Suey - I'd love to know what you think when you finally take the plunge!

    Jen - I noticed that about the eroitca at B&N, too - that is funny! So far I've only bought one book - I'm such a cheap librarian, and it was only 99 cents. The case is fabulous - I got it from Amazon. Here is a link: roo case. It comes in lots of different colors, too!

    Joanna - Try a search in Amazon for roo case (or roocase) Kindle - they have some that turn into stands, although they are slightly different from mine. Of course you need a color one for magazines! :)

    Chris - I'm glad you're enjoying your Nook, too. I think as more books are available in digital format, I'll be using it more often. It's fun to have a book going there and in print at the same time.

    Nikki Ann - I'm glad you're enjoying your Kindle! Aren't gadgets fun?!

    Valentina - Now you have me worried, too, lol. I think I'd definitely have to stick to regular books for those things!

    Kailana - No worries - we'll get through The 3 Musketeers slowly. I'm alternating it with other books, so I'm not that far into it yet.

    Ladytink - Absolutely - it would be bad to use the e-reader as an excuse for not finishing the shelves! :-)

  12. I actually work at Barnes & Noble selling Nooks so I'm so happy to hear that you are loving yours! I own the classic black & white one, and absolutely love it. I do find that I still read actual paper books still, just because I have to many to read, but the new books I buy usually are on my nook!

  13. Stephanie - I have heard great things about the customer support, too - although happily I haven't needed any so far. I worked at B. Dalton years ago, which was part of B&N. It was a good company to work for. Much better than Crown Books, my first book store job!


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