It’s not often that I have any real affection for gadgets – but I do have a warm feeling for the Nook Color eBook Reader. It’s not perfect, but it has a personality of its own. As a bit of backstory – I had my first eBook Reader a few years ago – one of the early SONY Ink on Paper readers. As is usual I got into the eReader world with a bang – and quickly found myself using a program called Calibre to find free public domain books, and convert them as needed to ePub format for the SONY.
I was inspired by the Google Guttenberg scanning project and the idea that just about every book published before 1923 (or whatever the date is in your country) was available was like a valentine for the guy who had been in love with books since I was a kid.
People who ask me things about photographers that have inspired me, are surprised to find that most of my inspiration comes from things I’ve read, or am reading – whether fiction or fact. And for those who miss that tactile feeling of turning the pages of a book – that’s just never been me. One other factor that lead to the quick adoption of the eReader was that my New York apartment just couldn’t take another bookcase, or another book.
I understand how people fall in love with cars, or stereo equipment and become infatuated with certain objects for their design, or their beauty, or just the fact that they are on the cutting edge. I had a similar feeling about my first personal computer – the luggable Kaypro – which was quite on the ugly side – and yet had a strange beauty of its own.
I know that people get this attachment to their cameras – especially the Leica people. They will talk about how the camera feels in the hand. How well balanced it is. I used mechanical Leica M cameras for years but can’t say I ever felt that emotional attachment to them. Maybe a little bit of affection would show itself for the Leica M3. But I’m just not prone to have these feelings of affection for objects.
I love my iPhone – but I don’t feel warmly towards it. Does that make any sense? It is – like all digital gadgets – something that is simply an accumulation of circuits. Whether it talks to you or not – no matter.
The only exception that I’ve found – the only chink in my emotional armor – is with eBook Readers. I seem to have very strong feelings about them – either pro or con. For example, when I first went to compare eReaders – I took an instant dislike for the early Kindles. Ugly things. They liked to use their own “closed” file system. They were part of the movement that had just about destroyed book stores.
Yes – I love ebooks – but I don’t want to do away with bookstores either.
The Nook Color is just quirky enough to be an object you can find an affection for. (Ouch, that is an awkward sentence). It has the quirkiness of a cat. The Kindle would be the eBook equivalent of a domesticated dog.
But the Nook Color is just about perfect for me. I’ve already synced up all my eBooks with the Calibre program. Except for registering with Nook, I haven’t gone to the Nook store on my Mac for any reason – though I suppose there are going to be somethings that I’d better go there to find out.
For example – how the heck do you delete a book from your Nook? You’d think that you’d select the book and there’d be a choice for deleting or removing – but no – there is an archiving function but how to actually remove a book – it isn’t obvious.
You can make lots of bookshelves, and use them to organize your books – and you’d better do that because except for the search – if you’ve got tons of books – it really isn’t that easy to find what you’re looking for.
But the thing has a nice heft to it. And you can use micro SD cards to store as many eBooks as you want. And the built in dictionary is great. And most of all, there are tons of ways to set the screen for reading. It’s just extremely easy to read without getting distracted.
I would like to put a request in to NOOK engineers. When you look up a word in the dictionary – have an option for saving that definition – and if you want to take it even farther – have a way of categorizing the word. True – you can save notes. But the notes should be tied to the dictionary.
And don’t make it so hard for people to find the FREE BOOKS. All the major companies do that. Kindle, Sony, Nook – don’t make it so tricky – and don’t charge money for books that you can easily get for free. As a matter of fact – include an app that makes it easy to search and download books from Google’s Guttenberg project. You can do this now – with any browser – but for example with the NOOK when you download a book from Google it goes into a folder called Downloads. You should be able to give it a name – and put it on a particular bookshelf without going through a third-party program like Calibre.
But okay – I understand. Nobody wants to show you the free books – except Google. You can bet that when Google introduces their eBook Reader – a big part of it will be the ability to easily manage books from the Guttenberg project.
Anyway – all in all – I’m happy with the color NOOK – and you might even call it love at first sight.