Ah, after about a month with the Nook Color Reader (the model before the tablet) I must pay my compliments to the chef. It remains my single favorite gadget. That’s not entirely fair since I love to read and it’s a little bit like saying that my favorite gadget is a library. But let’s put it this way, the ereader simply stays out of the way.
It doesn’t take long before you are engrossed in your books and not thinking at all about turning pages or how do I find the next book or anything like that.
I go back a pretty long way with the ereaders — back to the SONY PRS 505 (I think that’s what it was) which was ink on paper technology with no touch screen and a row of metal buttons along the side. And as much as that was great because it allowed me to bring a library with me to bed, or wherever I was – it was always annoying to have to press buttons – and of course it wasn’t backlit. I do most of my reading at night, and I’d keep a light on to read.
And when I got my first iPhone I found myself – much to my surprise – reading long books on that little device.
So when I walked into the B&N shop I really had a lot of decisions to make. They had come out with the glow ink on paper reader which I looked at – and I’m sure it’s fine – but there were going to be times when I wanted something just a little bit more.
I wanted to be able to have a couple of apps on the thing. And I had gotten used to reading on the iPhone screen – and so the need for a night light or a glow from behind light wasn’t necessary with the NOOK COLOR.
I had gone to Best Buy several times and picked up each eBook Reader they had just to see what it felt like. And the NOOKs always felt more substantial. I also like the more open ePub format for ebooks – which makes it easier to share them – and to know that what you are downloading will work on other devices etc. There was (and still is) something about the Kindle Book format being proprietary that rubbed me the wrong way – but not because I wanted to go out and steal books – but it seemed like there should be a common eBook format. I know that’s sort of a crazy idea, but it’s the old programmer in me I guess.
I use and have been using a program called Calibre since the SONY PRS days to convert books from one format to the ePub format, and to organize my library. I don’t rely on the NOOK store for much. And there is no doubt that the one weakness of the NOOK and B&N is not the reader but the shopping experience. Amazon vs. B&N in terms of finding what you are looking for. No comparison.
Back to the choice. Coming from the iPhone app world to the NOOK app world is shocking. Apps for the NOOK are (by comparison) non-existent. And many of them are pure junk. And since the NOOK is a hybrid Android – don’t even think about taking Android Apps for it unless you “root” the NOOK which is a whole ‘nother story. And if I wanted to do that I wouldn’t have gotten the COLOR NOOK to start off with, nor would I have gotten the NOOK TABLET.
Once you are in TABLET world – get a real tablet. It’s a steep jump in price, and whether it’s an ANDROID TABLET (yes, there may be a good one by the time you read this) or the Steve Jobs model — I stood there in B&N and said, buy something to read books with, and it would be nice to get your email (which is does) and look up stuff on the web once in a while (which it does) – but don’t confuse the reader with the TABLET.
There were two reasons I didn’t just go for an Apple Tablet: 1) I can’t afford it. I’d still rather buy that wide angle lens I’ve been hankering for ($850) before plunking down money for the iPad and 2) I actually don’t want a full-sized tablet. I know that’s against all the Steve Jobs rules, but I want a mini-iPad. Lots of apps. Smaller screen. Easy to use as a reader. etc. etc. And I am going to bet that such an item will come appear, and when it does I’ll be getting one.
So, back to the COLOR NOOK. How’s typing on this thing? It’s sort of weird. I’m used to double-tapping the space bar at the end of the sentence and having the iPhone fill in the period. There may be a way to get the NOOK to do this but I haven’t found it.
It is much easier to make typos since the software for auto-correcting — it may be there and I’ve seen it in the options but I haven’t seen it pop up much if at all.
Given the size of the thing compared to my iPhone, typing should simply be easier – but it isn’t.
So what do you type anyway? I will respond to email on the NOOK. It is a bare bones email program. It gets your email. It lets you delete it. But not a lot more than that. And of course it’s wi-fi based. Oh yeah – remember that. If you are going to get books you’ll need to be near a hot spot or near your computer with a USB cable.
Another plus for the NOOK – you can give it more storage with a micro SD card. I’m sorry but every reading device should have one of these. I don’t care whether you have 3G, 4G or 5G. There will be times when you can’t get to the CLOUD. I like to have my books with me and with a cheap 2GB card I can take most of the books written in English that are in public domain (FREE).
Which brings me to my final point which has nothing to do with the reader itself: why do eBooks cost so much? Can you tell me that it costs as much to produce an eBook as a physical book? Of course not. I’ve published my own eBooks. Stick it in a PDF file and have it turned into the appropriate format and have it hosted somewhere.
The production and distribution of an eBook – nothing. Pennies. What does cost money? No, not what the author is paid. It’s the publicity. That’s my theory. But whatever the reason, I still refuse to pay $8 for a short story by Agatha Christie.
Actually, I may refuse – but I did just that. I thought that Witness for the Prosecution (since it was a feature length film) was a novel and bought it only to find out that it was a short story. Believe it or not – B&N tells you everything about the eBooks in their store except how many pages the books contain! More skullduggery.
And yes – there has been collusion between the publishers and the distributors to keep the prices jacked up. So that’s my pet peeve and it will change or people will be in jail.
But back to the COLOR NOOK. It was the perfect choice for me, and until Apple comes out with a mini-iPad – this will do the trick.