By now most everyone has heard of eReaders. They may have not gotten an eReader, but they've heard of them. I've been looking at them now for awhile, and decided not to be an early adopter, and wait for the technology to mature. My current evaluation was I wanted to see improvements in the next generation before jumping into the technology.
Much to my surprise, my wife bought me a Barnes and Nobles Nook for a birthday present last week. She knew I had been looking at them, and I had told her I wanted to wait, so I had mixed feelings with the present. One, I thought, what a wonderful wife I had, you know, love and all that good stuff, and on the other hand, I thought, what if I wanted an Amazon Kindle instead.
My wife related that she had read the reviews, and I could take it back. It was nice she could buy it immediately at the local Barnes and Noble store. Last minute presents both from the receiver and giver sometimes benefit from a "bird in hand."
With that, I've spent the weekend exploring my new Nook. You know, I read the comparison reviews between the Kindle and Nook.
First the Kindle and Nook are the two biggest sellers on the market for eReaders, and if I were you, I would limit my choice to one of these two. There are many eReaders out there that range in price from around $100 to $250 depending on features. I will limit this to the Kindle and Nook.
In reading the reviews, the Kindle and Nook come in pretty much even in evaluations. The Kindle navigates with keys, the Nook with a touch screen. Both eReaders, by clicking buttons on the side of the display, flip book pages back and forth quickly enough to make reading pleasurable, and the Nook also lets you swipe your finger across the touch screen to turn the pages.
The Nook actually has two screens, the eReader screen, which is not touch, and a lower smaller touch screen for menus. Because of this the Kindle is a little quicker and responsive, because the keys are always there, and the touch screen in the Nook takes a second to come up. The Kindle has a physical keyboard, the Nook a keyboard in the touch screen. As far as size, the Kindle overall is 8"x5.3" and the Nook is 7.7" x 4.9". However, the eReader screen size for both devices is the same.
To me, all this navigation stuff is minor. When reading in the Nook, the touchscreen goes dark eliminating the menu distraction, and that, to me, is worth the slight delay in bringing up the menus. When your reading an eBook, you don't need the menus, only when switching books or getting new books.
Which brings me to E Ink, here's your choice, get a black and white E Ink to read with, or buy an iPad and go with the LCD color, back lit screen. I'm a color guy, if the price were the same for the iPad, which it's not; it is a couple of hundred dollar more, you think I'd go for the color LCD. That was what I was waiting for in the next generation eReader, but now that I have the Nook, I think I'll stay with the E Ink. Here's why. You can't see the LCD back lit display in the sun, you can the E Ink display. That alone makes a difference. I want to take my eReader with 10 or 20 books loaded on vacation, sit in the sun, on the beach, and read. I can't do that with an iPad. Think of E Ink like reading a regular book, you need some light, and you can even use a book light with E Ink if you want. You can read a book in the sun, and you can read E Ink in the sun.
Now to the difference between the Kindle and Nook. The Kindle uses its own proprietary digital format. You have to buy your books from Amazon, and that's it. The Nook supports the Barnes and Noble proprietary format, and ePub books. That's huge, huh?
Let's look at cost. At current writing, the big downer for the Nook, and what made me almost take it back, was that Amazon eBooks are, at this writing, up to 50% cheaper that Barnes and Noble eBooks, for the same book. You can do that comparison yourself. You'll be shocked at B&N's pricing, then I discovered ePub.
ePub is an open source format. It is similar to Adobe's Pdf format, in that is is universally accepted. The Nook can read ePub, the Kindle can not. Both these devices will read a Pdf.
ePub allows you to re-size and change the font in the eReader, so the eBook adjusts to the eReader screen, nice, neatly, and readable. Pdf's do not size well, and usually comes into the eReader very small and difficult to read. They don't page well in the eReader. Pdf's are not a good format for eReaders. EPub books are the way to go for eReaders, and the way of the future. Many Internet book provides offer books in the ePub format with some sites being dedicated to just ePub books.
Needless to say, any book at Barnes and Nobles, or Amazon, for that matter, is available for purchase from another seller on the Internet in the ePub format, bye, bye, Barnes and Noble. They are losing a lot of sales, at least, from me, because of their decision to price their eBooks high. Not to worry, the Nook works fine with all ePub books, and you can get a good range of pricing on any particular book on the market, maybe not from Amazon though :-).
One other thing, there are a lot of free books out there that you can get in ePub format that no longer have a copyright. Most books printed before 1923 fit this category. So all your old classics from authors like: Dickens, Austin, and Shakespeare are available for free for your eReader.
I will admit it took me a couple of hours to figure all this out, you have to dig for the information, as Barnes and Nobles wants to try to keep you locked to their site, I'll talk about this in another post.
The one last doubt in my mind, was I thought I'd like having a book in my hand, and I wouldn't like an eReader. I was wrong. I like reading with the eReader. I might miss turning the page of a book, that feel of the paper, but I don't like either dog earring pages, or constantly moving my book marker back and forth every time I stop and start reading, nor the book falling and my losing my place. That goes away with an eReader. When you stop reading you simply put the eReader down, it goes off automatically, when you return, you press a button on the eReader, and your right back where you left off. I must admit that makes up for not having the actual book, and in just using the eReader this weekend to read the start of a book, I find I like the eReader better. I seem to move through a book faster with the eReader.
I'm happy. My wife made the right choice, and having started reading a book on the Nook, I like the device. The Nook is the way to go, because of it's ability to download and read ePub books, which the Kindle can not. That feature alone, for me, gives the nod to the Nook.