For those regular readers of my posts, you know that my wife gave me a Barnes & Noble Nook eReader as a gift. I know before I had an eReader, I wanted to know if it was worth my money, would I use it, would I like it?
I just returned from a week of vacation at the seashore, on the beach, in the warm, bright sun, with the sound of the ocean waves in the background, sitting in my beach chair, both under an umbrella and not, and I thought I'd give you my more than first impressions of using the Nook eReader.
The Nook comes with "Dracula" by Bram Stoker, "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austin, and "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott preloaded. The Barnes and Noble site offers some free books, so I downloaded "The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson" and an ebook entitled, "How to Write a Great Book And Get It Published" by Tom Evans.
Just to see what it was like to buy from the Barnes & Noble site, and to get a book I wanted to read on the beach, I purchased, "The 47th Samurai" by Stephen Hunter. This was accomplished with one click of the mouse. The site already has my credit card, after I clicked, it loaded my purchase in my library on the B&N site. I went to my Nook, and clicked on "Check for new content." in less than a minute, I had the book on my Nook. That's nice.
In a previous post, I talked about getting free ePubs. I downloaded four of these into the My Documents section of the Nook that already included the Nook Quick Tour, and Nook Users Guide. They were: "Prufrock and Other Observations" by T.S. Eliot, "Tao Te Ching" by Laozi, "The Problems of Philosophy" by Bertrand Russell, and "The Sea Wolf" by Jack London.
As you can see, I am a varied reader, who gets bored easily and reads several books at once. Ideal for an eReader. You might also notice I had no technical books on the Nook, I usually try to not read technical books on a vacation. However, as a backup, since I wasn't sure I would like the Nook, I took two actual books, a technical book, and a light reading book with me also. It's telling I never picked up the light reading book throughout the trip. The technical book I couldn't help myself. I shouldn't have taken it.
As a final touch, I went to a B&N store, and purchased a nice smelling leather cover for the Nook, with some pockets for my credit card, I'm glad I did, got a free sample box of Godiva chocolates for my trouble for bringing the Nook with me to the store, nice touch. On the beach, I put my credit card in the leather cover, and was "good to go."
Here's an advantage of the Nook. I have some 11 books on my Nook in my hand, that weighs about the same as one book and is about the same size and shape as a regular paperback book. It even feels nice, like a book, with the leather cover.
We're off. I went crazy in five days, I completed these Nook books: "The Nook Quick Tour","The Nook Users Guide","How to Write a Great Book And Get It Published," "The Sea Wolf", and am half way finished "The 47th Samurai" along with getting half way through the non-eReader technical book.
One thing I really liked was it didn't matter how I jumped around, the Nook kept track of where I was in each book, and when I returned to the book to continue reading, I was taken to my last point of reading in that book. I didn't miss handling bookmarks, or dropping the book in the sand, and losing my place and having to search for where I left off.
I could put the Nook down at any time, it shut off automatically, and when I picked it up and tapped the power button, I was taken right back to where I left off when I laid it down.
As for being able to see the eReader in bright sunlight, yes, and it looks great. I also had no problem in the shade of the umbrella, or in low light conditions, in bed with my wife trying to sleep next to me. eInk is marvelous. You can't see an LCD display, like the iPad, in bright sunlight. Think of eInk, like ink on the paper in a regular book, you need light to see it, the more light the better it looks, like with a regular book.
Whether it was my imagination, or not, I thought I read faster with the eReader. There are three ways to change pages, a button on either side, and swiping your finger on the touch screen. I used all three depending on how I was holding the Nook or in what position I was. The pages turn quick enough, not to be a distraction.
Now to what I missed. As a lifetime reader, I missed the actual book, the feel of the book, the color picture on the cover, its back cover, its smell, its non-fragility. I dropped the Nook a couple of times without incident, so it's fairly sturdy, but in the back of my mind, I'm thinking, I hope I didn't break it. I don't do that with a regular book.
I missed being able to scan the entire book quickly to get a feel for the book, you can't do that with an eReader, its one page after another until you reach the end. Yes, you can search and set breakpoints of places in the book you want to return to, and you can go to chapters, but I can't jump around that easily, compared to skimming through pages and moving quickly through an actual book. It's that initial introductory flipping of pages, you do in the book store when you are first getting acquainted with a book, prior to reading, that I missed.
The other latent lament, but in hindsight is probably for the better, is I don't have a physical book. My bookcase doesn't grow, it doesn't proudly show that last book I read, and I don't end up with piles of books laying in a corner to give to the library.
What would I want in the future, easier browsing through a book, jump to the front cover, the back cover, the table of contents, and the index, like with Amazon's "Look Inside," quicker overall response, whiter backgrounds, and perhaps color eInk.
By the way, don't let them fool you, you do not need 3G, just get the lower priced Wifi unit. The entire time I was at the shore, I never needed to go on line, thus I turned the wireless off and had plenty of time between charges,like days.
My conclusion is eReaders are different. They have pluses and minuses. I found it was easier to pick up my eReader, rather than a physical book. I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I wanted to click those buttons, turn those pages on my good read. I had further incentive to read the book more often, which is why I thought I read faster. Maybe this will go away when the newness wears off, but I doubt it.
Do I like my Nook, yes. Will it fully replace a regular book, no. There are times I want to own the book, and put it on my bookshelf. Am I glad I have an eReader, yes. Do I recommend you get one, yes.