I broke down this weekend and finally bought a Nook from Barnes and Noble. I've been debating an e-reader for a long time and recently decided that the technology and price were at the point that I shouldn't put it off any longer. I must say that I am impressed.
I did briefly consider both the Kindle and the IPad. Despite my adoration for all things Apple, it was an easy choice against the IPad due to its use of a computer type screen. I can't imagine reading on a computer for hours. The Kindle would, I imagine give an equally good (perhaps even slightly better with the newest model) reader experience, and I do have some wonderful friends who work for Amazon, but in the end I had to decide against it for a handful of reasons including the inability to change the battery without sending the machine back, its lack of the possibility for additional storage capacity, and the proprietary ebook format Amazon uses. I do know that there is a way to convert other formats for use on the Kindle, but it seems a horrible bother when the Nook can just read them as they are.
The additional fact that a real live person is there in a genuine store to help get you started was a great bonus with the Nook too.
Purchasing decisions dispensed with, let's talk about this wonderful Nook.
First of all, and most importantly, you can read on this bad boy! Over the last couple of days I think that I've probably logged 12 hours staring at its screen, and all without a hint of eyestrain. Additionally, the e-ink screen is all it's promised to be in sunlight. Yesterday, as an experiment, I took it outside and carefully lined it up so that it was directly facing into the sun, lo and behold; the letters were crisp, clear, and readable. Lastly, the adjustable font size is a great benefit. Just last week I started a new and long paperback that had an extremely small font. It was difficult to read in low light (alas a problem I didn't notice just a few short years ago) but on the Nook the font size is adjustable from tiny to massive.
Second of all, this thing makes reading cheap! I love books, old and new. The old books I enjoy are all free for the asking thanks to the efforts of Google and the distribution of Barnes and Noble. The new ebooks aren't free of course, but they are very reasonably priced, some wonderfully priced. As a truly great added bonus, it seems that Barnes and Noble gives away a nice new book to each Nook owner once a week. Gotta love the little "Buy For Free" button that pops up on the touchscreen.
Thirdly, this thing is small! My house is full of books, my playroom has books scattered around, and my office is so crammed with books that there is little room for anything else. I don't mind any of that, but surrounding oneself with books is certainly a pain when traveling by air, and even in the Airstream devoting a shelf to books is quite a trade off. This nook will hold an immense number of books, whatever I could desire to read, all in the palm of my hand. If I do happen to run out of things to read, I can get a new book. Anywhere, 24/7. I even went book shopping yesterday, figuring that if I saw something great in the store I could just remember the title then order it up for the Nook later.
Lastly, this thing is convenient! As mentioned previously, I enjoy reading old books. I've got a good relationship with the local used bookstore and they are always happy to search out and find whatever treasure I desire. It's hard though. I've got to drive down to the store, explain what I'm after, discuss what I desire regarding price v. condition, and then wait until it's found. Once it is found it's another drive down there to pick it up. I did an experiment when I got the Nook. A few months ago I was in search of a rare and old book. I did the steps outlined above and two trips to town, about a month, and a good deal of money later I got my book. With the Nook, I searched for the book, found it for free from a Google scan of the Harvard Library and downloaded it. I don't think that it took more than a minute of my time, and did I mention it was free?
For my first serious foray into reading on the Nook I've selected a novel of about 1000 pages. After a couple days I'm about 200 pages into it (playing with the Nook seems to have used up a good deal of reading time, but that initial desire to press buttons seems to be ebbing now) and am enjoying reading on it immensely. When I'm done with the novel I'll have given it a good test, but so far I can see no advantage a real book has over the Nook.
As a final thought, I am on some level saddened by how well this thing works. It, and others like it, of course spell the end of real bookstores, and I imagine real books eventually. I won't live to see that, so I guess it's OK, but books are truly wonderful things, and I can see a day in the distance when new books probably do not exist. That is sad, but change happens and the world moves forward.
That's it for now; I've got to get back to the fantasy world contained within that little box called Nook.