Saturday, March 10, 2012

What I Do With My Nook

In December 2010 I got a Nook Color e-reader.  I was leaving employment with PricewaterhouseCoopers at the time, and I had a large number of American Express points that I would be giving up when I turned in my card, so I cashed them in for Barnes & Noble gift cards, enough to get roughly $300 worth of e-reader and accessories.  I have been using the device off and on since then, so I figured it might be of interest to my few readers to read what I think of the device a bit over a year later.

First, it is a very good e-reader.  It is not an "e-ink" device, which supposedly provides the easiest read on the eyes.  That being noted, I don't have good eyes and have never had a problem reading anything on my Nook Color.  I can read for multiple hours straight with no eye strain at all, so from a technical functionality standpoint as a book reading device, it accomplishes that task admirably.

Second, I know that I can use it as a general purpose "tablet," even more so after the recent OS update that increased its functionality to handle more standard Android apps.  For example, I can now watch videos on demand through the Netflix app.  You would think I would be all over that kind of thing, but I have found that I don't use my Nook Color for anything other than reading.  If hotels didn't have universally lousy internet connections it would be a good choice for taking with me when I travel (I'm still on the road eight to ten weeks a year), but they do.  Also, the lack of a native Yahoo! mail app means that I'm stuck reading personal email through the browser, which is not enjoyable on that screen.  So, in that respect, purchasing the Nook Color instead of one of the cheaper Nook options was probably a mistake.

Of most interest to me has been the types of books I have read on my Nook.  One of the interests I had in purchasing an e-reader was the fact that it would cut down on the physical space I need to store books.  As much as I like books, I have quite a lot, and occasionally dream of just tossing most of them in the bin.  I am too much of a pack rat to ever do such a thing, of course, but purchasing electronic books could at least keep the clutter from getting larger.  In reality, though, I still buy physical books.  Not as often, maybe, but I still do it.

Below is a list of all of the books I have purchased on my device since December 2010, in chronological order, along with my rationale for doing so:
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora - a test purchase to see how well I liked reading on the device
  • The Holy Bible: Holman Christian Standard Bible - I wanted a Bible on my Nook, and this one was free.
  • The Martian Tales Trilogy (A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlord of Mars) - dirt cheap as an e-book, plus I couldn't find a good collection in print
  • The Great Stagnation - when I purchased it, this was only available as an e-book
  • In Hero Years... I'm Dead - only available as an e-book
  • From the Pages of the New Yorker: After 9/11 - only available as an e-book
  • The Rent is Too Damn High - only available as an e-book

Since I purchased the Martian trilogy in January 2011, I have only purchased native e-books on my Nook.  I'm not entirely sure why this is the case; maybe it just feels more natural to me to read a native electronic book on an e-reader, while a native printed book should be read in print.  Logically, that shouldn't make any difference, but it probably does.  I am one of those people that simply enjoys the physical feel of a good book: the paper, the binding (especially on an embossed hardback), the smell (e-readers lack that distinctive 'ink on paper' smell), so that probably plays into things.  Another probable reason is that many current books have e-book prices that are close to, if not greater than, the cost of the physical book, at least at Barnes & Noble, which naturally has the native Nook store all to itself.  So, most of the time, there is no cost benefit to going with the e-book, just the instant gratification of a ten second download and the ability to haul a bunch of books wherever you are going in one slim package.

Bottom line, my Nook Color probably isn't worth its $250 (at the time) cover price to me.  I like it, but I really don't use it enough to warrant the purchase price, and if I had paid cash money instead of gift cards it would probably annoy me.  That being said, I have no plans to get rid of it anytime soon, and will happily use it to read native e-books for years to come.

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