Getting to Know My Nook

I broke down and bought a Nook at Barnes and Noble the other day.  Just couldn’t pass up on the $149 price for the Wi-Fi only version.  What a deal, eh?  I have a Kindle already and I love it but I always feel a bit guilty about bringing it into the B & N when we have our Mystery Book Club meetings.  So now I can download our mystery books on the Nook and take it into the bookstore with no qualms whatsoever.

I’ve only had it for a few days so this is by no means a comprehensive review.  I’ve taken it to B & N three times now and worked with it at home so I’m basing my comments on this.  First of all, Barnes and Noble is making a real effort to create a sense of “community” for their Nook owners.  I noticed that our B & N now has a Nook group that meets once a month to discuss what they are reading, the things they are enjoying on their Nook, and given the chance to “loan” their e-books to each other, if they so desire.  The Nook also has a feature called “The Daily” that you can open each day to view special announcements, reviews, and offers just for Nook owners.  I don’t know how often they update it because I had read my “Daily” on Monday and when I opened it up today (Wednesday), all I saw was a notice that there were no new items.”  Hmmm, you would think that something called “Daily” would have something new in it on a DAILY basis.

I have to admit that I’m a little spoiled with my Kindle since I can shop for and download purchases anywhere that there is 3G coverage but with my Nook, I have to wait until I’m in a Wi-Fi hotspot.  I hadn’t thought this would be a problem.  However, I’m finding that there are times when I’m at home and I’d like to go up to B & N and get something on my Nook.  Would it have been worth spending $30 more dollars for that privilege?  On hindsight, yeah, probably.

The Nook has a prominent display in our local B & N bookstore and they also had a nice selection of covers for it.  I purchased the Tupper cover which has this nice quote (the front of the cover is the first picture above).  There were other covers that were “designer” covers but I really couldn’t see spending over $100 for some Kate Spade cover.  Get real, folks.  I’m buying my Nook for the books.  If there’s a cheap cover in my favorite green, that’s a bonus.  This cover was $29 and it fits the bill nicely.

When you register your Nook, they apparently throw in some free books for you since three “classics” showed up in my library along with 2 samples without me doing anything.  One of the features that I really thought I would like was the ability to read any e-book in the store for 1 hour per day (I think that is per title) and then, if you so chose, you could keep going in every day and continue reading the same book for free – one hour per day.  Don’t know how feasible that is but guess if you go to the bookstore a lot, it would be fun.  I think it’s more valuable to entice the reader to purchase the book at the end of their reading session.  For example, today I was reading “Twilight” in-store and decided to purchase it.  (Don’t groan – I’m trying to purchase books for the Nook that I know the Commander would have no interest in.  Books he would like, I’ll put on my Kindle so he can read it on his Kindle, too.  And besides, I was raised on “Dark Shadows” in high school and college.)  On the other hand, you can download samples just as you can with the Kindle.  I downloaded 22 pages of a Charles Todd mystery and started to read that and realized shortly that it was a book I had already read.  I’m glad I started with the sample because it saved me $9.99.  It should be mentioned here that not all the e-books available from Barnes and Noble can be “read in-store.”  I’m guessing this has something to do with publisher agreements.

The e-ink readability of the Nook is just as nice as that of the Kindle.  I do agree that the screen refresh rate seems slower with the Nook but I didn’t find it terribly frustrating.  What I DID find rather distracting was having the colored navigation portion of the screen “blacking out” on me.  It does this to conserve battery power.  But maybe because I was trying out different features, I kept having to awaken it, which got annoying.  I also noticed that the battery was going down faster than on my Kindle.

I took the “Quick Tour” of the Nook both with the little booklet that comes with it and online and didn’t have any big problems navigating around.  I will say that I keep wanting to “select” things by just touching them but with the Nook, you have to touch the circle icon.  I’m just too spoiled with my iPhone technology.  I also could NOT get the “swipe” feature to work.  Supposedly, when the bottom portion of the Nook is blacked out, you are able to change pages by swiping your finger left to right or vice versa in the blacked out section.  It didn’t work for me no matter how hard or softly I tried to “swipe.”  Next time I’m over there with my Nook and see a clerk at the demo counter, I might ask them to show me what I’m doing wrong.

I like the ability to see the covers of your books down in the bottom portion.  It’s just a cool feature.  There are several other things that the Nook can do which I haven’t put to the test yet.  With the latest software update, you are supposed to be able to jump to different pages in a book.  My Nook also has a Web browser but I haven’t tried that yet AND it has Chess and Sudoku on it.  I’m looking forward to playing Sudoku with it though I suspect I’ll be spoiled by my iPhone version as well with it’s nice tutorials and “hints” features.

Putting the Nook to sleep and waking it up is easy – just a push down on the top button.  You have a choice of screensavers, including authors, quotes, and nature backgrounds.  I believe you can also install some of your own pictures on it to use as screensavers.

The Nook holds up to 1500 books – a fantastic amount for any reader.  I tend to have 4-8 on my e-readers at a time and then I send them back up to Amazon.  Don’t know if you can do this up at Barnes and Noble.

I mentioned “lending” books to others.  The rub is that you can “lend” one of your purchased e-books to another Nook but it’s only for 14 days and while the other person has it, you can’t access it yourself.  With my Kindle, I can have 5 electronic devices registered to my account and we can all be reading the same book, if we so desire on them.  Hence, I can download a book to my Kindle and also put it on my iPhone and the Commander can download it to his Kindle also, since it is also registered to my account.  Great feature!

That’s all I’ve explored with the Nook so far.  I’d say that the Nook is fine if you are near a Barnes and Noble and enjoy visiting it often.  But if not, I’d say the Kindle still wins in the battle of the e-Readers.

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