Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sunday Salon: E-Reading Refined

The e-reading forces converged on me this week, and I am pleased with the results.

Setting the stage was the rise and fall of Amazon and Borders (respectively) and the looming issues about big/small business,  print/virtual books, and the change in how the publishing industry is working in general.  I've been a customer of Amazon's since the dark ages (well, 1997) and have been a fan of the discounted prices and prime shipping, but the more they've grown, the more I've grown disenchanted (and the more my children grow, the more brain cells I have to be able to put towards conscious shopping decisions, which--as it turns out--is a good thing).

Second,  I finally signed up for NetGalley--something I'd resisted because I have enough books on my TBR as it is, but decided to do in order to increase my chances for getting ARCs I'd actually enjoy (a problem I seem to somewhat plagued with)--and realized that I might run into some problems with Kindle compatibility.  Reading on my computer screen really isn't an option for me.  My eyeballs get tired enough as it is.

Third, Unbridled Books, one of my favorite small presses, teamed up with independent booksellers this last weekend and offered 25 e-books for 25 cents each.  I couldn't resist, unsurprisingly, but was so excited that I didn't do my research before buying the e-books, and discovered that Google E-books, (when in encrypted, non-PDF form,) are not compatible with the Kindle. Grr.  It really isn't about the $6.25 I spent on 25 books I wouldn't be able to read...it's irritation that a company as huge as Amazon would seemingly have their customers a bit lower on the priority list than the all-important dollar.

And THEN: Barnes & Noble released their Simple Touch Reader--an e-ink, touch-screen, e-reader that has not only addressed all the issues that made Kindle a better product than the previous Nook, but has done so at a very reasonable price.  I've had my Kindle2 for 2 years, and got to experience a friend's 1st Edition Nook in March, and I have to say that Kindle was far better for usability and battery life.  In the Simple Touch Reader, however, the battery life has been improved, the touch-pad response time is much quicker, and the unit is much more compact (while retaining the same screen size).

The straw that broke the camel's back was Belle.  She mentioned on my post about the Unbridled Book Sale that she was thinking about buying a Nook, even though she already owned a Kindle, and the rest--as they say--is history.  I simply couldn't think of a reason why I shouldn't.  My household is very technology minded, and my husband has been known to upgrade computers and game systems fairly regularly, so why can't the e-readers get in on the action as well?

It wasn't the easiest thing in the world to figure out how to get my Google e-books onto my new Nook, but before long, it was loaded, and I was up-and-reading.  I'm supposed to be reading Beloved (for my book club which is hopefully not tomorrow night) but couldn't not read something on my new toy, so I started reading Small Acts of Sex and Electricity by Lise Haines (not brilliant so far, but entertaining nonetheless).

I'm itching to get off the computer and do some more reading, but before I bail I thought I'd make a quick list of the features that have finally caught the Nook up to Kindle in my estimation:
  - the battery life: it looks like it is now actually comparable to the Kindle
  - weight: the Nook is no longer the heavier option
  - full touchscreen/e-ink combo: best of both worlds (& the e-ink is crisper than the Kindle2)
  - page turning is not only quicker, but done with less effort--a simple touch or swipe on the screen
  - highlighting, adding notes, and using the dictionary are now much quicker and simpler
  - more text options: fonts, sizes, margins, line spacing--personalize it!

After one day of reading, I'm fully aware that I may still be in the honeymoon phase, but so far I am very impressed with the new Nook.  I love the smaller size and the simpler, quicker navigation.  Not to mention that I now have options for obtaining books.  I still adore seeing books on my shelf (and nightstand, and end tables, and anywhere else I can stack them up) up the Simple Touch Reader is a great way to read.  It made for a pretty fun weekend, too. :)

10 comments:

  1. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Did you see my comment on your Unbridled Books post?!?

    I bought a Nook too!

    I bought the cheap 1st edition because I had present this to the other 1/2 of my financial well-being and he agreed to the cheap Nook as a way to take advantage of the $6.25 deal.

    Yahoo - Melody! Yes, it was a long intensive process getting my Nook loaded with those lovely, gorgeous books (especially with two young men prowling around my chair waiting to go somewhere). But I am sitting here in my post-buying haze, as happy as any little camper.

    Belle

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  2. Having many different ways to read is not overkill. I have a Sony eReader and a 2nd generation Kindle. I also have Kindle for PC and Kindle for Android...plus I have Nook on my android and I have lots and lots of ARC's to read also...Am I a fanatic?? Maybe, I just love to read...!!! So I think that anyway a person wants to read is great as long as they read!!

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  3. I'm sure I'm late saying this, but I love your new layout!

    I also updated my Kindle with a Nook (last year). I had a first edition Kindle, which I loved, but found that I really like the Nook better. Not to mention I do most of my book buying at Barnes and Noble (sorry everyone, I love Indies and try to frequent them, but I happen to be in an area where the closest Indie is about 25 minutes away and B&N is 5). So it felt good supporting them by getting and using their e-reader. Have you figured out how to upload galleys to your Nook? You use Adobe Reader (all of the instructions are on the Net Galley site). It's SO useful!

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  4. I'm going to ignore this post as there's no way I can afford a Nook as well as my kindle! :P

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  5. I'm envious! I have the first generation Nook and I love it, but this Nook looks like everything I love about my Nook plus so much more. NetGalley is amazing. The Nook and NetGalley make the perfect pair. Enjoy!

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  6. Belle, yes! It's your fault you know. :) And I'm totally happy with the results!

    CelticLady, see I should have known that I'd be in good company--book bloggers understand the necessity of options. :)

    Wallace, I felt the same--it felt good to be able to support a book store I can actually walk into. I haven't read any galleys on it yet, but I have a nice stack of Unbridled Books. Adobe really did make the transfer simple.

    Tiny Library, absolutely...carry on...nothing to see here... :)

    readerofthepack, I really do think that this Nook is an amazing product. If you don't need apps, cell coverage, music, colorful illustrations, or audio options, this is the best thing out there. I'm looking forward to finding some books on NetGalley to read on it!

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  7. I'm jealous! I'll have to see about downloading those books on my android app.

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  8. The flexibility of file types was the #1 reason I chose a Nook. I've been lusting over the new Simple Touch version, and think I might have to take the plunge one of these days. I still read regularly on my Nook, first gen, but the new version is quite tempting given its light weight and battery life.

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  9. Heidi, I'm looking forward to getting to know Unbridled books a bit more. The ones I've read so far have all been very different from each other, but they've also been more unique than mainstream fiction, which I enjoy. We'll see how these ones are!

    Andi, I'm really loving the Simple Touch. I haven't been much of an e-reader in the past, but this might change that. I was totally sold on my Kindle before, but this is even better. :)

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  10. Yay for the Nook!! I still have my old one, which I love and sometimes use my ipad as a reading device, but overall, I like have the e-option now.

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