Um, no. Not THAT nook. No, this is about my big experiment with an e-reader.

I always thought that I was wedded to the book as a tactile object as well as a reading experience.  I read about 250+ books/yr, and around 800 words/minute. This means I tend to have issues traveling, because I have a large pile of books to haul about.  As a user of a small rural library,  keeping enough books on hand from the library to amuse myself is sometimes a problem.

So, I was interested in the concept of an e-reader.

I bought a Nook, rather than a Kindle, mainly because I am a cheap bastard.  I go to the library, rather than buy books.  And while the library carries PDF or e-Pub format books, they generally don’t have mobipocket books, the proprietary format for the Kindle.

Additionally, not only am I cheap, I’m LAZY.  I couldn’t be bothered to deal with upconverting files into the format the Kindle requires.  So, I bought a Nook a while back, and here are my thoughts.

I discovered I love e-books. They are actually nicer than paper books, since you can lay them flat and drink coffee, and there are no bookmarks for a “helpful” cat to chew on and remove.

As someone who uses library books almost exclusively (did I mention I was a CHEAP BASTARD?), I really appreciate that the book I’m reading doesn’t smell like smoke, doesn’t drop a mound of dandruff or hair in my lap as I turn a page, and doesn’t require me to drive down to our tiny library during the 3 hours/day they are actually open and pick up an interlibrary loan book.

If you want to read 2 books simultaneously, not a problem. Nook remembers where you left off reading in both.

Don’t like the font of a book? Change it. Type too small to read? Make it bigger.

The Nook is indeed wonderful for traveling (although you can’t read during takeoff on a plane-grrr!), and it greatly reduces clutter by storing all your books digitally.

E-books rock.

BEWARE.  The Nook is a gateway drug.

I have bought more actual books in the 8 months I’ve had my Nook than probably in the last 8 years.  Why? Because if you are reading book #2 in a series, and it’s good, and the library doesn’t have book #3, with a Nook you can have book #3 in your hand IMMEDIATELY. Without having to even put on pants.
Instant Gratification and pantslessness.
What more could you want?

Well, with reference to the Cheap Bastardy mentioned before, I could want to not spend money the way I have been tempted to do. Get thee behind me, One Click Buy!!

Ahem. Anyway.

The design of the Nook is ok; it took a while to get used to the touchscreen, and I still have problems swiping in the proper direction to make the pages go forward, not backwards. This is probably because I am an old fart and haven’t been properly iPhone-trained like all my students.

The 3G is BS. The download time for just the B&N online store is CRAP.  However, it’s hard for me to know if this is because I live in the middle of nowhere where I rarely have a cell signal, rather than over-promising on the part of Barnes and Noble.
I can say that the online book shopping experience via the Nook is pretty dismal. I almost always go online via computer and buy anything, simply because navigating around the bajillion random menus to TRY to find a genre similar to what I’m after is useless.  Looking for a historical mystery? There isn’t a category for that shopping via the Nook.

Within the category “Mystery and Crime” you get 5 choices: Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, Multicultural Fiction, Police Stories, and Other.  There are 1,260 books listed in the “other” Category. Most of them are books authored by Carl Hiaasen and Janet Evanovich, whom I love, but that’s not what I’m looking for!!  Ugh.

Also, WTF is wrong with B&N that they can’t have the name of the actual book SOMEWHERE in the file name that you download? I have 20 books with random character strings for titles. It’s ridiculous.

The sad truth is, if I had it to do over again, I would probably get a Kindle, simply because Amazon has a better selection of e-books, and a better website.  The B&N website sucks eggs.  Amazon wins hands down for organization and selection.*

I don’t regret buying my Nook, thought, and I’m really looking forward to hauling it along with me on a long trip to the Upper Peninsula next week.
Since I mentioned accessories in an earlier post, I should point out there are lots of fun skins for your Nook, but alas, not many insects other than butterflies.**


*Why Yes, I am linking to Amazon in the hopes they will send me a Kindle to review.  Should I restate the Cheap Bastard Issue again?

**Everything you could possibly want to know about other E-readers is covered at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!


  1. I checked out the Nook at a B&N when we were down in colorado. In my line of work, I do a lot of reading, and a lot of it from PDFs, so I was looking for something that would read PDFs. I asked the sales lady if it would work in Canada, and she said “Yes, as long as your bank is American.”

    Oh well. So much for that.

  2. QuestionAuthority September 16, 2010 at 8:28 am

    Hey BG,

    What would you say the average long-term cost is for e-books via Nook or Kindle? I’m sorta looking at the readers because the last time we moved, we had 6,000lb of books. A little excessive, even for us.
    Some of my books will be kept for sentimental or detailed photography resons, but I’m sure many of our books could go to the library, vastly increasing our available space.

  3. misadventuresofme September 16, 2010 at 9:44 am

    LURVE my Kindle. I didn’t go with the Nook because of the financial trouble B&N is in — I wanted to make sure that what I’m buying is going to be supported — ref how quickly the market for Oldsmobiles dried up once GM announced they were killing off the brand.

    Navigation is not swipey-swipey. There are buttons placed on the edges of the unit to advance and recede in pages. PLUS the Kindle has a nifty “experimental” feature that will allow it to READ TO YOU using text-to-speech. (When is this useful? Think “long drive.”)

    Of course, a few months after I bought mine, they introduced the new version and dropped the price.

    The only thing I don’t like about my Kindle is the keypad with super tiny, children’s aspirin-sized buttons. They make note-taking difficult. :-(

  4. The first thing I think I’d do with an e-book is download scads and scads of stuff from Project Gutenberg. They have a lot of books that I’d like to read but have never seen in hardcopy, and I doubt I’d actually get around to *buying* any books for a long time, maybe not for years.

    So, if you don’t mind my asking, what’s bringing you to the UP? Work, personal, or are you coming up for the Fall Color season? The leaves are just starting to change in the northern Keewenaw Peninsula now, and the change should be down to us in Houghton in another week or so.

  5. @misadventuresofme the nook also has page-turner buttons, left and right side. The swipe feature is an additional way to turn the page, with the buttons being the primary. And the text-to-speech on the Kindle is neat, if you like a robot reading to you, I guess. The Kindle’s keyboard is one of the primary reasons I chose nook. I do not have a good track record with tiny buttons on electronics and figured the touchscreen keyboard would be more my speed!

    @Bug Girl the 3G connection might be bad because of where you are. I live in a metroputan area and am able to download/view books in seconds.

  6. My wife has the Chapters version called a Kobo. She loves it and the 100 free ebooks you can access with purchase. She must be even cheaper than you, though, because she insists on trying to read all the free books before buying anything new (must be a marketer’s nightmare). Her fave raves on Jules Verne and monologues on how Huckleberry Finn is better than Tom Sawyer almost make me want to get one, but in theory, except for the odd Thackery, I’ve already read most of the free books. Or at least someone with my name and a library card did long ago (but from what I can remember he doesn’t look like I do now, so perhaps it was an imposter). I think I’m going to hold on to real books a bit longer – at least when I think to check the bookshelf first, I’m less likely to order another copy on Amazon.

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