I’m a tech geek. Not, you know, insanely so, but I love my laptop, can’t live without my iPod, would make out with TiVo if it had lips. But even more than gadgets, I love books. For a decade, I’ve been totally unable to convert to e-books. I have books by authors I love that I’ve never read, because e-books don’t suit my reading style. But I figured that would change. I mean, I’ve only ever read on my computer (too stationary), my husband’s old Palm (too tiny and ugly), and an eBookman (also ugly, gave me eye strain, and drained batteries like it was sucking rum and Coke on Friday night).
So I’ve had lustful feelings for the Kindle and Nook, while looking at them askance, like you do the hot-yet-disreputable dude who just moved to your high school. (I’ve never been attracted to the Sony eReader, as they don’t carry my books.)
So I was in Barnes and Noble today, and they had a Nook on display. This was the first chance I’ve had to see one in person. It was kind of cool, for about 30 seconds. E-ink really looks like paper, amazingly so. And at first, it was lighter and a little easier to hold than I expected. I couldn’t grip it by the sides, as my hand isn’t big enough, but I braced the back against my fingers and held the edge with my thumb on top. Then I tried to use it.
You’ve got to give a display model a little slack, but on the other hand, I’d expect to handle a Nook as much as the public does. So it was super disappointing to try to turn the page. Watch the screen flicker and go distorted, then flick back in focus. It was anything but smooth. In fact, it made my eyes go buggy, and I only did it twice! And it was slower than turning a regular page is. Combine that with the page containing about half the text (though I could probably change that), and I think I’d find it supremely annoying.
Finally, after my minute and a half of usage, my hand and fingers were starting to cramp, and I couldn’t navigate the menus one-handed. Some of that would change as I learned how (I didn’t find it very obvious or intuitive, the arrows on the touch screen never did what I thought they would do), I’m sure. But I read hardcovers one-handed, and they weight a helluva lot more than a Nook. An e-reader shouldn’t be uncomfortable.
And while my experience should in no way impact anyone else—my anatomy and preferences don’t automatically translate—the $259 price tag is effective cold water on my attraction.
So I guess I’ll just keep buying my friends books and failing to ever read them! Sorry, friends! :(