Friday, December 18, 2009

So This Nook Thing

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! :(

14 comments:

MJFredrick said...

I've not seen the Nook but I noticed the same flickering with the Sony. That would drive me nuts. I read on my iPhone and LOVE it. LOVE. Yes, the screen is small, especially since I crank up the font, but the screen changes without distracting me, and I like the back-light. I've not read in daylight, outside, but I still do have enough real books to keep me happy awhile. But all my new purchases are on the phone.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

You've talked about that, and certainly the multitasking ability of an iPhone makes it a better value right now. But I didn't like the size of the eBookman, which has a bigger screen, so I have to figure I wouldn't like the size of the iPhone. BUT I bet it wouldn't be that hard to adjust to, with the right motivation. :)

MJFredrick said...

To be honest, I started reading with novellas, but I've read several full-length books now, and it's great.

I've only heard of one person, Marianne Arkins, who has a Nook and likes it.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Wow, she must have jumped right on it to get it before they sold out!

Wait. That doesn't really make sense, does it? LOL

MJFredrick said...

She was one of the very first to order and got it this past week.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

So she's one of the reasons it sold out so fast. :)

MJFredrick said...

Yup ;) She runs a review site, so her use of the Nook is for the greater good!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Definitely! :)

Cindy Procter-King said...

Natalie, would love a review on the Kindle. We can get them in Canada now. Not that I can afford one. And a netbook is on my list first. But maybe in a year or two...

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

In a year or two, they'll probably have totally new stuff! LOL

Chango said...

The screen flicker killed it for me.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hi, Chango!

Since I wrote this post, I got a Kindle for Christmas. The screen flicker is quick enough that the ink has changed in the time it takes me to go from the bottom to the top of the screen.

A friend just ordered a Nook, and said a software update has made that screen flicker faster, so hopefully it's tolerable now.

Do you read e-books on something different? Or stick with paper?

Chango said...

I'm still hunting for an e-ink based reader, but currently read on my iPhone using Stanza. It's a great application and the backlighting allows me to use it in dark conditions, but I'd be willing to give that up in place of a larger unit that doesn't cramp my hands. I've considered the yet to be released iPad which could fill many needs/desires, but I think e-ink would be much more pleasant.
It's good to hear about your Kindle experience. I will give them another consideration.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Yeah, I've had all those same thoughts. :)

I did a full review of my Kindle here:
http://gabwagon.blogspot.com/2010/02/kindle-report.html with all the pros and cons, and my friend with the Nook is at shannonstacey.com. Though I'm sure you could find user reviews of the Nook via Google--I don't think Shannon even has hers yet.