- Consumer Electronics & Personal Gadgets
Why Buy a NOOK?
Why should you choose the NOOK instead of another eReader?
Why buy ANY eReader?
Well, Constant Reader, like you I am a life-long reader, a compulsive always-a-book-in-my-purse kind of reader. I love books.
I love the feel and the smell of a traditional paper book. I'll never give them up. I'm Bookish, okay?
So the idea of an eReader never appealed to me.
...Until I planned a long traveling vacation. As I packed my suitcases I realized that I'd need to haul my usual 300 pounds of books along (plus the extra 200 pounds I'd buy on vacation) and... well, I sighed. It was then that I realized that, though I loved the books, I sometimes hated the weight and bulk.
That's when it occurred to me that there might be just the tiniest little light-weight advantage to owning an eReader.
Boy! Did I feel like a traitor. But, you know, now that I own an eReader I find that it does NOT replace my beloved paper books: it is just a very useful supplement to them. This is not true of EVERY eReader, however.
I did my homework, I compared brands and models, and I discovered that for my purposes the NOOK was the absolute best choice. It has features - and compatabilities - other ereaders do not. This Lens will explain...
Free NOOK Reading App
Download a FREE reading app for your mobile device that gives you access to every book in the NOOK world!
- Barnes and Noble NOOK Mobile Apps
Seriously. Free access to umpty-thousand books on any device you prefer.
"Books are no more threatened by Kindle than stairs by elevators."
- Stephen Fry 1957-
The NOOK Simple Touch - I Own it Myself
I recently had to replace my original, basic NOOK after about two and a half years of medium-heavy use. At the time I was a bit annoyed - I like things to last! - but after only a week I was reconciled and now I'm positively glad it died... so I could replace my older model with the newer NOOK Simple Touch.
It is a GREAT eReader.
It is lighter, smaller, easier to use, and the software modifications are (mostly) for the better. Internet access has been removed - except for a permanent link to the mother-ship Barnes and Noble, so you can easily buy new books. That's actually an improvement too... using my old NOOK to, say, check email was a terribly frustrating experience. (If you want more of a tablet, with internet etc., then you want one of the fancier NOOKs.)
But for a basic, dedicated eReader the NOOK Simple Touch is the best on the market: it's inexpensive, reasonably tough, and extremely well thought-out for serious reader comfort. This NOOK is much lighter than my old one and fits nicely in my hands. Its touch-screen responds well to a thumb swipe to change pages, as do the click-buttons. The battery lasts a looooong time. It's a very easy to read machine: you can change fonts and font size to suit your needs and the e-ink screen doesn't glow and tire your eyes plus you can read outdoors - it's very close to reading a dead tree book. The next model up has a built-in reading light which is clever and seems to work well, but I don't happen to need it.
The "shelf" software system makes finding your eBooks pretty simple. There aren't many choices or complicated decisions to make. I wish there were a few more options there - because I'm picky - but it's just fine as it is. And books load more easily than with my old model. The link to the bookstore makes buying new books darn tempting (a design feature I suspect!), but you can still easily download books from other and even free sources through your computer. The ePUB format that NOOK uses remains the deciding advantage for me over Kindle because I want to read public domain and other books in that format.
All in all, I'm very happy with my new NOOK Simple Touch. I think it's the best eReader available for someone, like me, who is a plain let-me-just-read-in-peace! kind of user.
"Using It: The Simple Touch feels like it was designed to stay out of your way. When you pick the Nook up, the first thing to grab your attention is the rubberized, carved-out backing that gives your fingers something to grab onto. The feeling's akin to folding a magazine back on itself. And despite the shorter body, the screen is the same 6-inch Pearl e-Ink display as the Kindle 3, so the text is plenty big, sharp and contrasty. Also, the Nook is light. It feels more or less like a small book. Even after an hour of reading, you'll hardly feel fatigued or bothered having this thing in your hand."
A very complete review of hands-on use of the NOOK.
As a Constant Reader there are several points that make or break the utility of an eReader:
1) READABILITY - e-Ink seems to be the answer here. Unless you do a lot of reading in the dark - when a lighted screen may be necessary - a reading screen that does NOT glow, that comes as close as possible to the traditional ink-on-paper experience, is going to be the least tiring for your eyes. NOOK uses e-Ink.
2) SCREEN SIZE - The bigger, the easier to read. Being able to adjust text/font size may also be a concern. NOOKs all have reasonably sized screens - with the newer Touch having the widest screen. Possibly too big for purse storage? Text/font size can be adjusted for NOOK books, though not other formats.
3) CONTROLS - Are controls easy, intuitive, and pleasant to use? Both the older and newer NOOKs are among the simplest to use eReaders.
4) SIZE and WEIGHT - We all want a reader that's easy to lug around. Isn't that the whole point? My NOOK fits in my purse and lives there: dozens of books always ready when I want them. (Well, except for a little warm-up time.)
5) COST - Paper books can be pretty cheap - eBooks should be too.
6) FORMATS SUPPORTED - When figuring the cost of an eReader, it's important to factor in not just the cost of the reader itself, but of its books. This where, for me, the NOOK becomes vastly superior to the Kindle (probably the most popular eReader).
NOOK SUPPORTS ePUB.
This is a HUGE advantage. Why? Because ePUB is the international standard platform and one of the most important formats for indie writers and internet archivists, including Project Gutenberg.
And Project Gutenberg is the Mother Lode of free eBooks online. If you enjoy 19th century novels, if you love Dickens or Twain, if you're a devoted Janeite, all these riches are available FOR FREE from Project Gutenberg. Sure, you can translate these using calibre or other programs into something Kindle will read... but why should you have to?
NOOK also supports PDF files, which may be important to you. (I often read new scripts in PDF format, so that capability matters to me.)
This flexibility of publishing formats has allowed me to build a big free library of favorite classics as well as a purchased library of newer books. Very recently, it also allowed me to BUY A BOOK BEFORE IT WAS PUBLISHED!
A favorite author made the pre-publication "early reviewers" e-version of her next book available to fans before the official publication date - so I was able to read her eagerly anticipated next novel MONTHS before it appears in bookstores. For a fan, this is a huge perk!
LONGEVITY: My NOOK has now lasted a little over two years... but is beginning to get a bit buggy, dumping its memory twice in the last two month. I'll keep you posted.
UP-DATE: It died. But I love it's replacement NOOK Simple Touch (see above).
How to choose between them?
For this Christmas season the New NOOK choices from Barnes and Noble are:
NOOK Simple Touch with Glolight
NOOK Simple Touch
The concensus seems to be that the NOOK Tablets - NOOK HD+ and HD - provide a great reading experience, but are somewhat limited in apps compared to other brands. Barnes and Noble's NOOK seems to be continuing their concentration on READING...
To me, that's exactly the right emphasis. My personal selection criteria are explained above... what are yours? What features are most important to YOU and your life?
More on the latest NOOKs below, but, in case your budget is smaller, older models of NOOK are still available on Amazon. (I've left older reviews of these on this pages as a help.)
Dream Come True... - Read e-ink in the dark!
A simple little refinement of the NOOK eReader makes it nigh perfect, I say.
Now if only they'd make it bath tub proof...
Recent NOOK Reviews
Here are a few examinations of the newest NOOKs - a sampling of reviews.
- Techradar Review
NOOK HD - its pros and cons.
Another positive look at the NOOK HD.
- Techhive Review
"the Nook HD+ continues the Nook tradition of providing a great reading experience. This tablet enters a crowded field, and yet it manages to deliver terrific value."
- Digital Trends: Kindle versus NOOK
The main source for the newest NOOKs is, of course, direct from Barnes and Noble... but sometimes you can find a deal through Amazon!
NEW! the NOOK Tablet - Here's a Review
This lens doesn't really go into the pros and cons of the various tablet form readers - concentrating on pure reader-readers. But here's a recent evaluation of Barnes and Noble's Tablet compared to the Kindle Fire.
- CInet review
Product review with video.
NOOK - color
Color. Gotta love color. This eReader thinks it's a tablet. But, again, for a dedicated eReader color (like email or web stuff) just isn't a compelling requirement for me. If, however, you plan to read magazines color might be essential to you. So might true internet capability.
But if it's a tablet you want, then you probably want the latest model, the true tablet NOOK (more on that below).
Best Reading Experience + Tablet Essentials
Advanced VividView 7" touchscreen
Over 2.5 million books, magazines, interactive kids' books available
Must-have apps like Angry Birds, top music services, & more also available
Tablet essentials email & Web w/video
Coming Soon! TV Shows & Movies from Netflix and Hulu Plus
Coming Soon! NOOK Comics including the largest collection of Marvel graphic novels
Free NOOK support in-store
If what you want, Constant Reader, is a basic eReader that's comfortable and easy to use - capable of holding a large library of (largely FREE) classic or other ePUB format books - then the the NOOK Simple Touch or the older, basic black & white, original NOOK is for you.
If you're also interested in email and other internet functions, you'll want to compare other tablets and readers to the NOOKS.
I must admit to a certain philosophical preference for the NOOK because it is a Barnes & Noble eReader rather than an Amazon or electronics corporation device. (A strange preference given that this page sells through Amazon!)
1) Generic electronics corporation eReaders are fine - excellent even - but if the book world is going to change, then I want my dollar to go to guys who stacked books on shelves, guys who are booksellers at heart, not appliance dealers. This isn't a toaster! this is a (virtual) BOOK. Let the book folks prosper, I say! That decision leaves Amazon's and Barnes & Noble's dueling eReaders. Of those two, Amazon, wonderful as it can be, started as an internet book retailer, while B & N started out as a brick-n-mortar college bookstore, did some publishing, and later on added web-retail. They've paid more dues.
2) I believe these different starting points give B & N a better understanding of readers as bookish-people, like me and you. That NOOK supported ePub and PDFs from the beginning, suggests its first focus is on getting books to readers. Amazon's original Kindle-book-only stance, late adoption of PDFs, and continuing refusal to support ePUB suggests to me that they're more interested in exclusive sales than in books. (Their Orwellian removal of Orwell books from some Kindle owners as part of a copyright issue is another little question mark for me on the freedom-to-read issue.) This may not be a big issue for you - perhaps the paying-dues idea is sentimental - but easy ePUB capability was a deciding factor for me.
3) Another interesting issue is the support for indie writers and publishers: B & N started their PubIt! eBook self-publishing program before Amazon started theirs... and give publishers a bigger cut of the profits too.
4) LATEST NEWS: Apparently Amazon will no longer allow an author to sell their book for free - the lowest price is now 99 cents. (So when an author like Seth Godin tries to spread his book - free - as widely as possible he has to bypass Amazon to reach Kindle readers. Crazy, huh?) And I have also read recently that Amazon will put a book on sale without the author's permission, or even notice to them, then reduce the author's share of profits...
I more and more get the impression that Amazon is not truly book or author friendly.
Barnes & Noble NOOK Store
There are actually fewer models offered through B & N's NOOK store than are available from Amazon. (Weird, huh?) But these are the latest models - you'll want to check them out.
- Barnes & Noble NOOK Store
THE place for the newest NOOKs.
A Useful New Nook Review
Here's a thorough hands-on review of the NOOK Touch, the $99 intro-NOOK. This seems to be exactly the bare-bones I'm-a-serious-reader e-reader that I've been looking for!
A click-by-click page-by-page comparison.
And FREE eBooks
Their mission is to put the world's literary treasure on-line. For years now, book by book, the noble, untiring folk at Project Gutenberg are adding public domain titles to the internet for FREE download by anyone, anywhere, anytime.
There are riches here. Pure Gold.
Find Mark Twain, Machiavelli, Plato, Freud, Jane Austen, and the deductions of Sherlock Holmes. Chase white whales or windmills... Travel with Charles Darwin on the Beagle or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with Jules Verne.
Click on the pic to read some of the greatest books ever written (and some very obscure ones!) courtesy of Project Gutenberg. And, while you're there, maybe donate some time or money, eh?
Carrying a library in your pocket? You might want to protect it. (Remember what happened in Alexandria!) Buy a sturdy, protective cover for your NOOK!
A cover helps protect your eReader.
And protects better if it's a cool color!
Splashy NOOK Protection
Just because you're reading from some new-fangled expensive eReader instead of a paper book does NOT mean you have to give up reading in the bathtub!
Try this water-resistant eBook cover. What a great idea!
(It's ever so much classier than the big Zip-Loc bag I've been getting by with. Maybe I'll up-grade!) And as at least one reader has pointed out, the book-in-a-bag idea works rotten with a paper, ahem, "real" book because you can't turn the pages!
UP-DATE: The NOOK Simple Touch fits better in that zip-lock bag! Cheap water resistance.
"Outside of a dog, an eBook is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it shorts out."
- Groucho Marx-ish 1890-1977
More Splash Resistence
Other colors and prices, but the same good idea: Bathtub Reading Rules!
For NOOKs and other gear.
Enjoy the Bath and the Book!
What could be better with a relaxing hot bath and a good book... then bubble bath?
lavender helps you fall asleep. (So can a dull book.)
Can't read in the bath all the time.
For the best - most detailed and comprehensive - comparisons between eReader models look here. Terrific resources!
- Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which eReader should you buy?
A very comprehensive comparison of eReaders.
- iPad vs. Kindle vs. NOOK
A handy comparison chart!
"The oldest eBooks are still only just out to those who have not read them."
- Samuel Butler 1612-1680
NOOK on eBay
What does eBay have for the NOOK today? (Always a surprise.)