Thursday, January 07, 2010

Nook - A Proper Review

School has been back in full swing this week, but Texas is experiencing what the newspeople affectionately call an Arctic Blast (temps in the teens and 20s). I just think it's funny because it's TEXAS getting an "arctic blast." Anyway, we had some icy road conditions this morning. School is cancelled as a result and just in time! We had two, two-hour long orientations sessions scheduled for today, but those have been rescheduled, and I get to stay home, warm and cozy, read, and finish my syllabi. Woohoo! Ironically, Rocketboy and Rocketgirl still had school at their respective elementary and middles in our neighborhood.

On to books! I figured since I've been so excited to share my Nook'ness, I'd better give it a proper review. If you're thinking about buying an e-reader, this is the post for you!

Start with the good stuff...

It's very easy to navigate. The color touchscreen at the bottom has sections for "The Daily," "My Library," "Shop," "Reading Now," and "Settings." The navigation is very intuitive with draggable screens of options that you just slide your finger across or down in order to access . I was slightly worried that the backlit touchscreen would be a distraction since the actual reading screen is paper-like and NOT backlit. I was right! It is annoying while trying to read, but it also has various "sleep" settings so the touchscreen will dim and go off completely. I have mine set to less than 2 minutes, so now it's not annoying at all!

Downloads are REALLY fast! The first time I downloaded a book, I was slightly taken aback by how quickly it was delivered to my device. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I've downloaded a couple of free classics and one book I got with a gift card (The Help, Stockett). I thought it would take a few minutes to pull the file in, but I pressed "Buy" and boom, it was ready to roll!

Daily readables from B&N! I want to subscribe to a magazine or newspaper. I'm thinking of The New Yorker. Since I haven't taken the plunge yet, I didn't think I'd have anything delivered daily to my "The Daily" section, but you get a couple of freebies with the Nook. One is "Daybook" which is a "this day in literature" type of feature. I've enjoyed it very much so far. The other freebie is "Grin & Tonic," a daily humor column which I haven't been following daily. Usually I'm so impressed with Daybook that I don't even bother with Grin & Tonic. Oh, and one of the first things to pop up in the Daily was a welcome to Nook written by Dave Barry! Hilarious.

Easy to add files from independent sites. Honestly, who wants to buy every e-book from one company? For that matter, how wants to buy every e-book! Yesterday I was tired and cranky and didn't want to leave my all-day meeting and go pick up a copy of Mrs. Dalloway for the Woolf in Winter read-a-long. I checked B&N and Project Gutenberg and didn't find any copies of the book, but a quick Google search took me to another site--the name escapes me--and there it was! I downloaded the ePUB file at work, e-mailed it to myself at home, hooked the Nook up to my computer with a USB cord, and simply moved the file over. Voila! It works beautifully, and I have a freebie copy of Mrs. Dalloway for my read-a-long.

Compactness! Chuck plays pool two nights a week, and I'm in love with his (our) pool friends. Adorable gay men, builders, lawyers. It's a mixed bag. Their home base is a sports bar that we really like, so I went along last night since it was their last round of play for several weeks. Barstools are increasingly uncomfortable on my big, fluffy butt, so when I got tired, I dipped into my purse, pulled out my Nook, and spent some time on a well-lit leather couch with Emma. I know, I'm a party animal. It's very thin and holdable, and it doesn't bother me at all!

It's easily personalized! Like any other electronic anything these days, the Nook has a screensaver mode and has wallpaper. Users can add their own photos to serve as screensavers/wallpaper and there are some that come preloaded. I adore the authors screensaver that's preloaded, so I haven't changed it. Whenever the Nook goes into sleep mode a cute drawing of Kurt Vonnegut or the Bronte sisters will pop up and remain until you wake it up again. So fun!

Cool notes, highlight, and bookmark functions! I got really upset at the bar last night when the Nook seemed to have forgotten my Emma bookmark. As it turns out, Chuck had been playing with it and accidentally erased my bookmark. Luckily, one of the Nook's many cool functions is the ability to search for a word or words in the text. I searched "half-a-guinea" and I was right back where I'd left off. I've also tried out the highlight and notes feature which obviously allows for annotating favorite passages. You can also leave multiple bookmarks in any book.

The few things I don't like or that could use some tweaking:

I wish I could surf the net! As I recall from playing with my friend Susan's Kindle, it could actually surf the Internet. Nook has wifi capability which can be used in B&N stores for special features, coupons, etc. but as far as simply surfing blogs or whatever, Nook doesn't. It's a small price to pay, but it would be nice.

The battery life is not as good as advertised! B&N advertises that you can get 10 days of battery life if you turn off the wireless in the background. It certainly does save battery, but I doubt I'll get more than 5-7 days out of it. I leave the wireless on much of the time to catch the daily content, and so far it looks like I'll be charging every 4 days or so, but I'm also anal about letting the battery get too low. Same with my cell phone. Oh, and I also play with my Nook constantly. More than should be legal.

No cover included! Even if the cover wasn't that spectacular, it would be GREAT if the Nook came with one. As it is now, you have to buy covers separately. There are some designer ones, some lesser ones made of silicone, etc. On average the book-like covers run around $30. Designer covers can run as much as $89. Since I insist on carrying my Nook with me a lot, Chuck and I headed over to a large B&N in our area, and I picked up a pretty, black leather-like cover with the quote, "When I step into this library, I cannot understand why I ever step out of it," by Marie de Sevigne. It has some interior pockets included, holds the Nook securely inside, and opens like a book, so it's comfortable to leave the cover on while reading. However, it would be nice if there were something complimentary.

The Nook does a LOT, but this review is just the high points of what I like and what could still use improvement. I am totally happy with my Christmas gift, and so far I'm really OK reading it instead of a printed book all the time. It's a different experience, but it's not THAT different. Does that make sense? I'll be digitizing some of my book collection as B-Day (baby day) approaches to clear up some space, and I'm excited about it!


  1. "Oh, and I also play with my Nook constantly. More than should be legal."

    Pardon my 3rd grade schoolboy thought on this line...

  2. I'm so glad you're loving it. You know what's sad? I already have 2 eReaders, but I still want one of these!

  3. Os, why am I not surprised? lol

    Kathy, which e-readers do you have? The curiosity is killing me!

    LOL, Christopher!

  4. Woo-hoo! Your posts are making me super excited for Shipping Day (2/4, which feels like an eternity!).

  5. Thanks for posting a review! I'm still trying to decide what I want. Did you consider the Kindle or Sony readers? I'm on information overload after researching all of the options the past few days.
    But I definitely need to get something. I've been selling off lots of my books since we have to make room for the baby.

  6. Jill, can't wait to find out what you think of yours when it arrives!

    Pilgrim Soul, I did consider a Kindle (for a longgggg time) and I've looked over Sony Readers as well. I decided on a Nook because it seems to bring the best of both worlds together. I love that Nook has more expandable data capabilities with the use of a micro-SD card. I also like that it's tied to a large retailer because there are more books available for download, but you can also go out to the indie sites and comparison shop or add free stuff to the Nook easily. It seemed like a good middle ground.

  7. Thanks for this!

    I have a B&N credit card that I use for everything, and I get cashback (in the form of B&N gift cards) as a result. I have A LOT of gift cards right now. I might save them up and buy a Nook. I haven't decided yet, but I'm glad you like yours!

  8. I just got a Kindle last week. I haven't gotten as in depth with it as you with your Nook other than reading - yet. I absolutely love it. I'm wondering why I waited so long. Now I can read at the table, on the treadmill, etc. easily. Read, read, read all the time!

  9. P.S. I'm back reading The Help. I liked it, but for some reason put it aside for a while. I hope to finish it soon.

  10. Stop telling me great things about the Nook, for god's sake! I have to wait until MAY for my birthday to MAYBE get one. I've been dropping hints (I got my parents and my boyfriend and my boyfriend's parents the pamphlets that talk about the nook's awesome powers) but who knows if that's what I'll get.

    I'm jealous, Andi. ): I want an e-reader!

  11. Thanks, Michelle! And how cool re: all the gift cards. Sounds heavenly to me! I've thought about getting one when I pay off my current card.

    Kristy, I know the feeling. I waited a long time, too, and I love this thing. It's very handy, like you said, for reading absolutely EVERYWHERE. No pages to try to hold open. Woohoo!

    LOL, I'm sorry, Lena. I hope your birthday wish pans out for you. You would probably find great use for an e-reader of any type.

  12. I got a Kindle for Christmas, and I'm really enjoying your Nook reviews. I did a lot of research before asking/begging for a Kindle, but now that the Nook is actually in people's hands, the real comparisons begin. Thanks!

  13. Glad you're enjoying your new toy. I'll consider buying an ereader when they come down in price. I'm too poor right now, especially after getting my new laptop.

    I like how you laid out the pros and the cons. Very helpful!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  14. Thanks for the review! Of all the e-readers, the Nook is the one that appeals to me the most, but I figured I would hold off and see if they put Internet access on Version 2.0.

    Glad you're loving yours! (And I love the quote on your nook cover)

  15. I decided last night to order a Kindle so that I can try it out. Amazon has a 30 day return policy, and there's no restocking fee. I can play with the nook in the store since B&N only gives 10 days and charges a restocking fee. Can't wait to make a decision!

  16. Thanks, Nomadreader! Congrats on your new Kindle. I'm sure you'll enjoy it very much. I'm looking forward to reading more Nook reviews as it lands in more people's hands. Time will tell!

    I hear you, Anna. I realy need a new laptop, but it'll have to wait for a while now!

    Lesley, good idea! I was sold on First Generation Kindle way back in the day, but then I decided to hold off, etc. etc. As it turned out, I never got one (too cheap), so it was GREAT that this device came in the form of a Christmas gift. lol

    Good luck deciding, Pilgrim Soul! I hope you fall in love with one of them. :)

  17. I don't think I should have read this because now I am tempted!


    Saw this review (book about pregnancy and families adjusting to it, etc.) and thought of you.

  19. LOL, Kailana!

    Thank you, Lena! I'll definitely check it out.

  20. As an employee of B&N, it was wonderful to read your nook review, Andi. Rod has a Kindle, and I've only played around with it very briefly. I sat and played with a nook when we got our store demo, but I'm not as savvy as a genuine user. So, thank you!!

    I can't wait to hear your thoughts on The Help. Loved that book!!

    I haven't been commenting on blogs for such a long time, so rather than go back to older posts, let me just recap here and say CONGRATS on Chuck's new job!! What a relief, I'm sure.

    Loved your review for Does This Pregnancy Make Me Look Fat. I'll have to keep it in the back of my mind for a possible gift idea.

    Back to nook. Yes, it drives me crazy that B&N has named it nook. Not Nook or the Nook or our nook. Just nook. Ack!!!

    I just asked Rod about surfing the Net on his Kindle. He says you can, but it's very klunky. It doesn't handle a lot of graphic very well. And it doesn't handle anything with Flash. He says he wouldn't even say it's worth using, even to surf blogs. You're better off with a smart phone or laptop. You can subscribe to blogs that are formatted to be read on an ereader, but why pay to read a blog when they're free?

    Someone commented on another post of yours about the slowness of turning pages. We've discovered our demo works very slow in the store, compared to someone's at home. I think it's because our wifi is pretty slow in the store. Even laptop users have complained about the problem. I suppose it's time to upgrade our bandwith or whatever you do to speed things up (says she who knows exactly zero about wifi and network systems!).

    Enough already, right. Ta-ta and happy nooking! :)

    P.S. Stay warm! We're at a balmy 11! Whooohoo!

  21. I've heard the page-turning function is a little slow, that each page takes a while to load. Have you found this? Does it disrupt your reading?

    (I'm asking this like I am in any way financially able to get a nook. :P)

  22. Jenny, it hasn't been slow on my personal nook, though the demo in the store was ridiculously slow. I don't know if its because the one in-store had been pawed to death or what.

  23. Les, I'll get back to you in a few (in class right now). Many things to address in your comment!

  24. I'm so glad you're loving it. You know what's sad? I already have 2 eReaders, but I still want one of these!

    lingerie parties

  25. I bought myself the Sony E-Reader (model 600) as an M.S. graduation gift. I have 90 days to decide if I like it. Before I decide, I want to play with the Nook, so your info was really helpful. Like the Nook, my Sony doesn't have wi-fi, not even in a specific place. I can download free audiobooks from the library, or buy them at other sites. It did come with a basic, though lightly padded, cover, but it also needs a book light so I don't have to be sitting under a light to read. Cases with a book light run something like $ 50! Wha? Crazy. I like it, but definitely have to check out that Nook...

  26. I tried a Nook in the store over the weekend and could not get it to work at all. It was so slow and really beat up. You'd think if they wanted to sell more they'd at least keep a decent copy out to test.

    I see the advantage of having an e-reader, but it's like I almost need to buy them both to see which is better for me.

  27. Ti, the test Nook at my local B&N was a mess, too. I was a little worried in fact, especially by the slowness of the page turn. However, mine was already ordered (gift), and I'm pleased to report that it's NOTHING like the store version. Mine works great.

  28. To those of you waiting for your Nook, take heart, mine arrived 4 weeks early and I was SO overjoyed.
    I had a Sony Reader Touch and returned it for the Nook. The Sony was great but didn't have all of the bells and whistles.

  29. Also wanted to mention for those trying to decide the Sony 600 and the Nook, the Nook is much easier to read with more contrast on the screen. On the con side, the Sony never lost it's place when I went back to my book and the Nook has several times.

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