In November 2011, I purchased a Nook eReader at Barnes and Noble. I wanted to be able to read TED books, which are available only as eBooks, and frankly, I was curious. What was all the fuss about? I read some books (about 11 that I purchased, plus a couple of library books), and there were certainly things I liked about reading on the Nook. I liked being able to adjust the font size. I liked being able to look up unusual words in the dictionary (when I reread Jane Eyre, for example, I looked up a lot of words I had just overlooked during previous readings). I liked the lightness of the Nook compared to a hardcover book–much more convenient to take on a trip or even on the bus.
There were other aspects I did not like so much, however. I sometimes suspected that maybe my Nook was not functioning properly. Sometimes it would “turn” too many pages at a time, and I would have to go back; the screen seemed was overly sensitive. Often when I looked up a definition or read a (foot)note, the “Go Back” button would vanish, leaving me to try to remember what page I had been on and necessitating numerous clicks to return to it. I never did figure out how to highlight and annotate text (Okay, I admit that was my fault for not reading the guide that came with it.). It was inconvenient and inefficient to try and move around within the book–to identify a character or remind myself of something I had read earlier. You are supposed to be able to do that using the Search feature, but somehow it was not intuitive, and I was always afraid I would be unable to return to where I was, because of the Go Back problem. Finally, borrowing eBooks from the library was complicated, and once one was “returned” before I finished it (no option to renew, and no warning! It just vanished.).
When I bought Playing with Media by Wes Fryer, a book which includes a lot of hot links, I was forced to read the book on the computer rather than the Nook, because my Simple Touch Nook has no Internet connection. But on the computer, it’s impossible to enlarge the font, which is by default quite small; I found it uncomfortable to read on the computer and never finished the book.
Several books I read had graphics which I was unable to enlarge on the Nook; it is not capable of enlarging graphics. This rendered some of the charts and tables unreadable. Was I supposed to use a magnifying glass?
Last week, the Nook “crashed.” I could neither turn it off nor unlock it. I took it to Barnes and Noble, where a nice young man named Jason reset it to factory specifications and reloaded my books. It appeared to work. But this was only temporary. Soon after I got home, the same problem happened again. Jason had explained that since I had declined to buy the extended warranty when I bought the Nook, my only remaining option was to purchase a replacement (he thought the company would discount it due to the circumstances). But I have decided not to replace it. First of all, I don’t think it was a quality product. Consider all the things I already didn’t like about it. And now it has died after only a year and a half of light use. If I replaced it, I wouldn’t dare turn down the extended warranty again, which would drive up the price (The Simple Touch still sells for $79; fancier models go for $119 – $269.). Sorry, but that’s too expensive. It’s true that it’s cheaper to buy eBooks than real books ($12-13 for most, $2.99 for TED books), but before I had the Nook, I rarely bought books anyway; I borrowed them from my local library.
Then there’s the thought that if B&N ever goes out of business in the future (a possibility: look what happened to Borders), all the books I have already purchased, plus those I would have purchased in the future, might be lost to me. Sure, I can access them on my computer (I just finished The Irrational Bundle on the computer), but the truth is, I don’t like reading on a computer screen. When I read for pleasure, I want to sit in an armchair or on a couch; I want to be able to read in bed. I hate reading sitting at a desk or table.
So thanks, B&N, bt no thanks. The Nook was not such a good deal after all. You can have it!