Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Using an electronic reading device.

Have you used an eBook reader?  Recently it was my turn to try out the Barnes and Noble Nook that our Director, Jan Dempsey, purchased.  The Nook was passed to me just as I was leaving for a week of vacation on South Padre Island.  (Librarians have some job perks.)

On a scale of 1 to 10 for intuitive functionality, I give the Nook a 7, mainly because downloading an eBook from OverDrive to my computer, and then to the Nook was a bit bumpy and took some patient "try this and that" time.  Also, the control buttons, and the power on/off button are not as quickly understood as one might wish, and depending on the button are either not as responsive or too responsive to the touch. 

The Nook has its own rhythm to which you must adapt.  One staff person quickly brought it back to pass on to the next person because the electronic page turning was too intrusive into the reading experience.  It does take a while to become immersed enough in a story to ignore the Nook’s slight page turning pause.  There is no showing off the thick book you are reading since an electronic device will not divulge that information to your neighbor on the train or at the park.  Then again, you do gain a sense of privacy about what you are reading since there are no exposed covers.
The battery on the Nook lasts a long time.  I read all of The Help by Kathryn Stockett, 451 pages, without having to charge the battery.  The battery life is longer if you put the Nook in airplane mode, i.e., turn off the wireless.  The Nook comes with an AC adapter for USB 2.0 cable. This was a happy discovery since I forgot to bring my iPod charger.  The Nook adapter worked with the iPod cable so I was able to charge my iPod too.
The Nook has 2 gigs of internal storage, but has the possibility to expand  up to 16 gigs via an SD (secure digital) card. 2 gigs is about 1500 books.  The 6-inch eInk screen was easy on the eyes with the ability to enlarge or shrink the size of the letters.
On the whole the Nook was a good reading experience.  I'd like to try other devices like the Kindle and the iPad, and would eventually like to own an electronic reading device.  It was great for travel, and would be ideal for a college student short on living and backpack space, or for someone who moves house a lot. 
So, as one of my colleagues asked, "When do we get more devices for our electronic petting zoo?".
Reviews of the Nook: CNET Nook review 
Features of the Nook Barnes and Noble

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