My nook arrived from Barnes and Noble on Wednesday. I did actually have my husband take pictures of the unboxing, but after looking at them, they’re dull even to me, so I’ll spare you. The thing came well padded and packaged in this hard plastic case thing that actually had instructions (that were necessary) on how to get it out. So I follow all instructions, pull stuff out, plug it up to charge, and look for the instruction manual to read while I’m waiting.
Naturally, the manual is on the actual nook, which annoyed me, as I like having a paper manual with an index to check out while I wait for crap to charge. I’m a contradiction like that.
Then I figured out that I can still turn it on and play while it’s charging, so I booted it up, got it registered, got it set up on my home wireless network, then I set about starting the Fictionwise club membership Pot bought me for Christmas. My first purchases from my wishlist on there were:
- The Devil Inside by Jenna Black
- The Demon’s Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow
- Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
After a few minutes of struggle (because I hadn’t found the preloaded instruction manual yet), I figured out that I could use Adobe Digital Editions to load these onto the nook (it does not come with any kind of proprietary software). Because these were not purchased from Barnes and Noble, they actually show up under a different section. Under My Library you have both your Barnes and Noble library and then a section called My Documents. This is where all the non-B&N material goes. Then it’s a matter of using the nav buttons on the bottom screen to pick what you want to read.
So my initial observations of reading on the nook:
- eInk technology is weird. It really does look very much like paper. Even though I knew in my head that this thing wasn’t backlit, I really had no concept of what it would look like. I think I was still envisioning something like a laptop or iphone screen. Not so. You do actually have to have decent reading light to read it. But that’s not a bad thing, I don’t think.
- Page turning. You can turn pages either using the arrow buttons on the sides or swiping a finger on the bottom screen. I prefer the buttons, as the finger swipe method seems inconsistent. I prefer being able to use just one hand to hold and punch anyway, so that’s fine with me. Some people criticized the nook as having a very slow page turn. Maybe it does, but it’s about the same speed at which I could turn a physical page, so again, not a problem for me.
- Formatting. So far this is my biggest criticism of ebooks. Since ebook readers apparently do not have a standard screen size, there can’t be any truly standard formatting. So when it does its magic to put it in a font that’s legible size, it loses all the paragraph indentations. There’s usually a space between paragraphs, which is adequate, but annoying. From talking to owners of Kindles and Sony ereaders, they do the same, so this is apparently just a problem with ereaders in general. I will note that the preloaded Barnes and Noble content (Pride and Prejudice, Little Women, and Dracula) did not have this problem as, I’m sure, it was formatted specifically for the nook.
Still, I spent some time reading the first chapter of Halfway to the Grave before bed. Then I turned the thing off and went to sleep. When I got up at breakfast yesterday morning, I turned it on again, disappointed that it takes a full minute to boot up. And then I found that it hadn’t saved where I’d left off with what I’d been reading. Big annoying.
Well then I went and read the instruction manual (which you can print off if you’re like me and want a physical copy).
Mistake: You don’t turn the nook off. This was counterintuitive to me, but call me a novice or something. Apparently it’s like a cell phone. You’re supposed to leave it on and charge it when the charge gets low. So there’s no waiting for it to boot up every time you want to read. It goes to sleep, then you tap the power button and it’s more like 2 or 3 seconds to wake up and pick back up where you left off.
So the next thing I wanted to try on the nook was library ebooks. This was the deciding factor in my purchase of the nook, so I checked something out, downloaded it and popped it on via ADE. This worked beautifully, so I’m very pleased (despite the fact that my library has a lousy selection of cozy mysteries in ebook form).
In the course of reading the instruction manual (and I skimmed the entire damn thing because I didn’t know the search term to use for what I wanted), I discovered that you cannot highlight or annotate PDF files. You can on EPUB and PDB, just not PDF. I have no idea why. This is not necessarily a HUGE thing, but I had hoped to be able to put PDFs of current projects on the nook and take notes on stuff. I had also suggested my boss buy one to keep up with all the professional journal articles she reads and takes notes on (which are in PDF). So I’m glad she never got around to it. I think this is something that might perhaps change with future firmware updates.
You also cannot BOOKMARK PDFs, which I find really strange. I can bookmark (and annotate and highlight) the hell out of a document in Adobe Acrobat. But I can’t even put a bookmark in a PDF? I have not yet figured out whether, with the lack of bookmark, you will be able to get out of a PDF, go into another book, then come back to the same spot on the first PDF. I’ll check that later and let you know.
Overall I am happy with my purchase. Happier still that with gift cards, I didn’t spend but $150 of my own money. I think I will have access via the library and Fictionwise to books that I likely wouldn’t find easily in a used bookstore and would be less inclined to pay complete full price for (I am in love with micropay). And then there’s that whole instant gratification thing. I wonder if I can turn my chocolate addiction onto ebooks?
Anyway, I don’t think this will ever replace reading regular books for me (at least not until they fix the formatting issues), but it has its own place in my library and will be fabulous for travel.