Monday, March 26, 2012

Why We Chose a Nook

While we’re off traveling this week, Terry and I are planning to fight over share the Nook. We bought it in November using a fantastic teacher discount. Ours is the most basic version, but Nook Color and Nook Tablet are also available. I thought I’d offer a little insight into this little device for anyone who might be thinking of going electronic.

Let me start off by saying that I struggled immensely with the decision to shift to e-books. I love to read and majored in English literature, so obviously the feel of a book in my hand has always been dear to me. I love smell of an old book, the crinkle of a page, the crack of a book’s spine when you first open it. More importantly, I destroy my books—in a good way. I highlight, underline, write notes, dog-ear pages. I don’t care if books get wet or sit in the sun too long or fade in color or have food all over them (known to happen with me), because it all shows how much I loved them.

Okay, moving on from my ode to books, I also had to get realistic. Terry and I travel—a lot! It was becoming difficult to pack so many books on our trips, and I would get frustrated when I brought a book on a trip with only 50 pages left to read (and then it just took up space) or when I couldn’t bring a book because it was so bulky. A Nook allows you to load up as many books as you’d like without adding weight or taking up space in your luggage.

Honestly, our decision to buy a Nook had nothing to do with cost. As my husband says, “A book is always a good investment.” I love that attitude, but it also meant that a trip to Barnes and Noble or any used bookstore meant we bought at least one book to add to our collection. The problem? We live in a tiny apartment! We have one giant bookshelf, one small one, and a few nooks and crannies where we stuff the leftovers. At least three times a year, I go through our stash and purge the shelves of anything we won’t read again or probably won’t ever read, and I haul it all to Good Will. Still, we were accumulating more than we could store, and it was beginning to be a problem. Once again, a Nook was a space saver.

So why the Nook and not the Kindle? Mainly, I wanted to jump on board with the fact that Barnes and Noble was jumping on board with e-books. As I said, I love going to bookstores, and Terry and I have spent hours upon hours perusing shelves in happy silence. I want to make sure bookstores still exist when we have kids so that we can take them to the children’s section and let them choose whatever they want. By choosing a Nook, we are forced (happily) to purchase all of our e-books through Barnes andNoble’s website, so we’re supporting them.

Other benefits of a Nook (some of these features may also be available on the Kindle):
  • The screen truly looks like a real book, and you can read it in any light you could read a real book (on the same note, you can’t read it in the dark, the way you can an iPad).
  • If you have an iPad or smartphone, you can download your books between devices. So I can read on my iPad while Terry reads on the Nook, or I can read from my phone if I’ve left my Nook at home. Bonus: The devices can sync so that you pick up on your iPad where you left off on the Nook without having to remember the page number.
  • You can still highlight, make notes, and bookmark (virtual dog-ear) pages. It’s just that these notes are neater, more organized, and easily accessed compared to handwritten notes scribbled in margins.
  • You can look up the definition of most words without needing to access the Internet (a dictionary is built in).
  • As long as you turn off the Nook when you aren’t using it, the battery will last for weeks.
  • There are several cute cover options (obviously a priority). We chose the ampersand/question mark cover. 

We still buy real books, especially reference books, health/fitness/food books, and anything we think we might read again. All my classics are the real deal, and I’m a big fan of buying beautiful, old, used versions of my favorites.

Not exactly my favorites, but okay. (Source)
We also still love bookstores. Old ones, new ones, big ones, small ones. My favorite in the world so far is Shakespeare & Company in Paris; its tiny, crowded spaces and historical significance gave it a charm unmatched by any store I’ve seen. I have every intention of loading our future house with dozens of bookshelves and thousands of books (a la Beauty and the Beast, perhaps?), but while we live in LA in a tiny, one bedroom apartment, the Nook satisfies our desire to read without imposing on our quality of life.

Do you have a strong opinion about e-books?

What’s your favorite bookstore?


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