Aug. 17th, 2011

d_aulnoy: (Default)
Back during winter, I gave in and bought an e-reader.  Given the amount of traveling we do, it seemed almost practical - no longer would I have to schlep 42 paperbacks in my carry-on luggage to make it through a long flight!  No longer would I have to waste time abroad searching for English (or Russian) language bookstores to get me through my drought!

I settled on the Nook Color, because the Nook and the Kindle are currently fighting it out VHS vs. Betamax style, and, sadly, I think I bought the Betamax.  But that's not to say I think the Kindle is going to win, VHS-style.

Fundamentally, I think the Nook is a better device.  The much vaunted e-Ink technology upon which Amazon so prides itself?  Yeah, that irritates the pulp out of me, as a speed-reader.  I read roughly as fast as I can flick the pages, and the Kindle has a split-second flicker while the page loads that interrupts the reading experience and gives me an instant headache.  The Nook?  Doesn't.

Of course, there are other things the Nook doesn't have: for example, the ability to actually buy books when you're abroad.  I realize I should have read the small print on this, but judging by the sheer volume of internet bitchery from new buyers, it's really small print.  I don't know what number of their market share buys primarily for international travel, but it's a pain in the ass to have to decide before your trip which 42 e-books will suit (first world problems! look, just because I'm aware it's privileged doesn't make it less of a problem - not for me, but for B&N when they lose sales over it, as they will with each and every dissatisfied customer who spreads the word).  Basically, I wind up buying hard-copy books anyway (which, admittedly, as an addict-reader, I might have done anyway, although presumably they would have been books I loved and wanted to keep forever in foreign edition, or antiques, or somesuch, and not yet-another-airport-novel to get me through my flight), and that makes me a l'il less likely to bother getting a Nook again in the future, should mine suffer a terrible accident or should there be a miraculous technological advance.

Then there's the portable shopping issue.   This has been a good year for me, technology-wise: usually, I hold out on buying the new gadget until it is, in point of fact, the very old gadget (I'd be the person who finally got a Tin Lizzie in the days of the shark-fin Cadillac).  Not only did I get the Nook, but when my cell phone contract ended, I succumbed to the temptation to get an iPhone.  The iPhone?  Is totally worth it.  And, in point of fact, it's actually much better as as portable reading device, for two reasons: one, while I might dither on whether or not to toss the Nook into my purse for a long wait, there's never any debate on whether or not my phone is coming with me; two, the iPhone supports multiple platforms, and while I might hate the Kindle, I love being able to buy another book from wherever I am (and not having to download it over and over and over again to keep it in my library).  So while I still like the Nook, if I'm not actually on a trip, I use it primarily to read e-texts at home, and to conserve space by buying more e-texts in the future (btw: book-give-away party?  enormous success).  It's still useful, but not nearly as useful as I'd hoped, and not useful enough to inspire brand loyalty in me.  

In short: Nook, great device, terrible platform; Kindle, terrible device, great platform; iPhone, and, by extension, iPad, all-around-excellent.  If B&N had bothered negotiating better deals with Apple, they'd be my bet for winning the field because of their affordability.  As it stands?  If you're in the market, do yourself a favor, and go Apple. 

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