Thursday, July 14, 2011

Nooks, Kindles, and eReaders...oh my.

I like technology for the most part. That being said, there are some gadgets that I just don't think I could use. Most people accept that I'm not a big fan of touch-screens, which is why I haven't jumped onto the iPad/touch-screen device bandwagon. But the one thing that people are always shocked I don't own is an eReader.

They're just completely baffled, especially if they know how much I read. They get this look on their faces like they've landed in a parallel universe. If they're in my room, they just gesture wordlessly to my overflowing bookshelves. They explain to me that that is the one thing they'd think I would use the most - wouldn't it be easier than cramming eight books into a suitcase for one-week vacation?

Yes, it probably would. But the thing is - they're not REAL books.

And this is where it all goes downhill. People smile, nod and back away slowly, because I am clearly crazy.

Maybe I'm exaggerating a bit, but not much, because the makers of kindle have recently created commercials that pretty much mock people who prefer real books. In the advertisement, someone points out that a kindle isn't a real book, and someone else explains that the kindle is just like a real book, but better, and the other person is just being silly.

1. A Kindle is not a real book. It might have some nice features, but it's not a real book.
2. Amazon has just lost a potential sale.

I know, I'm getting awfully worked up about this, but Amazon made fun of something I take very seriously. It's not like I'm launching a campaign against kindles and the people who have them, I'm just refusing to buy one myself.

Still, even though they're not real books, even I have to admit that eReaders are pretty cool, and I've been thinking off and on about buying one. Since the Kindle's out, that leaves me with the Nook from Barnes & Noble, which I was leaning towards anyway. It's from a major bookstore, which makes me feel better - don't ask me to justify my reasoning, it just doesn't bother me as much that it's not a real book when it's from a place that's focused on selling real books.

There are a couple of problems, though, that I still have to work through before I buy one.

1. I just don't know if I can get over the it's-not-a-real-book thing. My friend Cynthia has a kindle, and she said that the lack of a cover really bothered her. They do make covers, which you can open and close, but still, you only read words on one side of the cover, where the nook is, so I don't know how much that would actually help.

2. I love my bookshelves dearly, and as odd it might sound, I enjoy organizing them. I can always store my potential nook in it's cover on the shelves with the other books, my system is based on genre, and with a nook, I would have books of all genres in the same place, and I wouldn't be able to separate them. The only thing that I can think of that would make it okay is if you can organize books on your nook by genre, or rearrange the order however you want. It wouldn't be quite the same, but it'd be better.

3. I don't know if it's going to be cheaper in the long run; I haven't compared a lot of prices, but for example, "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin is the same price in paperback as it is in the electronic format from Barnes & Noble, and since I'm a member, I get free shipping. The nook is $139, or $249 for the nook color, while my 5-shelf bookcases are $35 from Wal-Mart.

4. I also go to the library quite frequently; while I've read through quite a few of the books in our public library, there's still the school library, which I really haven't even started on yet.

5. I also lend books to my friends a lot, since I have a ton, and I couldn't do that with my nook - even if there was some software that enabled this, none of my close friends have nooks, so it wouldn't be that useful anyway.

6. Plus, there's the simple fact that it's an electronic device and so it just has some inherent problems. How long is it before there's some virus for nooks or something else that causes them crash and I lose my books? No danger of that with my shelves - the only 'crash' would be if they fell over. I haven't been able to experiment with a nook or kindle to see if it really is possible to have no glare in the sun. Plus, since it's wifi enabled, you wouldn't be able to use it on an airplane when it was taking off or landing. Even though I don't fly a lot, it's still something to consider.

As you can see, it's going to take a lot of thinking and research to decide if the pros - instant downloading, the ability to take more on vacation without packing an extra bag (my purse is currently big enough for short trips - something else the people at Kindle like to poke fun at) and that it would save space overall - outweigh the cons.

I'll be looking at a lot of reviews and doing some research; I'll keep you posted on what I find and how it affects my overall decision.


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