Friday, October 22, 2010

Digitize Me

It’s been a bit longer than I wanted to go without posting something, but three weeks isn’t as bad as my seven month hiatus, so I still have hope for reviving The Romance Girl’s Guide.

Today I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon of doing an e-reader review. Almost all the romances I read (as in 99%) are mass market paperback. Admittedly, I’m unlikely to switch to reading mainly digital. I love holding books, looking at their covers (yes, even the awful ones that give our genre a bad rep), flipping through the pages, turning to the back and reading the uselessly vague blurb, and even the clutter as the books spill off the shelves into boxes and across the floor. I know that sounds sarcastic, but I mean it. As a librarian’s daughter, raised around books all my life, I love the physical experience. Am I a format snob?

Despite all this, I definitely see the value of owning an e-reader. Going on vacation and trying to stuff a suitcase with the books I want to read has always been a pain, and bringing back the books I buy and absolute headache. And despite my ongoing defense of the genre, there are just some days sitting on the bus I don’t want to be seen with that cover. On top of that, more and more there are romances that aren’t even being published in print.

For my high school graduation I was given a first generation Kindle. Even with my hesitations about digital printing, I was incredibly excited. Since then I have only used it to read a small handful of books. This hasn’t been because of any unhappiness with the Kindle, but mainly because I already have a huge pile of TBR books that I already own and a really bad habit of walking into a bookstore and not walking out empty handed (I do not seem to be alone on this). Also, my freshman year of college I left it at home and decided not to ask my mother to mail it across the country. And if I’m truly honest, there has always been some ignorance on my part about the vast world of digital printing. Now years later my Kindle has collected dust and has trouble keeping a charge.

A few days ago a friend of mine lent me her Nook for some pleasure reading. I have NookStudy on my laptop for rented textbooks, but I had never used the actual reading device. I have to say I liked it. So I’ve decided to do a comparison between my experiences with my outdated Kindle and my friend’s Nook and see how they match up.

My favorite aspect of both the Kindle and the Nook was the screen. Neither had backlighting, and text size could be easily adjusted, so my eyes were never strained. Personally I think this is the most important aspect of an e-reader, as what I really want to do is read my book without any distractions. A slight distraction with the Kindle was the placement of the page turn buttons. They take up the entire side of the reader, so if I wasn’t careful where I rested my thumb, I was suddenly flipping through pages. This wasn’t too big a problem as my Kindle was in a case, but I can see how this would have been a problem for someone who was just holding the Kindle itself. I liked the page turn buttons on the Nook much more. The small solid buttons just required one firm push.

I was impressed with the battery power of the Nook. After reading an entire book the charge didn’t seem hugely affected. I won’t comment too much on my Kindle. It never seemed to be able to keep a charge for long periods of time, and definitely can’t now, but that might have more to do with age and my inability to learn about power settings.

Personally I found the Kindle easier to navigate. It uses a keypad and buttons, whereas the Nook used a small touch screen at the bottom portion of the device, which didn’t always seem to respond to me or do what I wanted it to do. Maybe it just took practice.

I asked my friend and found out shopping from the Nook is just like shopping on the Kindle. However, she said she always had trouble downloading books from a wifi location, a problem I never had.

If someone came up to me today and asked, “Whaddya think? Should I get a Nook or a Kindle?” I really wouldn’t have an answer. I’ve had great (if limited) experiences with both, and haven’t even gotten to check out the newer Kindles. What I can say is that, while I still love my paperbacks and clutter, I should get over my fear of the unfamiliar and start exploring the world of digital publishing, beyond the obvious stocked shelves of Amazon and BN. After all, a book is a book, and I love ‘em any way I can get ‘em.


  1. You were really liking that nook. Can't wait to read your next reviews.

  2. Thanks for your input!! I will keep it in mind if I decide to go digital!