Nook Simple Touch: initial impressions

by gorthx

I received a nice little bonus at work earlier this year, and instead of SAVING! IT! ALL! like my mother would have me do, I put most of it aside and decided to use the rest on a new toy. I’d been eyeing e-readers for a while; I thought they’d be great on camping trips. My main hangup about e-readers was that I’m a die-hard library user, and my local library has no support for linux users of e-readers.

Then I read this and decided I could probably figure it out.

I chose the Nook Simple Touch because:
– the e-ink is easier on my eyes than an LCD tablet
– wireless is good enough; I don’t need books with G4. Yet.
– it has long battery life
– I can get an additional memory card
– the marketing copy said “no annoying ads”

First things first: I’ll be the judge of which ads are annoying and which aren’t. The main screen has a “buy this stuff at B&N” bar across the bottom. And…it annoys me. I haven’t tried the comparable Kindle, so don’t know how its ads compare.

The nook has a pleasing texture and weight: the finish is pretty grippy, and it’s lightweight, but not so light that it feels chintzy.

The QuickStart guide seems to require two taps/button pushes to turn the pages. This was a bit disconcerting as it was the first thing I tried to read, and I thought I had a defective product.

You can specify which set of buttons should handle forward & back paging, but you can only do that in the pre-specified sets of top & bottom buttons. Originally this bothered me; I would have preferred to have forward on the right and backward on the left, imitating the touchscreen. Now that I have actually used this, I like it just fine the way it is.

For the first week I wasn’t sure I was going to keep it, but then it started to grow on me. It definitely is nicer to hold up in bed than a hardback. I’m sure it’ll be great for traveling, but there are a couple of things that could be better:
– I think I want a slightly bigger screen than this offers. I keep trying to turn it sideways to get a bigger viewing area, as if it was a smartphone.
– the ink sometimes looks like a bad printout; this seems to be dependent on the individual title, and may be due to an OCR glitch.
– titles I exported as .pdfs had really strange problems with the rendering; I kept getting ‘pages’ with only one line on them.
– which reminds me: the page numbering is funky sometimes, like you’ll be on page 8 for 3 page turns.
– also, on the .pdfs, the only things you can change is the text size (at least on the titles I had) and the two mid-range options were “slightly too big” and “OMG what is with the 6-point type?”
– I would like an app that could connect me to goodreads. Although I don’t want to type in my scathing reviews on the touchscreen.

As far as actual reading materials, my local library has two options to check out materials: library2go, which I covered in a previous post, and ebrary, which I haven’t experimented with much yet. Supposedly you can download entire ebrary books at one fell swoop, but I’ve only been able to find the ‘one chapter at a time’ method.

For material with no return policy, there is The Gutenberg Project. The method for uploading is pretty simple; just import them to ADE and copy them over.

Purchases from B&N [1] are very easy, just copy them straight to the nook: NOOK/My Files/Books. Eject the nook, hit the nook button, select ‘library’, then ‘books’ in the drop-down. Your book should be there. I tried using ADE to transfer the titles initially, and got the ‘document is licensed to a different user account’ error message.

I’ll follow up in 6 months when I’ve had time to more properly road- & camp-test this thing.

1 – first book purchased, of course, was The Bloggess‘s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.

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