Sunday, January 02, 2011

Nook Color: First Thoughts

I have been thinking about buying an e-reader or a tablet for a little while and finally decided to buy the Nook Color. I bought it in Florida last week so I could play with it while on vacation.

My main reason for buying the Nook rather than the Kindle was that I wanted to be able to download a variety of e-book formats and not just ones available from Amazon. (My basic view is that the Kindle will be the betamax of tablets if Amazon keeps it proprietary.)

My main reason for buying the Nook rather than the IPad is that I wanted something a little lighter and smaller for travel and I figured that if I really needed the fuller computing possibilities, I would bring my laptop to wherever I was going.

So far so good. I am too cheap to actually buy any e-books so I have been reading only free stuff. So I have been mainly reading books published before 1923. I read the free sample Barnes and Noble classic edition of Dracula (never read it before), and I've been enjoying Wilkie Collins' obscure Armadale.

I'm basically making a gamble that more books will become available in e-book format, that public and university libraries will figure out good ways to lend them, and that publishers will price them so that people will want to actually buy them.
I am especially hoping that academic publishers will figure out a way to price e-books like paperbacks and not like hardcovers. Otherwise, I am going to be spending a lot of time on airplanes reading 19th-century novels.

I've also been transferring pdf's from my computer and reading them. A few of the files won't open so that's worrisome. I have to do some investigation to see why. Most work fine, though.

And the only other problem is that there is no support for Hebrew (unless embedded in a pdf). So no Hebrew web-browsing and no Hebrew in epub (google books). But Hebrew in a pdf (e.g. books scanned by works fine.

The web browser works fine although it has the same problems that a smartphone has--too small a screen for most websites (although the screen is bigger).
I looked at one youtube video and the quality was ok. You're not going to want to watch movies or tv shows on the Nook, but a short video will work.