Like a Good Book? Might Want to Grab a nook™...

With all the media focus on Apple's iPad tablet computer over the past few days, I thought I'd give a shout out to an equally impressive piece of technology that was, no doubt, one of the inspirations for the design of the iPad. I'm talking about a Barnes & Noble nook™ eReader. I was recently able to spend some quality time with one, which is my way of saying I got to "paw" a new piece of tech equipment and take it for a spin. Let me tell you this: I liked what I saw.

The Barnes & Noble nook™ eReader is something you might not think about in your daily routine. What is it? Well, in the simplest of terms, it's a digital device that allows you to read books, newspapers and magazines without having the actual printed media in front of you. It has an "e-ink" display, which means that it is digital, but visually mimics the pages of printed material such as your favorite Harlequin Romance novel or newspaper. One thing that Barnes & Noble did differently with the nook™ as compared to other eReaders out there today, is that they included a full-color digital touchscreen display below the main reading display that acts as a virtual "bookshelf" so that you can flip through your library and choose what you're going to read, among other functions.

The size of the nook™ is deceivingly small, and surprised me when I first saw it. I was expecting a little more heft (not necessarily a good thing with mobile devices nowadays), and I nearly walked right by without noticing simply because of its diminutive size. Now, that is not to say that it has a screen as small as an iPhone (3.5in), and it is only slightly bigger than the size of your average paperback novel page, but at 7.7" x 4.9" (6" diagonal viewing area + 3.5" color touchscreen strip at the bottom) , I can imagine the nook™ wouldn't give me carpal tunnel syndrome to carry around.

A device like the nook™ can easily be handled and read from the comfort of your kitchen table, your easy chair or even lying in bed for a little light reading before you snooze. I think that's one of the immense advantages of devices like this; they're not only portable for you to take wherever you want, but they're hand-friendly enough to be used for long periods of time once you get to your destination. So, the next time you are holding both sides of your favorite book while lying supine in your comfy sleepy spot, think of bending your paradigm just a bit and how advantageous it could be to have a small, light, tablet-shaped device to read every one of your favorite books if you so wished.

As far as build quality goes, I'm actually blown away by the wonderful industrial design the nook™ takes on. When I picked it up, it seemed to have a bit more "substance" than its main competitor, and it wasn't riddled with buttons and switches like the aforementioned device, either. The "less is more" approach seems to have worked wonders in this situation, with very little marring the beautiful outside design. The nook™ has the right weight (12.1 ounces) for me to foretell very easy sessions reading books and news for most people. I can't imagine anybody really having too much of a problem holding it for long periods of time as compared to an actual book. Also, the option exists for differently-colored accessory covers and cases to suit each person's individual tastes in style.

So, what are the advantages of having one of these newfangled "eReaders" instead of a good old Louis L'Amour paperback in my back pocket? Well, let me count the ways:

  • Still very portable

  • Download books, magazines and newspapers over WiFi or AT&T 3G connections from the comfort of your own home, and read them instantly

  • Keep approximately 1,500 books on one device (try putting THAT many books in your pocket!)

  • microSD card expansion for even MORE books

  • Built-in MP3 music player & 3.5mm headphone jack (music or audiobooks)

  • Image storage and screensaver capabilities (jpeg, gif, png, bmp) so you can take your family vacation photos with you

  • Easily rechargeable for "up to ten days" of reading and perusing

  • Customizable font sizes (since some have poorer eyesight, and reading on small computer displays is more difficult with small text)

  • Over 1 million eBooks available, and more arrive every day

  • Louis L'Amour books are available in the eBook format!!!

The list goes on, but this gives you an idea of the power contained in this little guy. The nature of books in general has been changed forever by the advent of eBooks and eReaders. Authors and publishers have been fighting to catch up with technology over the last several years, and it seems that e-ink technology has given them the spurring they needed in order to leap onto the progress wagon. As technology advances, end-users have been clamoring for  more "instant-gratification," and I can't think of many other products that are more suited to fill that sort of gap.

The Barnes & Noble nook™ eReader is available online or in-store for $259.


  1. I really like it...but I reckon the iPad would fit the bill a bit better.

    In all honesty I prefer printed books, they're just better!

  2. Real, hardcover,honest to goodness books will always be my favorite...but that's because I am a new convert to technology.

    The mobility is the draw for me. The thought of having a book with me at all times is really tantalizing. To just be able to crack open my nook while waiting at the doctor or when picking up the child from school...who inevitably is running later than anticipated is a productive use of what would otherwise be un-used time. And that my friends is a waste. :)

  3. "To just be able to crack open my nook while waiting at the doctor...'

    I nearly fell off my chair when I read that...