Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kindle or Nook?

I know that I should be concentrating on important issues, like the Greek crisis, or the Syrian crisis, or at least watching the remaining Republican candidates try to outdo one another in claiming the wacko vote ("let's ban birth control"). But, alas, I'm thinking about an eReader, one of those little devices that enables me to download books at the click of a mouse.

I read a lot and, while I admit that much of what I read is trash, I have been known to read serious books. Long books. Heavy books. I'm so well known at my local library that, when I hadn't been in for a couple of weeks, the librarian asked, with concern, how I was. I have "one-click" ordering at Amazon. I wept when I discovered that the co-op bookstore in Vancouver had gone out of business. Got it?

I've been resistant to eReaders. Reading a book requires "book feel." The heft, the smell and feel of the paper, the turning of the pages, the shoulder injuries that come from hauling around 700 pages in my backpack. All of that. But my friend A brought over a Nook for me to examine. All of the good things about eReaders were immediately accessible--the biography of Malcolm X by Manning Marable, the touch screen to open the book, the two ways of turning the pages, the experiment with touch to get to the footnote, the experiment with the dictionary (just touch a word and the definition comes up), the problem with the dictionary (instead of the word I wanted, I managed to touch "had"), the smallness, the lightness.

And now the cheapness. The basic Nook or Kindle costs $99. It's cheap. And Nook lets you get books from the library, so it's not as expensive as it might be. But then there are the books. They seem so much cheaper than actual paper books, and they take up no room on the bookshelf. It would take almost no effort to buy bunches of books. Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands. Books I would read, books I should read, books in which I might have a passing interest.

So now I'm looking at comparisons to see whether I want the Kindle or the Nook. Each has advantages--and disadvantages. But someone who does not do Facebook and has never tweeted is about to join the 21st century. More as the investigation proceeds.

Update: Friend A informs me that the Kindle also allows me to check out books from the library, and she's bringing a Kindle and a Nook Color for me to examine.

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