Back around the time the Barnes & Noble nook was first announced, I was somehow drawn into the whole nook-is-horrible-no-it's-not debate. As it hadn't even been released yet and no one had actually played with one, I couldn't understand why passions were running so high. You can read my original post here if you like.
Fast forward to the present and not only has the nook been released, but it's already had some updates as B&N works the bugs out. Nothing revolutionary about that, as I remember the Kindle having several bugs in their early design as well. And they all seem to be overshadowed now by the iPad. (Just a quick aside, does no one use focus groups to test names anymore? What is a Kindle anyway? And nook? iPad? Puh-lease! Even I couldn't resist the bathroom humor!)
Anyway.....thanks to the generosity of a very good friend, I recently had the opportunity to play with a nook. She lent me an ebook, and the nook it was on so I could try it out. What a nice friend. Waiting for her to ask for a kidney or my car or for me to paint her house in return. Or it could just be that she's just a nice person. I'm betting she needs a kidney though. (just kidding T!)
Have to say that the nook is very pretty in person. Very sleek, slick, and streamlined. Lightweight. Not as bulky as the Sony eReader. More professional looking than the Kindle. Think the nook wins hands down in the Best Looks department.
As for the reading experience itself - not bad. My borrowed nook had a cover, so it was like holding a paperback. As it was lightweight, I don't think the coverless nook would be awkward to hold either. You could turn the pages by either clicking the button on the side or swiping your finger across the small bottom screen-thingy. Swiping was fun at first, but I wound up using the button most of the time as my thumb was already there.
The book was easy to read as I could adjust the font as well as the brightness of the screen. Still needed a light to read by, but so does a paperback. The only thing I didn't care for was that I couldn't quickly flip through pages to check something. For instance, I thought that a character had left town, so I wanted to flip back to check. Only seconds with a paperback, but I had to go page by page with the nook. Small annoyance, but still.... Another annoyance was the touchscreen keypad. Hard to use if you have fingernails. Assume it would be hard to use if you had fat fingers as well, as those buttons were tiny. I wound up using the side of my pinkie finger, and my nails aren't even all that long!
What's my final verdict? I would happily use a nook if someone bought it for me and gave me gift cards for the ebooks, but otherwise? No thank you. While the nook was fun and I can see it's appeal, I don't like the whole idea of ebooks. Right now, when I'm finished with a paperback, I have multiple options available. I can put it on my shelf, donate it to the library, give it to a friend, trade it for a new book, or list it as a blog giveaway. My money has purchased a physical product that I own and can do with what I will. I can't do any of these things with an ebook. It reminds me a little of leasing a car; you have the use of the item but don't really have anything to show for it.
Do any of you have an ereader? What do you think of it? I get the convenience factor, but are there other features I didn't have time to explore? Curious what everyone thinks!