I recently decided to buy an e-reader, which is somewhat uncharacteristic of me. Frankly, I like books; I always have. My husband probably wishes I liked them less, because every time we move we end up with plenty of heavy boxes of them. However, I bought an e-reader because we are planning to move to South Korea within the next couple of months, and it seems crazy to me to either analyze and decide which books we want to bring with us when we go (suitcase space will be at a premium), or to not bring any, buy some, and then get rid of them when we leave. Of course we’ll probably end up bringing or buying a few, but I like the idea of not having to worry about what cookbooks, references or favorite novels to take with us, and instead being able to store the books I want on this little device.
I bought my Nook a week or two ago, and so far it’s been great. Here’s a short pro/con list as far as functionality goes; and I’m sure you could find better reviews elsewhere, but these are major points that I would make:
– Fairly inexpensive ($139 for the e-ink version I bought)
– Touch screen (Amazon’s Kindle that is priced similarly does not currently have this)
– Long battery life, especially compared with a laptop
– Can read multiple document types, notably PDF and EPUB files (EPUB is used for public domain/free books found online)
– Amazon’s website is much easier to use than Barnes and Noble’s website
I must write a little bit about e-readers in terms of development and current usability. I feel that right now, publishers, retailers and other businesses are definitely not maximizing the opportunity they have to offer good services and products to customers using e-readers. Right now, if I want to download a book to my reader, it’s rather expensive – on average, most books (not in the public domain) cost $9-12: not much cheaper than a paper copy. Obviously publishers still want to make a profit from what they produce, but considering the fact that an e-book is just a digital copy, I would think they would be significantly cheaper or have better special offers. So far I haven’t experienced that. I also can’t use coupon codes and such when buying books from the Barnes and Noble website. I think I can buy books from Amazon, but I haven’t looked into it yet; I’ve just been trying to understand the B&N system.
There also isn’t a whole lot out there if you can’t afford to buy books frequently. I was really hoping to find some sort of online lending service (where you can lease and borrow e-books for free or a small fee), but from what I’ve seen these are not very developed or are restricted in some way (such as only allowing particular books, or only allowing Kindle users). I also have been looking into borrowing e-books from my local library, but neither the Moscow or Twin Falls libraries have this service yet (apparently it is expensive). I’m hoping I can use my parents’ account for the Las Vegas library system, as they’re more likely to have it.
There are free books you’ll find online – mostly classics that are public domain. This is good, but it really is limited. And sometimes even current well-known books don’t have an e-book version available. And sometimes if they do, it costs more than the paper copy! Also, I’ve found other people mentioning online that the B&N website has lots of free books, but they are mostly garbage. Apparently most anyone besides me who owns an e-reader likes trashy free novels…
I’m not trying to complain about it all, though. I guess I just see a lot of potential for options that doesn’t exist yet. I’m still glad I got my Nook, and I really think that since the number of e-reader users keeps growing, there will be more options within the next year or two. Currently I’m aiming to enjoy my Nook and get the most out of it that I can while being frugal and finding the best options for using it.