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Adorable Athie: Thoughts on my Nook

April 28, 2011

My hand/wrist/arm pain has yet to calm down, which is why I’ve been absent from blogging. I’m going to see if I can take a few advil and soldier on long enough to write a post at least, but it’s difficult to leave comments when one of your limbs is on strike! I miss you all dreadfully, although I’m still reading your blogs. I seriously resent my illness encroaching on one of my last remaining social/sanity outlets, so I’m looking into voice recognition software to see if I can get it working on my mom’s crankypants computer. Fingers crossed! -Eva

Thistle Approved!

Back when I posted about receiving Athie, my Nook, for Christmas, I promised I’d eventually write up my experiences. Well, four months into our relationship, I think I’ve gotten a sufficient handle on things! I definitely love Athie and am glad I got him, but I also think that the $100 price I paid (in a Black Friday sale) is just about right.

First a bit of background, so you have the context for my analysis. I am not an early adapter of technology; it took me years to begin texting, I still have no desire for a ‘smart phone,’ I find blu-ray dvds and giant flat screen tvs more than a bit silly and this new penchant for three-d movies disturbing. I feel no need to be up with the latest generation of technology and would be happy to find a bare-bones laptop that lasted me years with proper treatment. In fact, I have yet to acquire an mp3 player, since my discman from high school still works just fine. My sum total of electronics then would be my phone, my digital camera, my now-dead laptop (does that count?), and Athie. Before getting a Nook, I never felt terribly interested in the ereader debate; I didn’t worry that it was the ‘death knell’ for physical books, but I didn’t feel the need to replace my own books with an electronic version. That is, until I realised I could download classics on to an ereader for free! The idea of instant access to all kinds of out-of-print older books had me salivating, and I quickly put it down as a top Christmas present (I decided on a Nook over a Kindle because of its lack of proprietary issues). I even found myself sitting outside Best Buy in a camping chair at 1:30 in the morning, to help Santa get a better deal. ;)

I was a bit nervous about the whole ‘ereading experience,’ but it has turned out to be pretty much the same as reading a physical book. Since I got the normal Nook, with eprint technology, there’s no glare or eye strain, and I can read on it for hours without problems. There’s a bar at the bottom that lets me know how far into the book I am, which surprisingly completely replaced the ability to physical ‘feel’ how many pages I have left (before I tried it, I was worried that would drive me crazy). It took me a little bit to manage to make the pages flip by swiping the touchpad (I am *horrible* at using touchscreens), but now that I’ve mastered it I don’t even have to push the button. And this has turned out to be the unexpected best feature of Athie: he’s so fibro-friendly. I don’t have to prop him open or wrestle with huge hardcovers (the library tends to favour them, I’m sure for good reason, but difficult for my chronic pain), and I’ve found that during flare-ups in which I previously had to give up reading altogether, I can now still manage to read ebooks. There are a few things that are different: a page sometimes lasts more than one Nook ‘page’ (i.e.: I flip the page but the page number doesn’t change), footnotes aren’t handled well (the only thing that stopped me from buying the ebook version of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell), and of course I can’t just flip through the book to try to find a scene I’m thinking of when I can’t remember the chapter. But there are things that are good different too: I can easily mark a page/passage, I can bring along several books that I’m reading in one slim bundle (good for a polygamous reader like myself), and I find my eyes are more focused, since there’s less text for them to jump around on. I absolutely adore having access to a broad range of classics, and I’ve even been exploring Netgalley (I’ll save that for a future post). Loading all of those free books I get couldn’t be easier, I just break out the USB cord and add away! (I have yet to actually buy an ebook, so after the original $100, my reading has been free. I plan to keep it that way.) And on an aesthetic level, I love Athie’s looks. The packaging was nice and environmentally friendly, he himself is sleek and clean looking, but I have him in a traditional style cover that makes him look a bit like an expensive journal.

There are a few niggling issues I have, which I’ll share. I don’t like that I can’t turn the clock in the corner off; I’m not a big ‘time’ person, so I think it’d be better to have the option to make it disappear while I’m reading. I’m horrible at remembering to charge electronics, so I wish the battery life was longer (about five or six days I think). And he’s heavier than I expected (more than an average size hardcover book, although less than two books), so I don’t toss him in my purse if I’m going to be walking around a lot. And the footnotes thing, which I mentioned above; I’m a big nerd and love footnotes in paper books, so I’d like to love them in ebooks as well.

None of these are as important to me, though, as Athie’s fibro-friendly (and old books-friendly) status. Honestly, in my heart I still love paper books and think an ideal life would have both, but God my muscles are ereader all the way. If I’m interested in a book from the library and there’s an electronic version available, I choose that; that has only happened once so far in a non-classics case. So, the majority of my reading is still coming from physical books; the only time I read solely via Nook is when I’m having a bad muscle day. And there you have it! I’m quite happy to have an ereader, and it’s definitely enriched my reading life. So I encourage you to look into one, even if you’re not a techie. ;) And if, like me, you sometimes have physical problems with reading, an ereader could make your life much better.

Finally, I think the new Nook commercial is adorable:

Any other pleasantly surprised ereader owners? Or have you been disappointed?

36 Comments leave one →
  1. April 28, 2011 12:26 pm

    Oooo I want one now! I can’t imagine how much your hand an arm hurt, I have one hand which seizes up and aches a lot which annoys me when I’m trying to read and can’t hold the book open with both hands so this sounds idea, but I don’t have the money to buy many books – they are usually secondhand or acquired through bookcrossing or the library. I didn’t realise you could get free ebooks.
    Maybe a Christmas present want or something to save for. Hope your pain stops soon, I’ve been missing your posts x

  2. April 28, 2011 12:26 pm

    What a great review! And I’m so sorry to hear about your continuing flare; ugh. I might have to think about an e-reader. I’ve been very slow to jump on this bandwagon but maybe for my birthday this year in September. I’ll think about it. It might be nice to take with me for breaks at work and such. I am curious how it goes with the library books, however…

  3. April 28, 2011 12:32 pm

    I too have issues with fibro and chronic pain and the past few months the pain in my hands has been quite bad. This has made me love my kindle even more. It doesn’t weigh as much as a regular book and changing pages isn’t as hard.

    But like you I won’t give up physical books. I’ve just become more discerning about which books I buy in physical format. I was already leaning towards buying more used books or more beautiful book versions (I am currently in love with Vintage Classics). Books I know I will read again and again and again I do tend to buy in e-reader, I’ve read enough favourites to pieces in the past :D

    For me, apart from the pain issue, the biggest advantages has been in lugging books around (as it weighs less my purse weighs less :D) and being able to read at lunch, something I never managed before, partially because of the pain but also practically.

  4. April 28, 2011 12:41 pm

    Aw, Eva – so sorry to hear that your pain is interfering with reading and blogging. :-( I really hope you feel better soon.

    I have no immediate plans to purchase any kind of e-reader, but it’s interesting to keep up with different peoples’ choices, and what makes or breaks a reader for them. And good news that Athie is more fibro-friendly. I don’t even have chronic pain and I still dislike the penchant of libraries for heavy hardcovers. :-)

  5. April 28, 2011 12:48 pm

    I was wondering what happened to you! I hope the pain goes away so that you can read and type with no problems.

    So far I’ve pretty surprised by my ereader but a little disappointed in myself! I love being able to check out books from the library on my ereader but the problem is that I keep FORGETTING that I have ebooks checked out, so the books expired and then I have to go back on the holds list to read the book I just had. *sigh*

    I had no idea that the Nook was so heavy! I have a Kobo and it’s pretty light. My purse is huge but now I’m having a hard time fitting in my ereader, my notebook, and physical books so usually I’ll leave my printed books at home.

  6. April 28, 2011 1:11 pm

    I’ve just started getting pain from reading. I thought it was carpal tunnel from typing, but typing doesn’t exacerbate the pain, holding a book with my left hand does. It’s the same kind of pain as carpal tunnel, but it seems like I’m getting it from reading, not typing. I have a Sony ereader, but I really don’t enjoy reading on it. There’s no progress bar, which I think might help me enjoy it a little bit more. It really does drive me crazy not being able to see how much I have left in a book. I think I just need to try a little bit harder! I should really get used to carrying it around with me. It would be so much easier for travel.

    • April 28, 2011 5:35 pm

      Lu, I don’t know if your Sony is the same as mine, but when I click on the bar at the bottom (where the page numbers are), a little progress bar shows up. I discovered it entirely by accident last week. You have to close it to turn the page, so it’s not ideal, but it’s something.

  7. April 28, 2011 1:12 pm

    I was really pleasantly surprised by how much I love my Kindle. I’m actually surprised to hear that the Nook is so heavy as I’m not sure I have a book that weighs less than my Kindle – it’s very, very light. The case adds some, but it’s lighter to carry around than a paperback. Everyone I’ve spoken to has agreed that it’s easier to read than a real book – no holding pages open, just a simple button push to turn. No aesthetic appeal really, but it’ll do for non-keepers and free classics.

    I’m sorry to hear your fibro is still acting up – here’s hoping you feel much better soon.

  8. April 28, 2011 2:13 pm

    sorry hear you got pain when reading ,must be hard you read so much ,I had a sony reader loved it but it broke eyeiong a kindle at somepoint the free classics appeal a lot to me on the sony ,hope pain eases soon ,all the best stu

  9. April 28, 2011 2:28 pm

    i have a Kindle, had it for about 6-7 months now and it is a grea tpeice of kit. It’s v. light (i think the reason the Nook is heavier is because of the lcd screen at the bottom (or is that kobo? ummm)) and the battery live can last for weeks. What i really love about it is that i can read mammoth books with one hand and i don’t have to contort my body in ridiculous positions to be comfortable…e.g. reading a book like Game of Thrones which is huge and has tiny writing is such a more rewarding experience on a Kindle.

    saying that i do prefer physical books

    also, blu rays are brilliant and are not at all silly but 3d is an annoying fad

    get well soon :)

  10. April 28, 2011 2:42 pm

    I do am slow to new technology and my youngest is even slower (the only 18 year old I know without a facebook account) but a kindle is in my future if only for the classics – although I am impatient enough to know I will purchase a few books.

    Hope the pain goes down soon.

    Love the dog pictures.

  11. April 28, 2011 2:56 pm

    During the six weeks I had my right arm in a sling recuperating from shoulder surgery, I definitely found one-handed reading to be much easier on a Kindle than with a print book, so I agree with your endorsement of e-readers for those having physical problems with reading.

    Sorry you’re still having a rough time of it, Eva, but it’s good to see you!

  12. April 28, 2011 3:02 pm

    I have a Nook and love it. Downloading free books is so wonderful! I’ve also bought more books than I normally would have because now they take up no space and I don’t have to get rid of others to make room. I agree that it can feel a little heavy at times but since I tend to love BIG books, carrying around the Nook in my purse feels like nothing most days. Feel better soon. :-)

  13. April 28, 2011 3:21 pm

    I’ve been hesitant about ereaders, but the arthritis in my hands has been acting up a lot recently. I think the huge increase in writing at school and being on the computer typing lessons, creating powerpoints, etc, has really taken a toll on my hands. I have a hard time holding up paperbacks recently, so getting an ereader is something I am seriously considering.

    I really love the look of the Nook, and I am about 95% sure that it is the one I would like to have. The idea of getting all those free classics makes me happy. :)

    Now, what is the difference between your Nook and a Nook Color? Just what you can look at on the screen?

    Thanks for your thoughts on this-super helpful!

  14. sam permalink
    April 28, 2011 3:34 pm

    I got a kindle a little over a month ago and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy reading on it. I don’t have fibro, but I do have arthritis issues so holding my kindle hurts so much less than a big heavy book does! I still get books from the library and can’t abandon going to the bookstore. The bookstore is not just about getting books- it’s somewhere to go in my small town! I will use my kindle for the free content or books I cannot find anywhere else. I tell people my ereader is not a substitute for books, but merely a supplement.

  15. April 28, 2011 4:50 pm

    Eva, I’m glad to hear that your Nook is friendly for your health issues. I had wondered if it might be. When I first about e-readers, I thought they were a horrible idea. However….I’m a believer!! I love my Kindle and thought I don’t read on it all the time, I have loved getting the next book in series while I’m rocking on the porch of a vacation cabin in the mountains or something similar to that. Love the commerical, by the way. Read forever. Sounds like a plan to me!

  16. April 28, 2011 5:42 pm

    I’m so sorry you’ve been having such pain lately, but I’m happy to hear that the Nook enables you to read. That’s a comfort, anyway.

    I’ve been happy with my Sony, mostly for the access to free books, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to immerse myself in a book and how little I’m bothered by not being able to tell by weight/thickness how much I have left. The page number indicators are enough for me.

    There are just two things that annoy me:
    (1) not being able to tell where the next chapter break is, but I found a workaround that helps–I just search for the next appearance of the word chapter, but this only works with books that use the word “Chapter” in chapter labels.
    (2) I’ve bought a few e-books for book group because the books we read aren’t usually keepers for me, and I can’t get them easily from the library. But it’s harder to follow the discussion when everyone else is referencing page numbers. I just need to get quicker with the search feature.

  17. April 28, 2011 6:26 pm

    So sorry you’re still having pain and laptop troubles! I’m glad you have that beautiful puppy to keep you company. I’m glad to have your review of the Nook, which makes me think, once again, it’s best I wait to get one until they’ve got a new, lighter generation of Nooks. :p I’m totally technology resistant too! I only got a phone with texting late last year, and I wouldn’t have an iPod except that my cousin hand-me-downed his old iPod after getting a new fancy one.

  18. Kerry permalink
    April 28, 2011 9:05 pm

    I have ME/CFS and got a Kindle last month. I just love it. It’s light and easy to hold and easy to read. I think ereaders are generally very illness-friendly and it’s wonderful that I can keep reading when I’m not feeling well much more easily than I could reading paper books. Personally, I’d be perfectly happy never to read another mass market paperback again.

  19. April 28, 2011 10:04 pm

    I am still debating the merits of e-readers. They look very cool and ever since my c0-worker bought a kindle a few months ago he has been raving about it. In the minus side, I already own a ton of books and I am a huge patron of my area’s superb public library so therefore I’m a bit hesitant to buy something which allows me to buy or at least acquire MORE books. So with me, the debate rages on…
    Thanks for posting this review. I enjoy reading various reviews of these new products.
    I hope you feel better soon !!

  20. April 28, 2011 10:30 pm

    I just got a nook for my bday Tuesday and am commenting from it. Not sure how to get free books yet, though. Will be curious to see what I think in a few months. Be well, friend.

  21. April 28, 2011 11:27 pm

    I’m so glad that you have something that helps you read when the pain is so bad. I totally get the pain of those darned hard covers every library seems to stock, since I can’t carry too many without straining my back – never mind currently, when I can’t carry much with my knee still recovering. I’ve been considering an e-reader because it’s light and it does offer so much variety right at my fingertip. I didn’t realize they were that heavy though. I think I have to do a bit more research.

    I am also so happy you are not into tech either – we don’t have a cell phone yet! though we have to break down and buy one, now my decision is whether to get just a phone, or a play toy that might have book aps on it………I do have an mp3 player, very basic, which saved my sanity at work this winter.

    I hope you get better soon!!! Pain is not fun!

  22. April 29, 2011 9:06 am

    I’m sorry to hear you are having problems with fibro but glad you Nook helps you read! I still have no plans to purchase an e-reader but keep hearing how fabulous they are from friends and colleagues. Maybe took me years to get an mp3 player!

  23. Mumsy permalink
    April 29, 2011 7:19 pm

    Aww, Thistle is cute! I missed your post when you got Thistle – is he/she part poodle? Glad to have your thoughts about Nook – I am still resisting (I love the feel and smell of a real book), but I like hearing what people think of the technology – problems and advantages.

  24. April 29, 2011 8:45 pm

    I have a smartphone which is also my ereader! I love it becuase it is small and light. I am craving a nook color, So pretty. I love touch screens!

    I do hope you feel better soon! I miss seeing you around the blogosphere!

  25. April 30, 2011 6:33 am

    I’m glad this is helping you and you’re finding it useful. :) I know there’s such a heavy debate among book nerds about whether to get an ereader or not … but I think it definitely has it’s advantages. I’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle for a while now. I picked up one that belonged to a friend of mine quite a few months ago and was really impressed by how light and ‘book like’ it was. I realised that I needed to do something about my reading when I started planning my travels. If I’m going to have kind of a nomadic lifestyle for the next couple of years, carrying five boxes worth of books isn’t going to be the easiest option so I figured a Kindle or something would come in handy. :)

  26. April 30, 2011 7:19 am

    Sorry to hear you’ve been in so much pain lately and hope it leaves you soon. I’m happy to hear that you have been enjoying your eReader so much. I still much prefer a printed book but just made the long flight over to Germany two days ago and couldn’t have done so without my trusty Kindle! When I am traveling my eReader is indispensable!

  27. April 30, 2011 4:15 pm

    I’m loving my Nook too for all the reasons you mentioned. I still read paper books much more frequently than e-books but it’s such a great tool to have. I’ve found that if you change the wifi settings to “airplane” it makes the battery life last a LOT longer. Of course, then you can’t download books directly from B&N but it doesn’t sound like you’re doing much of that anyway!

    I hope you feel better soon.

  28. April 30, 2011 4:32 pm

    I’m hoping to get an e-reader in the near future and I’ve been seriously considering a Nook so thanks for sharing your thoughts on it. I can just about guarantee that I always will prefer real books but I think that having an e-reader would be wonderful as well.

  29. May 1, 2011 7:56 am

    I love my Kindle, it’s so much easier to carry books now when I’m traveling.

    Glad you like your Nook and really happy that you can still manage to read when your fibro flairs up.

    LOVE the add, it’s nice to see that they have don’t say Nook is better than carrying physical books, it’s just a simple add on reading. Love it.

  30. May 2, 2011 11:00 am

    I’m SO glad the e-reading is working out well for you. It’s a blessing that it allows you to read through your fibro moments. I love mine and continue to read a mixture of paper and e-books. And I’ve been thinking of you since I’m reading The Little Black Book of Stories, by A.S. Byatt. I know she’s one of your faves.


  31. Zoya permalink
    May 2, 2011 1:20 pm

    I own nook color and so far I loved reading ebooks on it. My only grouse is tht making highlights or notes needs a little getting used. What I like about ereaders is it’s a space saver since I love buying books and more convenient to carry around. I do agree to ur point on batterylife.

  32. May 3, 2011 12:06 pm

    I got a Nook for my birthday on April 21st and so far have been loving it. It’s great for being out and about and also makes it easier for my cat to join me on my lap as I read. Where/how do you get free classics from? I’ve tried to get a few so far, but the ones I’ve gotten have been riddled with typographical errors and missing sections.

    On a different note: I know you’re a huge Russian literature fan. I’m about to finish War and Peace, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed it. What else would you recommend? I don’t think I’m ready to dive into another long Russian work (so that rules out Anna Karenina for now). I’ve heard good things about Gogol.

  33. May 4, 2011 8:00 am

    I’m so, so happy to hear that the nook is treating you so well. I’m surprised about the clock, battery life, and weight. I feel like the Kindle is lighter (though don’t have it on me to test!) and I have no clock on mine. Of course I have an older version so new ones might :) I am completely with you on the footnotes thing. Annoying. The other thing is for non-fiction with tables, graphs, indexes, etc. Those become less accessible as well sadly.

  34. Sue permalink
    May 4, 2011 3:01 pm

    I have a Kindle, and I wish I had looked more closely at the Nook. I love my Kindle, though! Like you, I primarily use it for free books from Netgalley and Gutenberg project, though I do have a New Yorker subscription.

    Thank you for saying that you read BOTH your e-reader and ‘real’ books. Why do people act like they are mutually exclusive? My Kindle fits in my purse and I take it when I travel or go out, but I still get books from the library or loans from friends or really good deals from the used book store.

    Also, Thistle is a cutie-pie!

  35. May 5, 2011 5:41 pm

    I got a Kobo last summer and I love it. I have wrist problems and the lightweight Kobo has been really great. Mine is the older model that doesn’t have wi-fi, so to add books I’ve purchased, I need to connect it to my laptop, but I don’t really mind.

    The e-reader also solves my space problem (in that I don’t have any more space for physical books!). I honestly have no complaints. I love it so much.

Thank you for commenting! For a long while, my health precluded me replying to everyone. Yet I missed the conversation, so I'm now making an effort to reply again. It might take a few days though, and there will be times when I simply can't. Regardless, I always read and value what you say.

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