When life throws you lemons, thank it for the snack

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

My Nook HD

*This is not a paid product endorsement or advertisement. These are my thoughts about this particular device.*

I was pretty slow to jump onto the e-reader/e-book bandwagon. Most of my life I spent any spare cash on buying books and I have a decently sizable collection. About 25% of the boxes we packed when my daughter and I moved were filled with just books. I finally got my first e-reader, a Kobo, because my favorite bookseller (Borders) was going out of business and I wanted to support them in some small way. I also got the Kobo as a measure of defiance against my ex-husband, who kept pushing the Kindle, constantly singing its praises. I didn't want to join the cult of Amazon, at least not in that department. I will admit that the Kobo was a mistake. It broke within a month of purchasing it and the company (Kobo based in Canada; Borders was out of business by then) refused to even accept the return of the unit to determine if it was covered under warranty. They simply responded to my inquiries and photos with a "well, sometimes it cracks in a bag" response and dismissed me. Waste. Of. Money.

I was almost completely burned on the whole e-reader idea. Again, I'll be darned if I jump on the Kindle bandwagon. My Taurus stubbornness stands in the way. I was not too pleased, either, because I was actually dumb enough to have purchased a few books on the Kobo. The only positive I can say is that once you purchase from them, even though the e-reader uses the proprietary format, the web site allows you to download purchased books in the Adobe format, which can then be used by any e-reader. At least I was only out the cash for the e-reader, and not the books as well. I know, I could always read them on an app on my phone. However, I do not relish the idea of trying to read even a novella on a palm-sized screen (and I have kid-sized hands, so you can imagine how hard and annoying that would be). I polled Twitter about the efficacy of investing in another e-reader. Of course, the responses were all about the love for their devices--Nook and Kindle. My decision was made for me when Target offered the Nook HD at a little less than half price on Black Friday.

I decided to splurge on myself. My mom wanted to buy it for me, but it was a matter of stubborn pride for me to be able to buy it for myself. She ended up getting one for my daughter. That wasn't such a bad thing, but it didn't play out as well as I'd hoped, either. I didn't even realize that the HD was a tablet. I just wanted an e-reader so that I could have more books at my disposal when traveling. When I found out I could put games and other apps on it, I found the icing on the cake.

This is what my home screen currently looks like.
I didn't use the Nook too often when I first bought it. It took me a while to finagle my way around things so that I could upload my Kobo-purchased books. My daughter and I used to visit our local library every week, so I always had plenty of physical reading material around me. Plus, my teaching schedule didn't leave much time for a whole lot of reading. Then 2014 started and things fell apart in my personal life. When I did use my Nook, I found myself spending most of the time playing games instead of reading. That's all the motivation I could muster. My daughter occasionally snagged my Nook instead of reading hers because it was easier than trying to link my Barnes & Noble account on two devices or "lending" her the books. I ended up putting stickers on my Nook so that we could tell them apart.

Aside from reading, which took me a while to get into on the device, I found myself using my Nook a lot for other things. Because it is sort of like a tablet, I am able to use it to visit web sites as long as I have an open Wi-Fi connection. I've used it to update statuses and post on Facebook and Twitter. I used it to find the Mass readings on mornings before I was supposed to read in church. I even used it to read a .pdf of a pattern I was working on so that I wouldn't have to print it. It came in handy, too, when my sewing machine was acting up. I was able to find the manual for the machine online and download it to my Nook so that I could quickly find the solution and the portability allowed me to keep the manual handy. I added a notes app with which I took notes during panels at Dragon Con. I also typed up drafts for a few of my blog posts on my Nook. I've used it as a calculator, a calendar/organizer, and a timer and clock. I've even checked the weather on it. There are some limitations to the apps I can put on it; the Android operating system is not exactly like my phone. Yet, I've been able to find most of the functions I need so that I can spare my phone battery and my eyes.

I found myself reading on my Nook more and more as spring and summer progressed, especially after moving this summer. It's not that I no longer read regular books. Each summer I try to read around a theme. I've read classic sci-fi (Isaac Asimov's Foundation series and Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom series) and classic horror monsters (Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Invisible Man, Island of Dr. Moreau) in the last two years. I wasn't going to set a theme for this year because of all the other things I had going on in my life. But my Nook sort of naturally led me to this summer's reading theme: comics. Barnes & Noble ran a couple of sales on trades--collected comic issues in a single volume--for DC and Marvel this summer. The DC sale was for both physical books and e-books, but the Marvel sale was for only the e-book versions. That's when I discovered Deadpool. I spent the time my daughter was away visiting her father reading every Deadpool trade I could find. Luckily, I found them all on the Nook. Then I subscribed to the current books at my local comic shop. While it isn't easy to appreciate the full extent of the artwork on the e-reader, I was enraptured by the stories, so I didn't mind. I found that the e-books of the trades are a great way to catch up on comics that have been out for a while, especially ones like Deadpool that have so many issues already published over the years. Having them on the Nook allows me to catch up on the stories without having to buy yet another bookshelf for our little apartment.
Despite the peeling cover here, the device is still completely functional.

My Nook has certainly gotten a lot of use over the past 9 months that I've had it. It's in far-from-pristine condition, as you can see in the picture to the right. My daughter and I sometimes finagle over my Nook because either (a) she can't find hers, (b) hers isn't charged, or (c) the book she wants to read is already loaded onto my Nook. Despite the rough time it appears to have gone through, though, this particular device still keeps ticking. This is much more than I can say for that piece of waste plastic that was the Kobo I had before.

I have a lot of books to read sitting on my shelves, and my collection on my Nook is growing, too, especially now that I have the Comixology app. That allows me to purchase and read some of the comics that I can't get from the B&N e-book store. If, God forbid, my Nook HD should stop working because of overuse, I'm pretty certain I will save and scrape together enough money to get another one. I'm not a full e-reader convert. I still buy real live books from book stores. But I'm more open to the possibilities now. It especially helps that the Nook fits in my purse more easily than most books and using it means I'm conserving my phone battery.

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