21 June 2010

Monday Musings: e-readers

I go back and forth on the whole concept of the e-reader. I have a much earlier post called "Where I hope technology will fail." And now I'm contemplating getting one - I know, right? I still hope the e-reader isn't the death of the book, but at the same time I don't really think that anything will ever completely replace that whole feeling of opening a book, and going to the bookstore. Finding new authors. The smell of books, especially old ones. Getting an actual autograph inside a book. Love, love, LOVE all of those things.

But what about academic books? Or books that I wouldn't spend much money on? I feel like, if I had an e-reader, and there was a book that I was on the fence about, or that I knew I wouldn't probably read again, it would be good to have. It would also be really good for academic articles, or so I hear.

So, that brings me to the current dilemma:

Kindle, iPad or nook? 

The thing I like about the nook is the ability to share books, and it's really the only thing that I like the most about it. I think that color touch screen is cool, but I'm not overwhelmingly impressed by it. The note-taking is somewhat tedious, because the keyboard is on the touch screen.

The things - there are two - that I don't like about the Kindle are the lack of sharing and the fact that you can't try a working model in a store before you buy it (yes, they SELL it at Target now - which I like - but it's not functional so I can't fiddle around with it, and even though the girl I was talking to about the nook at Barnes & Noble was pretty daffy, I could still play with it, which was nice). I like the two sizes (and, if I'm going to make the investment, maybe the bigger one is actually worth it?). I like the little tactile keyboard, even thought the letters are really small it's easier to type with buttons; I think it would be easier to use with both hands. I really like the note-taking feature on the Kindle (at least, on the iphone app, which I just discovered how to use).

Their libraries are similar; though the girl at BN pointed out to me that they have exclusive rights with some publishers, the Amazon free library is more comprehensive. I really like the e-ink technology, I think that it's a pretty cool concept. I like the super-long battery life.

My biggest problem with the Kindle and the nook is something that they share, which is exclusivity. I can't buy a book on BN.com and use it on a Kindle; I can't buy a book on amazon.com and use it on a nook. I can't buy a book in iBooks and use it on either one of them. I think that, honestly, if I could buy an electronic book from wherever I wanted and use it on my e-reader, I would've already bought one. Amazon, can you open up an amazon.it already? That would probably push me over the edge. I also read somewhere that amazon will convert academic articles into Kindle-readable documents in five minutes - is that true?

Which brings me to the iPad. I love - and don't love - the iPad. I don't love the back-lit screen - if I wanted to read on the computer all day, I would. I don't love the short battery life (compared to the other e-readers). I get it, iPad, you're a computer, but you need to work on your longevity. I don't love the fact that I can't use Word on it - seriously, can you just develop that? I don't love the whole pay-$30-per-month-for-3G - especially since AT&T service blows - but would it be a waste to get the wi-fi only model? I don't love the price - at $489 for the smallest model, it's almost twice the price of both the nook and the 6" Kindle (but just a bit more than the 9.7" Kindle). Oh, and I love me a touch screen. If Kindle had a touch-screen, I'd be all over it.

I do, however, love the fact that I can download a Kindle app and a nook app and read books from any of them on the iPad by opening their application. And I do kind of love the fact that it is also a functional computer and I can do word-processing on it.

In conclusion:
nook: pretty, but aside from its random monopolies with certain publishers, I think its main selling point is that it has the in-store support.
Kindle: my favorite of the e-readers, but I don't like that I can't just buy books wherever I want them. Also, meager selection of international titles.
iPad: good offerings of both kindle and nook apps, but battery life and excessive monthly charges make me hesitant to buy it.

My question to you is, do you have one of them? What have you found so far? Which would you recommend?


  1. I loved my Kindle but ended up selling it when I got my iPad since the iPad is an awesome eBook reader as well. I was able to transfer all my Kindle books to the iPad too, and can still acquire more through the Kindle APP. I can also add non-Kindle audio books to the iPad as well.

  2. Thanks! Is it worth the extra $30/month to get 3G...