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Hardware Review: The Nook by Barnes and Noble

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I have been a reader my entire life. To me, there is no greater joy than walking into a bookstore or library and just perusing the aisles looking at book after book, wondering which one I should choose next. Having over 2,000 books in my house is wonderful; unfortunately it reached a point long ago where I was running out of room for them. I decided to take the plunge and buy an e-reader.

I researched my options carefully and was torn between Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle. I wanted the option of downloading books from the library so I decided to go with the Nook. I also liked that the Nook had the option of being able to share your book (one time only) with another Nook user if you choose. I also wanted the 3G option as I do travel and sometimes there are books I just have to have.

I am happy to say that while my Nook won’t ever take the place of a hardcopy I really enjoy using it. I wasn’t sure how close to actual ink the e-ink would be but was pleasantly surprised when I booted up the Nook and found that it was almost indistinguishable. I also have to applaud Barnes and Noble for the ease of ordering not only from the Nook itself, but also from their website – one click and the book will be sitting on the Nook just waiting for you to read it.  The device also has additional features that allow you to create your own bookshelves – this really helps a reader sort out their books by type and also gives you a place to store the books you have already read, preventing you from having to scroll through a vast library of books to find the one you want to read. The color touchpad along the bottom is also extremely easy to navigate and the keyboard that is available to search for items works very well.

I do see a few areas where I believe that Nook could have improved (and has in fact with the newer Nook Color). The fact that the unit does not have a backlit display obviously makes it difficult to read if there is no light. There are booklights sold that are designed specifically for the Nook and I don’t find this to be too big a deal. After all it is no different than a regular book in this aspect. The one feature that I have found to be discouraging is the ability to connect to the Internet. I do understand that this is not really intended to be a major feature of the Nook, but when you offer a feature on your device it should work at least marginally well. I have tried to use it a few times and have even talked with their customer service department (which was extremely kind and helpful) but it just does not function the way it was intended. After speaking with other Nook users I have found this to be the case on this particular version. So if you are buying the Nook and expect to be able to surf the web, please reconsider as this feature needs to have the bugs worked out.

That said, I would highly recommend this product for any book lover out there – while my Nook won’t ever take the place of a hardcopy I totally love it.

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About Tracee Gleichner