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Giving the Nook a Good Look

Just before Christmas I took delivery of a new Nook, the dedicated e-reader recently released by Barnes & Noble. Just having a Nook was something of a sensation, since the device had been so popular on pre-order that many orders still remain unfilled. Is the Nook an admirable e-reader? You bet. A Kindle-killer? Not yet, anyway.

I am a dedicated Kindle user, and have been for some time. The e-reader will not replace the printed and bound book (see my article on the Kindle), but it will become the technology of choice for reading many types of printed material and many books as well. My Kindle DX is loaded with good material and is always close at hand.

The Nook is a very handsome e-reader, very similar in appearance and functionality to the smaller Kindle models. It is actually very much like the Kindle in most respects, with the same screen and basically the same technology. It does have a color screen below the main reading screen — a very handsome addition that is both a navigation system and a catalog of your books on the Nook.

Before a long trip during the Christmas season, I loaded my Nook with several titles ranging from spy thrillers to serious theological works and literature. On a long flight, I read The English Assassin by novelist Dan Silva. As with the Kindle, I found that reading this kind of book on the e-reader is actually a delight. I soon forgot that I did not have a codex in my hand.

The Nook has access to the huge inventory of digital books at Barnes & Noble, including many free books that are in the public domain. You will not run out of reading material.

At the same time, I wish Barnes & Noble had more titles available. Another complaint is that the machine is rather slow compared to the Kindle. I did not find this a major frustration, but it is noticed. B&N promises to fix that issue with a software update — rather standard fare for a new technology.

Battery life seems less than my Kindle, but is very workable. With the unit turned to “airplane mode” you can read for days between charges.

I do like the Nook. It is good for Amazon to have competition for the Kindle. Do I think the Nook will displace the Kindle? No. Amazon has been at this longer and the Kindle is a really fine technology. Nevertheless, the Nook is really handsome and may over time reveal advantages not yet fully appreciated.

We are living in a remarkable era of human history, with the experience of reading changing (quite literally) before our eyes. You will know this for a fact when you read a favorite book on your Nook.