I'm sure you'll all be delighted to know that for Christmas, I got an eReader. A Barnes & Noble Nook Color, to be precise. And you should all hear about my adventures with it, especially given how much I've ragged on eReaders in the past.
The first thing one does with a new piece of technology is orient oneself to the interface. Since I own an iPod Touch, most of the tricks are known to me -- hold down the power button to turn off, slide to unlock, touch and drag. Then came the setup, register, customize, all that good stuff. Then how to operate. It came with a children's picture book, which was awesome, cause I have children. And it has a "Read to Me" feature, which I especially love because then I can
tune out for ten minutes while the book reads itself love my children.
It's not perfect though. I purchased "Go, Dog. Go." (for the over-exorbitant price of $13.99), and sometimes the audio cuts, like it couldn't load fast enough. The animation stutters too. And it shouldn't. I mean all that happens is the picture rotates or skews. The Internet browser's not terribly fast either. I mean, I know it's not supposed to be a tablet, but you could chug a little faster than this. Especially for $13.99.
The hard part was figuring out how to get a book onto the Nook. But a Nook can't read so a Nook can't cook... Wait, I derailed. There's no instructions about how to get library books or borrow books. It seems Barnes and Noble wants you to think the eStore is the only way. For the rest of it... well, it's hit and miss, and it has a great deal to do with formatting. And some of the other books have text that's way too small. Like it just scanned the page. I'd love to use it for more kids books, but they haven't figured out how to work with those two-page spreads.
I was able to check out A Christmas Carol in PDF format from the library, but it was unreadable. There was some sort of background glitch, where the background wasn't transparent. And I couldn't scroll to the next page, it kept going back to the cover in an infinite loop. I had to check out the Table of Contents to get where I wanted to go. A different ePub book worked fine, but that format is not always available.
While we're on the subject, let's talk about the library and how they handle eBooks. It is bad. For one thing, there are limited copies. Limited copies? It's a digital format! The whole principle behind digitalization is based on the ability to copy bits. And if I can't copy your bits to my bits, you're doing something wrong. So if you want the book, you need to put a hold on it, just like a library book.
And I'm not even going into all the rigamarole to learn this. You can't just download the book to your Nook from your Nook. You have to download it to your PC, then use Adobe Digital Editions (for that happy, happy DRM smell), because apparently, the book "expires" after the check-out time, which is only 21 days, maximum. And you can't renew a book. And you can only check two out at a time. Library? Fuck. You.
Well, it's not all bad. So far, it looks like the files are just that -- files. Files don't have an "expiration" and I don't think there's any interface between Adobe Digital Editions and the Nook. So I can put them on the eReader, check them back in, then keep them forever. Unfortunately, it means any idiot out there who doesn't know this is going to let those 21 days expire, making the waiting list longer and longer and longer.
To be honest, I haven't really used the Nook that much since Christmas, and won't for a while. I have a book for Book Club to read, and one I just checked out of the library (the real one). Plus I got two books for Christmas. Paper versions. So, more to come.