I finally succumbed to the e-reader craze. As of about a week ago, I’m the proud owner of an All-New Nook. That’s actually what it’s called, presumably to distinguish it from the Nook Color and the Relatively Old Nook. So far, I’ve purchased and read one book on it, and sampled a couple more.
I like it pretty well. It weighs about the same as a minor paperback; the type is crisp; the page-turning is pretty close to instantaneous. It’s simple. You don’t even have to shut it off. In short, it’s sort of like a paperback book, except that it cost $139, plus another $30 for the groovy cover.
Of course, people don’t buy these things as cool gadgets any more. That’s one nice thing about not being an early adopter. Now, the e-reader is just a commodity. If you happen to travel quite a bit and want to read something without driving out to a bookstore or a damned mall, the Nook — or any e-reader — can actually make life easier. Another upside is that your reading material doesn’t take up any more precious shelf space. As a man currently staring at a dozen boxes of unpacked boxes, that’s a feature I like.
The downside is that you pay full price for everything, and $10 to $15 a book seems steep when you consider that nearly all of the costs associated with a printed book don’t apply to the electronic version. The concept of a used book, steeply discounted because it’s used, doesn’t apply either. No wonder the industry loves these things so much.
I don’t think I’ll ever do 100 percent of my reading on the Nook. I like libraries and used-book stores too much for that. I like paying half-price or less. But for long trips and impulse buys of popular titles, it’s not a bad thing to have.