Monday, July 4, 2011
How I Learned To Love The NOOK (A Tale Of Fickle Affection)
Not quite a month later, and I'm eying my print collection warily, calculating how many I might kick to the curb in favor of their digital dopplegangers. Yes, I'm a total two-timing e-book harlot, possessing all the sentimentality of Drew Barrymore in that movie where she loses her memory every 15 minutes. Late at night, under the covers, NOOK tempts me with free 60-page previews of books I'd never considering buying in a million years. No, not in a million years, in the old pre-digital world...but I can buy this book and have it delivered to me instantly at 3:00 in the morning! And it won't take up any space on my shelf!
NOOK Color is one of those rare devices that promise far more than advertised. Because what at first seemed like a mild-mannered run-of-the-mill e-book reader is really...an Android tablet. A $250 Android tablet that lets you read books, magazines, your favorite newspaper, play MP3s, play Sudoku, write notes, browse the web, check your e-mail, keep tabs on Twitter and Facebook...and God knows how many additional wonderful wonderful things if and when I decide to jailbreak that darling.
I now read more than I ever did in my life. I nearly read the New York Times, via my paid subscription, cover-to-cover every day. All those review copies I need to plow through for my job? Done! And browsing through a photo-intensive periodical like National Geographic? Amazing! The already mind-blowingly vivid photographs appear even sharper, almost glowing off the "page."
Part of the NOOK's allure is its practical size -- in the arena of reading off a digital device, bigger is not always better. The NOOK Color fits easily in one hand, and isn't too heavy not to stash in my purse or grab on the go. And sheathed in sleek black leather -- can you think of a better way of adding some spice to a "vanilla" look? -- it looks like a distinguished slim "traditional" book, not anything remotely computer-like.
That said, there are drawbacks to owning a NOOK, mainly walking into your office or perhaps a Starbucks and having people glance at your non-Apple device with a facial expression both quizzical and pitying. Obviously, you were too poor to buy an iPad. "Does that thing actually work?" one person might ask, perhaps picturing a "Fisher Price" logo on the side of the device. "So you decided to go with a NOOK, huh?," another might remark, "You know you can get a used first gen iPad pretty cheap nowadays, right?"
But they don't understand just what me and my NOOK have going with each other. They may never understand. And that's OK. I've always been a rebel.
This post lovingly dedicated to NOOK Color, the Jason Segel of e-reading devices: