So I was thinking about something this morning. Y’all know that when I think, I tend to do it out loud. Bear with me, please.
So I was thinking about my Nook. It was sitting on my coffee table where I completely ignored the TV in favor of reading two hundred pages of various things. Still sitting there, as a matter of fact. I’ll have to charge it tonight while I’m cooking dinner. But that’s neither here nor there and has nothing at all to do with this rant.
So my Nook…
I love it. I absolutely adore my eBook reader because it’s small, it’s portable, and it holds literally THOUSANDS of books. I have an entire library right at my fingertips. I don’t have to get up and go downstairs and dig through boxes to find what I want. [I mean yeah, if I want one of those books then I have to do that, but I can make do with what’s on the Nook. Otherwise I can just buy something new to read.] It’s a huge revelation in the life of the reader. I read all the time – on the couch, in the bed, in the car (when I’m not driving), in the bathtub… anywhere I can reasonably hold a book. The matte screen is a nice change from the backlit glare of the computer (which I stare at daily) and it’s a lot easier to hold than a paperback or hardback when my baby is in my lap. She can have her bottle and I can read. Everyone is happy.
Then I started thinking about a giveaway I ran under my other personality… and I realized something.
With my Nook, I’m severely limited.
That’s not to say I’m not happy as a clam with it, because I am. I say that because I can only purchase readable material from the Nook store or from a third-party site that offers PDF versions to stick on my SD card. I’m trapped in that format and if my Nook dies, I’m stuck with a bunch of books I can’t read unless I (a) buy a new Nook or (b) download the Nook app to my phone or computer (both of which I have, but again…beside the point).
Same goes for the Kindle. My mother and I can’t share books because she has the Kindle and they don’t talk very well. Yes, there are programs to convert them from one to the other but the formatting sucks when you do that. We’d have to swap appliances and doing that might end badly… my mother isn’t exactly interested in the horror and erotica living on my Nook.
The point is… when you buy one you’re essentially investing in that company. It sucks, too, because I’d much rather be able to spread the love around. In truth I’d rather go straight to the publishers’ websites and buy eBooks because I know from experience that the authors get way higher royalties that way. I can’t always do that, though, because not all publishers offer compatible formats.
At ConCarolinas a few weeks back I was on a panel with Marcia Collette and she made a very good point – she said that her little no-name tablet (by no-name I mean I don’t remember what brand it was but it wasn’t Nook, Kindle, or iPad) has apps for both Kindle and Nook, so she can read both.
The one thing I tend to look at (yeah, I’m the starving artist type) when shopping for electronics is PRICE. My Nook was a gift, which is why I have it to be honest, but it was also $99. The Kindle Fire is $199. There are all manner of choices in between for more (the iPad, for example) and less (Marcia’s tablet).
I ended up with the Nook because my husband knows how much I love to sit in Barnes & Noble and pick things off the shelf to read. It also helps that most of them serve Starbucks coffee. I like that I can go into the store and borrow things, too. That makes it fun for me. It’s like a giant secret that only I (and the thousands of others who own Nooks) know.
But the Kindle is pretty. And shiny and you can watch movies on the Kindle Fire. Not that I need that because I’d never get anything done…
And then…the iPad. OMGIWANTONESOFREAKINGBAD… but I just don’t have $600 to spend on something like that. Maybe when I’m a rich and famous author (HA!), but until then I’ll stick with something a little more reasonable.
Remember when smart phones really hit big? Remember how all of the charging ports were different shapes? Now they’re all pretty much uniform. That’s what eBooks need to do. Everybody needs to get together and decide on a format because the literary world will blossom even more when they do. Things that are available in other places can then be added to libraries of eBook reader owners without ridiculous conversions and silly hoops.
Plus the formatters will have much easier, more streamlined, and more productive lives. But until that happens, I guess we’re stuck in a split society.
Personally, I love the functionality of my Nook. I can do nothing but purchase and read books. I just wish I had a larger set of options for the purchase part. I think Marcia might have been on to something though – if and when something happens to my Nook, I’ll probably end up with one of the third-party tablets because I can have the best of both worlds. And play games.
I like games.