My nook died and with it my dreams of going all digital.

For Christmas 2010, I bought my wife a Nook Color. We had an E-ink Nook and while I enjoyed reading books in it, there was enough colour illustrations I figured buying a colour nook would be a nice present. I also thought it would be useful for my wife to quality assurance test various book formats of her books.

It turned out that my wife was perfectly happy with the e-ink and so I ended up with it. This may sound like standard husband joke (Hey honey I know you have always wanted a bandsaw so I got one for your Christmas present), but I really didn't think I needed an e-Reader that much. However, I decided that if I have one, I might as well use it... which meant getting all of Project Gutenburg mirrored to a local computer and going through which epub books I wanted :). After reading through a couple of Icelandic sagas and various other books, I realized that ebooks saved a lot of space and I should go all-digital.

Out went a couple of book shelves worth of books, and in came their epub replacements. And this was great for my light reading, but then I got overly ambitious and traded out my O'reilly books for their epub versions. O'reilly books are some of the best technical manuals out there, but having an entire bookcase of them (with 3 versions of the sendmail book, 2 copies of the Unix admin book, various versions of the Awk and Sed book) seemed to be a waste of space.

And so a bunch of purchases later, nearly everything went out the door and my disk drives got various versions of them. Only later did I remember that some of those books had been signed versions ("Hey guess what I found at the library swap meet? A signed copy of 1st edition Sendmail book!" Ohhh thats where that went.)

And then I realized a very big problem. Trying to read a technical book on a small 7 inch tablet does not work for me. Between the console dimming every couple of minutes while I pour over the page and try to figure out what I need to do next on the computer or the fact that I am constantly turning the tablet right sided to get various text that is too long for the screen.. I ended up finding the tablet didn't work well. Then I tried my other favourite medium, comics, and found again the size factor was too small to be useful. And while I enjoy reading books on eink, the text on a screen just seemed to add up to headaches after a while (or I would end up sitting in a place with too much sun and the screen would be useless).

The final straw was that I missed the smell and feel of the books. Leafing through a book has a visceral quality in the same way that listening to vinyl has to some people (those who don't have a tintinitus from sitting in various computer machine rooms over the last 24 years). In the end, the nook was used less and less even when I travelled. If I want to read something, I actually use a reader on my phone which I liked much more than the limited settings of the Nook. If I need to look at a manual, I use it on the computer or on a second screen connected to it. (or I pull it from the shelf and sit in the sun and read it for a couple of hours.)

In the end, the nook ended up in a drawer where I found it last week. It's lithium battery was dead and wouldn't hold a charge and the prospect of buying a $70.00 special toolkit+battery to fix it wasn't really all that appealing. So it is off to be donated to some organization which takes these boxes and either fixes them or sends them to get recycled.

I may end up looking at a 10 inch tablet tool someday, but for now I would just like a very large colour eink reader :)

No comments: