Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Nook Color EReader Catholic Review
I purchased the Nook Color Ereader recently, and I must say that I really like it. I had previously used a Sony Ereader, but slow loading times and erratic lockups made it less than fun to use. The new Nook is much faster and the display is a pleasure to read from. So far I have not found the screen to be any harder on my eyes than the paper simulation display on the Sony. You can adjust the brightness as well, and so far late night reading has been a pleasure. The text size is also easy to change and even the blindest of people will be able to get the font large enough to read. Books load fairly quickly and I really like the ability to high-lite and make notes in the text for future reference and research. You can high-lite in 3 different colors in case you want to high-lite by topic for easy reference. This is great for Scripture study since you can make all the notes you want for future reference. Aside from a 2000 page Bible or something, the load time for a 300 or 400 page book is normally 10 to 20 seconds. Smaller books like 150 to 200 pages load almost instantly. The Bible takes a bit longer, 45 seconds or so.
There are thousands of books available on Barnes and Noble, and I really like the fact that they have direct access to many of the 'Internet Archive' books for free download. This means you have direct access to hundreds of out of print Catholic books for free. You can literally pay for the 250.00 price tag quite quickly, since it would cost you hundreds to find just a few of these books in regular print. So far I have found plenty of cool stuff for free like Pope Leo XIII's encyclicals, books on moral theology, Byzantine architecture, writings of St. Bernard, biographies on Pius IX, liturgical texts on many liturgies, homilies of St. Chrysostom and the list goes on. The formatting is not always the best since they are converted over to text from scans, but they are certainly readable. There is one catch with downloading the free books through Barnes and Noble, you need to set up an account with them with a credit card. You don't get charged, but I suppose it is an effort to get you to be more open to buying some of their books. After all, once you are registered it only takes two touches of the button to download a book. Downloading the books on WiFi is effortless and takes only seconds to get them. Another cool feature is that most books have free downloads of samples so you can check the book out before you buy it. I bought Martin Mosebach's book 'Heresy of Formlessness' and it has been a great read so far. Ignatius Press is starting to make many of their books available in E format on Barnes and Noble. Hopefully TAN and others will follow suit. You can get magazine subscriptions for it as well, but there are only 86 titles available right now, and none so far have caught my attention to give it a try.
So far I have not done much with PDFs or other documents. I use all Mac products and so far no problems linking up and moving files back and forth from the Nook. I did move over a few PDFs and they are showing up with an x in the middle of the pages. I have not had a chance to see what the deal is with that. There is ample storage on the device at 5GB, expandable to 32 with an SD card. I have 75 books on it and a few pictures and I still have 4.85GB remaining. You can also back up your files on your Mac as well in case the Nook dies. From what I read, Barnes and Noble also has permanent records of your purchases so you can download them any time. I still recommend you make your own backup. Pictures look great on the screen as well and you can carry your favorite pictures around with you. I have not tried music on it yet, but it does have a music player on it, and if you like the Pandora internet radio, it comes loaded on it as well. I have not had the chance to play with that yet. I am more interested in using it for reading, and I use my iPod for music already so I probably won't get much use out of it in that area.
Another cool feature of the Nook Color is that it has real browser surfing for the internet if you have a WiFi connection. It is not a solution for working on the Net, but it is great if you want to look something up for quick reference. You can also turn the screen sideways and surf that way as well. This works with pictures too. The touch screen is pretty decent, and is similar to the iPad, but not quite as responsive from what I have seen, but certainly not bad. Overall, I would say that this is a pretty good purchase, and I can see myself using it quite a bit. It is also really cool that for a buck you can download the entire Summa and carry it around with you along with a ton of other great books. I don't think this can ever substitute fully for a good hard copy of a book. But with all of the free books online, the space issue of having thousands of books around my place, and the portability benefits, it is a welcome addition to the library.