Shannon Stacey

The nook: shallow first impressions

Her name is Ethel. Not sure I would have named it, but the nook has a place to enter one, so Ethel it is. Why? Well, the new Macbook’s name is Lucy. So even though Lucy isn’t named after Lucille Ball, Ethel amused me.

What didn’t amuse me?

Trying to get the nook out of its packaging. (Random note: the dumb lowercase “n” is them, not me.) There’s an entire instructional pamphlet devoted to unpacking the nook, with a note at the bottom with a number to call if you can’t liberate it. At one point I thought I was going to have to snap the nook in half.

Here’s a shot of the nook next to my iPod Touch, which has been my digital reader of choice for the last fourteen months. It’s a shot of them both set to the same page, actually, and even with the crappy lighting (dammit, Jim, I’m a writer not a photographer), you can see the difference.

Okay, so several people (including my husband) have asked me why I needed a nook when I have a perfectly good Sony PRS-505. The minor reason: I’d like to buy books over the air and I strongly dislike Sony’s Library program. The major reason is fairly shallow, but it’s my reason. In the picture below, I’m holding the Sony Reader the way I always do. See the page turn button? There’s one down at the bottom—at an awkward, thumb-stretching, device-dropping distance from my thumb—and one all the way on the other side.

And here you see the cold, slippery, hard-edged metal that’s hard to hold onto and rather uncomfortable resting on my pinky finger, which supports most of the weight of the reader. If I could have found a rounded, silicone jacket for the Sony things might be different, but I could only find book-type covers. Because I hold the Reader in my left hand and the page forward button’s so far away, the flip-open covers only exacerbated the problem.

(Excuse the crappy photo-taking, once again. The nook is white, not yellow.) Can you see the page forward button? No, because it’s directly under my thumb. Wow! What a concept! And there are page-turning buttons on both sides, as well as the ability to turn the page with a thumb-swipe across the touch screen once it goes dark. No matter how I’m holding the nook, I can easily turn the page without hyperextending my thumb.

And see how rounded and soft-textured and not cold, hard metal the back is? It’s very comfortable to hold. (A tad bit on the heavy side, but it’s solid-feeling and designed to be held in a real reader’s hand, so I don’t mind it.)

Here’s Ethel in her pink jacket because all of my toys wear pink. I bought it because electronics are so slippery and a little silicone jacket’s a good way to keep hold on them. But the nook doesn’t really need it and silicone’s a cat hair magnet, so I’m not sure if I’ll use it.

In a little while I’ll blog about the actual use of the nook.

3 comments to “The nook: shallow first impressions”

  1. Brandy W
      · February 24th, 2010 at 1:07 pm · Link

    I like your shallow first impressions. I thought about the Nook but I still enjoy my Sony PRS-500. (Yes the original one) I did send it in for the firmware upgrade so that makes it even better for me. I do agree with the Sony resting on the pinky and have adapted. I use it with the cover on.

    So until something happens to my friend Sony (sorry no name but thinking I should called him something) I’ll be sticking with him.

  2. Ellen Fisher
      · February 24th, 2010 at 1:14 pm · Link

    Looks good so far. Looking forward to your impressions about using it. I found it slightly less intuitive to use than the Kindle when I played with it, but I’m sure once you get started on it it’s simple enough to use.

    I like your pink jacket. I have a skin for my Kindle from Decalgirl with a blue giant star on it. I’ve never skinned an electronic device before, but now I find myself addicted to the prettiness of skins and I wish I had more Kindles so I could buy more skins *smiles wryly*.

  3. Natalie J. Damschroder
      · February 24th, 2010 at 4:10 pm · Link

    In the two minutes I looked at the Sony reader in Borders, I had the same complaints. I thought it was because I had that whole gadget-lover/book-lover war going on, but I feel vindicated! :)

    So far, the nook and the Kindle are virtually interchangeable, comparing your first impressions and mine (though the Kindle was extremely easy to unbox. :) )

    Moving on to read your next post!

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