Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Nook SimpleTouch

Up to now I have not commented much about the Nook, the third major player in ebook readers. The reason has been that the Nook operating system is the most proprietary of all the readers.

The Nook makes it very difficult to access the online libraries of its competitors. Barnes and Noble is the most protective of its book clientele and business.

That is not good for the most of us who want access to all the online bookstores.

To be fair, though, Barnes and Noble has the most to lose to its competitors. Barnes and Nobles is trying to protect its brick and mortar stores and business. Those are also valuable to the rest of us. Furthermore Barnes and Nobles offers help not available from Amazon or Google.

This situation actually makes the Barnes and Noble Nook the e-reader of choice for a few of us. The Simple Touch Nook has an appeal especially to those who are computer wary. This small device could be the e-reader of choice for them.   Although it is extremely limited in what it can do, it does what it can do extremely well.

Above all, it is easy to use and there's help in the stores.

For those of us who do a lot of reading it has some other advantages. It is small, lightweight, and has a longer battery life.    It uses standard eBook formats.   On a practical level, it is a lot more convenient to use.    My iPad is much moire capable, but I find the Nook easy to slip into a pocket, read in sunlight, and hold for more than 15 minutes of reading, such as lying in bed waiting for the laundry to finish.

While the tablets have their appeal I find the paper white screen of the e-reader essential for long sessions of reading. It is much easier on the eyes than the color screen.

But for me the appeal recently has been that you could buy one, refurbished, for $50, and, what do you know, I could hack it to perform as a lightweight tablet.

Even more important than the hack turned out to be that I could have an extremely small total e-reader I could carry in a coat pocket easily and read for hours without without eye strain.

The Barnes and Noble Nook also has a long battery life. The price is certainly right. And where the Nook does not suffice I always have my Google Nexus 7. So I did the hack . The Nook fills in where the Nexus comes up short, and visa versa.

You need both devices and maybe even a third such device. After all you don't need a larger computer much anymore and you already have one.

The hack gave me the capability of accessing the Kindle online library. Also, now I could access my email and news and other simple applications.

The hack is probably not for the faint of heart.    Click or tap for instructions.     (I won't tell if your foul up and "brick" your Nook.)    Install AirDroid for easy setup and management of the hacked Nook.

Yet the device might be a good choice anyway for limited e-reader use for the same unschooled users. The Nook is easy to use for e-reading only and fills an important niche.   Ease of use is not always to come by.
Also, we need to keep Barnes and Noble going as one of the last brick and mortar bookstores where we can browse and find books that are not yet available to any e-reader. We need more than just one e-reader device or tablet.

We still have a lot more than just a few dead tree books, don't we? Think of the paper we will save.

Dictated and published from my Nexus 7.

Note that this device has no audio to read books out loud to you.