When Barnes and Noble's first Nook came out, mine was on pre-order. To say I was a bookworm is a gross understatement of my obsession with reading. It had become my identity throughout my formative school years and well on into adulthood, so when Amazon and Barnes and Noble released their e-ink readers, I knew I needed one.
I can't remember why I chose the Nook over the Kindle. I knew I wanted the digital ink (no back-light) because it's better for your eyes and you can read in direct sunlight. Hello beach reading! But Barnes and Noble has always been my go-to for books, so it might have just been a choice of brand loyalty. I loved getting lost in the stacks of the book store, dreaming of when I would have my own “Beauty and the Beast” type library. Also, the ability to buy books anywhere (on the beach, during a long car ride, when I've just finished book 1 in a series... etc.) was an incredible draw for me.
Since I have been blogging and obsessing over book photography, I have been buying mostly printed books. I love doing book photo shoots using unexpected items and backgrounds from around the house and the back yard. I love lining up my books on my shelf (by category, then alphabetical by author) and admiring them as a collection. I'm still not to the point of having an entire bookcase, but it is definitely in my near future. I have one already picked out too. But I digress.
My purpose of this post is to go over the benefits and the drawbacks of an e-reader vs printed books as I see it. I feel like having both is a benefit to be honest, but I'll tell you what I like about both formats (and alternately, what I don't).
What I love:
Instant books (with WiFi signal)
While the original Nook had a 3G Network built in so you could download anywhere you could find a signal, the new Nook Glowlight doesn't have that capability. With the availability of WiFi basically everywhere, this is not a problem. So when you're on book one of a series and it ends with a life-altering cliff hanger, you don't need to scour the store shelves for the sequel- it's already in your hands.
Easy on the Eyes
Not just pretty- seriously easy on the eyes. Back-light is terrible for your vision and it is impossible to read a standard screen in the direct sunlight. If you want to read using your standard screen reader (like your phone, ipad, etc.) then you're going to need a giant floppy hat and a talented masseuse to get the cramps out of your neck from holding your head at a funny angle. It's not fun. I don't have a talented masseuse.
So since the screen is not back-lit, it is impossible to read in the dark. This was my main bummer with the first nook because I'm all about reading at all unreasonable hours of the day, even when light conditions are terrible. But the Nook GlowLight has a built in book light that you can turn on and off as you need it, and I use it all the time. You can adjust the brightness depending on your needs so it's not glaring at night, but it's bright enough to not strain your eyes in low lighting. It's probably one of my favorite things about the Nook GlowLight.
I've put this thing in my back pocket. I don't recommend it, but I've done it. It's similar to the size of a small paperback. It will fit in your bag and you will hardly know it's in there. Plus, how many books can you actually fit in your bag and still carry it around? You can fit thousands on your Nook. No need to worry about packing enough books to keep you reading during your vacation- it's all on your Nook. Plus you get an 8 week battery life. So yes, you do have to charge it... eventually.
Secret reading.... You know what I'm talking about
Those covers that are ridiculously embarrassing (hello, hunk with no shirt!). Your third time reading the Twilight series (but Edward and Bella really did love each other!). Let's be honest, there are some books that are better read incognito. That's a huge plus for the Nook because no one knows what you're actually reading.
What could be better...
This is Not a Tablet
I'll admit, when I received my Nook GlowLight, I was underwhelmed. I bought the GlowLight at $99, and it's a reasonable cost for what it is, but the quality on their first Nook was better in that it was a more solid unit. B&N had to incorporate a lot into a small package while still keeping it light so I understand the mechanics, but I was still expecting more. And just in case you were planning on doing anything besides reading on this e-reader, change your mind now. The two things this Nook is made for is reading and buying more books. I know there are other models that are tablets, but the Nook GlowLight is not one of them. Plus, since it is using e-ink, everything is in black and white. Even if you could watch Netflix, you wouldn't want to.
Still Not a Tablet
I don't know if it's the e-ink technology or the fact that it's not very excited to create software for simple e-readers, but I thought the new operating system was a bit slow. The screen will sometimes go blank for a second or so, then it will load whatever book I was opening or the search page, etc. It's runs perfectly when you have a book open, but I just think it could be improved.
Less of a Selection
There were a few books that I searched for that were unavailable as an e-book. One that I can think of was Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, so it might be a classic literature thing? But I have found some classics to read so I don't know what the deal is. I think it's an ever-expanding library so odds are you'll probably find the book that you're looking for, but I'm sure you're going to still buy printed books.
Poor Post-Apocalyptic Survival
Unfortunately a Nook isn't going to survive during an apocalypse, especially if there is no power available or a giant EMP goes off. That's the way it goes. If there is a huge disaster a la the movie Book of Eli, I'd be the person running around trying to pay for a trickle charge for my Nook. It won't be pretty.
The Printed Page (Hardcover, Softcover, Stone Tablet, Etc)
What Makes Them Awesome
My House Smells of Rich Mahogany and There Are Many Leather Bound Books
I do not own a single leather bound book. Or any rich mahogany. But I could. I could have a huge library full of leather bound books and rich mahogany if my chosen format is the printed page. In fact, I would love a library with so many books I would need a ladder to reach them all. You're just not going to get that with the digital format.
Books are gorgeous. You never really consider how much time and effort goes in to book covers until you're actively taking pictures of them. Once I started taking pictures of books for my blog and Bookstagram, I all but stopped buying e-books. The only e-books I have bought recently are the ones on sale for $1.99. So basically, if you're obsessed with taking “shelfies,” you're going to want to go with printed books.
Bibliophiles understand this the best. Books are more than ink printed on paper. The biggest complaint against the e-reader format is you miss the scent of the books themselves, but it's more than that. Every book has a story beyond what's between the pages. They have been loved or hated; an escape from reality or the courage to face it. They have been shared and talked about, or forgotten for years in a box in the back of the garage. Yet they remain. When an e-reader is forgotten, so is all of that history. It just becomes an outdated piece of electronic hardware, and that's sad.
But they can't do everything...
I have biceps because I read
I'm a “prepared for everything” kind of a girl, which means I have a book or two on me at all times. I swear my back pack weighed a hundred pounds when I was in school because of everything I carried with me. It would have been so much easier on me if I just carried around a Nook because they weight practically nothing. Books are heavy. Also, have you ever dropped one on your face in bed? Not cool.
What the heck is that word?
The last two books I read were based in Great Britain. George Bernard Shaw said, “England and America are two countries separated by a common language.” There were words that I did not understand the definition and had to research. If I had been using an e-reader, I would have selected the word and clicked define. Maybe it's the technophile in me, but I really just wanted to select the word to define it instead of looking it up.
So little room for activities
Unless you have a dedicated space for your books, they're a pain to store. As I started buying more printed books, my room started looking more cluttered and unmanageable. I started giving them away. Otherwise you store them in boxes that you forget about, have to move them every time you move your house, and if you don't end up selling them at a garage sale, you never even remember they're there. I'm sorry books, but sometimes you're not so easy to live with.
So that is my humble opinion on both options. If you're into nostalgia, Bookstagram, and reliability during an apocalypse, books are your best choice. If you want the flexibility and immediate delivery of e-books, then you're going to want an e-reader. But I think that if you're a dedicated reader that doesn't mind picking up a printed book now and again, you're going to be happy having both formats available to you.
Disclosure: I do receive compensation for the links provided, but it does not influence my reviews, or the books I choose to read. All thoughts and opinions are my own.