Tuesday, May 13, 2014

From a tablet back to an e-reader: My thoughts on reading devices

I don't think I ever posted about it when I went back to a regular e-reader last fall.  The original Nook Simple Touch was on sale -- steeply on sale, half off if I remember correctly, making it only $40 -- and I was intrigued by the thought of reading on a much smaller, lighter device than the Nook Tablet I've used for the past couple years.  The Nook Tablet isn't really that heavy, but the NST is probably half the weight, making it a very appealing option for me.

After using it without a cover for a little while, thinking to preserve one of the device's best features for me -- the small size and light weight -- I finally invested in a lightweight clip cover that is really made for the more recent versions of this device, the ones without buttons on the side.  I don't use the left-hand buttons often enough for this cover to be in the way, though, and it was by far the lightest and slimmest option.

The other reason I decided to switch is a little more complicated, and somewhat related to the article I linked to yesterday, about today's teens reading less than previous generations.

The truth is, I found myself very distracted on the Nook Tablet.  I would read a little bit and then check Facebook, or chat, or look at something online.  And while the ability to do those things on the same device on which I'm reading a book might seem like an advantage, in practice I found it meant that I got less actual reading done.  As a result of all those interruptions, reading was a less engrossing activity for me, and therefore less enjoyable.

I do miss some things about the Nook Tablet.  I miss the colors in illustrated books, the ability to have children's books on me at all time, and the interactive books.  I didn't have many interactive books, and the main one I miss is The Hobbit since it can't be read on my Nook Simple Touch, and I wanted to reread it after the most recent movie came out.  I also miss the shopping experience on the tablet, where I could shop by cover art instead of just a list of titles, and I miss how easy the Nook Tablet's apps made it to sideload books onto the device.

I am undecided as to which I prefer between the backlit screen and the E-Ink.  They both have their advantages.  The backlit screen never gave me a headache or eye ache, the way some people thought it would, nor did it keep me up late at night or feel strange to read on.  However, I did keep it turned down almost as low as it would go, so that might have been partly why -- I find that bright screens cause eye strain for me, but turning the brightness down immediately resolves the problem.  I do miss the ability to read in the dark with a dim screen, but it's not a feature I used all that often, and I have a Nook light (from my original Nook) in my purse should I ever need it.

For the most part, though, I am really enjoying going back to the classic type of e-reader.  When I pick up my e-reader to read now, I am much less distracted.  I read for longer periods of time and get more engrossed in what I'm reading.  I also love the extra long battery life!  I only charge the NST every month or two, depending on how much time I spend reading.  I've been pretty busy lately, so it's been less often than usual, meaning my battery lasts for longer -- but the tablet's battery only really lasted long enough to finish a single book, and that was only if I turned the wifi off when I wasn't using it.  The NST also charges pretty quickly -- it only takes a couple of hours when plugged into the wall, probably half as long as the tablet takes.

My ebook reading experiences have involved several different devices over the years.  I started out reading on the iPhone with the original Barnes & Noble Reader, and then with the Nook app.  After verifying that I liked reading digital books, I invested in a Nook First Edition, the original ones witht the black and white screens and the little color touch screen below for navigating.  That device, while great in its own way, can't hold a candle to the touch screen Nook Simple Touch -- it was slower, bigger, heavier, clumsier, and much less intuitive to use.

After that first e-reader, I went to the Nook Tablet.  It was brand-new at the time, and the screen was downright amazing when compared to other tablets that size on the market, but what I really got it for was reading.  But while tablets are great multi-functional devices that also happen to make good e-readers, I am finding that after having tried both, I much prefer the light weight, long battery life, and distraction-free reading experience of a traditional e-reader.  It doesn't mean I don't still use the tablet -- I do, especially when I want to read a book that needs to be sideloaded -- but I do prefer the Nook Simple Touch for most of the reading I do!

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