I'm not much of a gadget guy, nor am I an impulse shopper, but my wife lead me astray back in May, and suggested I might enjoy a Nook. I'd thought about it, but had decided against it. I'm a voracious reader, but I like reading real books. There's a whole tactile side to reading I thought I'd miss. But it was a fun idea, and it was near my birthday, so I bought one. I got the 3G model so I could even get books from home out in the country during those inevitable winter snowstorms and power outages. Valerie bought me a beautiful rich leather holder--it's as soft as a baby's butt according to a friend of mine.
It couldn't be easier to use or understand, and after reading a couple chapters of my first Nook book, I was hooked. It's been part of my standard equipment since--keys, wallet, phone, Nook. It uses little power, and stays charged for a long time even with moderate to heavy usage. I usually charge it once a week, and you can do that with a wall outlet, or through a USB port on your computer. There's a few features I particularly love about it. I like being able to re-size the font--a larger font makes it easier to read in the car, on the bus, or in low light. The real-ink technology is amazing. It's not like reading a book on a computer screen, it's like reading a book. The words on the page look as sharp and crisp as a printed book. But the Nook is not back-lit, which means you can't read in the dark, but unlike your cell phone or laptop screen, you can read a Nook just fine outside on a sunny day. It's compact, and since you're only reading one page at a time, you can read with one hand. Valerie and I were watching a guy today at lunch reading a book while eating a sandwich--he was trying to turn the pages with his chin. It was hilarious. If you're a reader there's little not to love about it, and you'll make the transition quickly.
I think the thing I enjoy the most, is I can shop for books anywhere and anytime, and do all the same stuff I'd do in the Barnes & Noble store or on their website. I can browse by subject or author, read a couple chapters, read reviews, etc. And the Nook books are cheaper too. And if you're an author, there's another reason to love electronic books--there's no print or production costs, so the author receives the lion's share of the royalties on electronic books. Yes, I'm working on it now! Soon my books will be available for Nook and Kindle.
There's a lot of things the Nook can do that I don't use. You can search a book for a phrase, or highlight text. Of course, the Nook remembers where you were in all the books in your library, so you never lose your place. You can subscribe to magazines or newspapers and receive them on your Nook. You can access the Internet on the 3G like mine. You can load music on the Nook. You can share books. There's even games in there. If you're a big magazine reader or read children's books on your Nook, I saw there is a full color version coming out in late November with the same real-ink technology.
I'm not sure which book reader is the best. I like the Nook. I'm sure the Kindle and several others all do pretty much the same thing. I've been a regular customer of Barnes & Noble for the past twenty years, so that's why I picked it. I'm there all the time, and the Nook has a few special features you can use while you're visiting the store, including expanded browsing that allows you to read any book on the shelf of the store while you enjoy a cup of coffee in their coffee shop. Very cool.
I can also tell you if you have a problem, they stand behind it. I had one last week. It was very traumatic for me. I awoke to find my Nook completely dead. I don't know what happened. They don't know either. I took it to the store expecting a hassle. They got on the phone with the service people, and took care of it then and there. Two days later, I received a new Nook in the mail, and shipped my old one back with the pre-paid label. I didn't buy the service plan or they would have given me a new one right there in the store. I was surprised how quickly they took care of it just with the standard warranty with no questions asked. I charged the new Nook, logged into my B&N account, and all my books were there. In five minutes I was back in business. I didn't realize how important that little gadget had become to me. I love this damned thing. That was a long two days.
If there's somebody on your list that loves to read, this is the perfect gift. And it would be great for a kid too.