So, I finally broke down this past Christmas, and bought a Nook Color. At the time I bought it, I wasn't sure if I was even going to make the plunge with an ereader this year. Anyone that's ever been to my house (or had the misfortune of helping me move), knows that I love books. I never throw books out. I've occasionally traded in books for other books at used bookstores, but most of the time I just keep them. I am definitely not afraid of books.
I had begun to read a few of the free books out there on my Nexus, my little android phone. By the end of the year I had read about ten or twelve books on my phone. The phone, however is certainly less than ideal to read on. The screen is tiny. The battery life is atrocious when running that bright screen that long. To make fonts big enough to see I was having to turn "pages" every second or so. So, I decided to look into ereaders. So why did I get the nook color, and not one of the other ereaders? Well, being the slightly obsessive person I am, I actually looked into a few different readers. The Kobo, the Sony's, the Kindle, the iPad, the Nook and the Nook Color.
Kind of like the bastard step-child. What did I like about the kobo? I liked the price. I liked that I could load library ebooks onto it. That was about it. The screen seemed to load slower than either kindle or the nook. The older eink screen couldn't compare to the Sony's or the Kindle. There was no way of taking notes on it. Kind of blah at best.
These were actually pretty. I loved the "pearl" e-ink screens. The only eink screens that could hold a candle to the kindle. I liked that you could do the library thing on it. I liked that you could load other purchased books onto it. I loved having a touchscreen since I was so used to it from using android. The web browser was pathetic. It was pretty easy to read on, though. The price was pretty high compared to other offerings. I didn't like that Sony seemed to have a smaller collection than Barnes and Noble, let alone Amazon.
I loved reading on the kindle. I loved the huge selection of ebooks available from Amazon. I loved how fast the pages loaded. I liked being able to type out notes. Amazon has the best selection of ebooks hands down. I didn't like being stuck with just Amazon though. I didn't like the lack of epub support or the ability to get library books easily on it (blah blah, without circumventing DRM, etc.). I also liked the read-to-me feature. As an ereader, it was my second choice. However, as much as I really like Amazon, I don't really want to be married to them.
I actually went and played with the iPads for a while. I did like the ability to have color on occasion. I did like being able to use it for things other than reading books. I didn't care for the screen. Even though the screens on the nook color and the iPad are similar (both IPS screens), the nook did a much better job at viewing angles, and the pixel density is much higher on the nook color (iPad at 1024x768 on 10.1 inches and the Nook color at 1024x600 on 7 inches). I seriously did not like the price tag. I'm also really no fan of Apple's Big Brother ways lately. I did like that you could have multiple reader programs on the iPad. How long those stay on the iPad is anyone's guess. Apple is starting to turn into an evil little company. And as it turns out, I'm not even sure how much longer the nook and kindle apps are going to stay on the ipad.
Referring here to the black and white version. I'm sorry, but I had a hard time reading on this one, like I did on the Kobo. The black and white eink screen was an older version, so was harder to read the sony's or the kindle, it was a bit slower than either of them as well. I did like being able to shop at barnes and noble, read in-store, check out library books, sideload books from other companies (Sony, Kobo, Google, etc.). The only ones it wouldn't do were Amazon's.
The Nook Color.
I loved the viewing angles on it. I liked having color. I liked having a touch screen. The price, though more than the kindle or regular nook, wasn't outrageous like an iPad. It was eminently hackable. It was easy to read on. I could stream Pandora on it. Like the nook, I liked that I had choices with it. In the end, this is the one I chose, and I'm pretty happy with my decision.
As to normal objections to the nook color:
"You're locked into Barnes and Noble." Not really. I can load pretty much any ebook out there onto it. The notable exception is Amazon's kindle books, but even that is easily possible if you hack it.
"Barnes and Noble doesn't have as many books as Amazon". True. But that gap is narrowing. Also, as above, it's easily hackable.
"The screen is harder on your eyes than a Kindle/Nook/eink reader." I still have never found that to be the case with my eyes. After eight hours of reading my eyes feel pretty much shot, whether it's a hardcover, paperback or my nook. I don't really notice any difference. That, and the screen is amazing. You should really try one out sometime.
"It's not as big as an iPad". This is true. However, I prefer the reading size of the kindles and nooks and nook colors over the iPad. The iPad always felt unwieldy for reading books.
"It's not an Apple product!" Go away, fanboi. I'm not going to buy something just because it has a logo printed on it.
"You can't read it in direct sunlight." I'm Irish. I burn to a crisp in direct sunlight. Reading while tanning myself has never been a consideration. Like my phone, I can read it for the most part outside. Just max the brightness. Frankly, I'd rather that I have that nice little backlight that everyone complains about, because I'm more often reading in a dimly lit room, or reading in the dark waiting to fall asleep. No need for a book light.
"The battery life isn't as good as the kindle". This is true. And it was a consideration. However, with reading just an hour or 90 minutes a day, it's good for several days. If I read until the battery dies, my eyes are completely and totally shot by that point anyways. And having my android phone (and using it near-constantly), has me putting devices on the charger overnight more. I don't frequently take transatlantic flights so not sure how one would fare on a transatlantic flight and don't really care either.