I wrote recently about my computer travails, which required me to purchase a new desktop computer and a laptop within just a few weeks of each other. I mentioned I also got a new e-reader – a Nook HD to replace my aging Nook Color. That has been a happier transition.
I dropped my Nook Color about a year ago, which resulted in the screen cracking. The crack destroyed the right ½ inch of the screen. As long as I set wide margins, I could read e-books fine on it, but I couldn’t see the time stamp. And I had to guess at the last word in each line of many internet articles or switch to horizontal view to read them. Still, the Nook Color functioned, and I limped along.
Then last Christmas Eve, my father’s dog chewed the Nook Color’s cover. I patched it with duct tape. I wasn’t too upset at the dog, because I had already decided that if Santa wasn’t nice to me, I would buy myself a new e-reader after Christmas.
But on Christmas, I was delighted to receive a brand new Nook HD from my husband, and a lovely cover from his sister. I spent the rest of the day getting to know my new device.
Barnes & Noble has received a lot of negative publicity about their Nook business not meeting expectations. However, I am a big fan of the Nook.
It is true that Amazon’s Kindle has the lion’s share of the e-reader market, and Amazon has more books available to download than Nook. Some self-published authors choose only to use Amazon, in part because of Kindle’s Kindle Select program, which helps authors promote their works.
But I have been able to download almost everything I wanted for my Nook from Barnes & Noble. I believe in open formatting on computer programs, and I want to support the Nook’s use of the more standard epub format over Amazon’s insistence on a proprietary format.
Moreover, the Nook’s interface with Overdrive (the system most public libraries use to check out e-books for free) is strong and getting stronger. I read voraciously, and would be broke if I had to buy all my books. Barnes & Noble partnered with Overdrive before Amazon did, and I could check out e-books from the library for my Nook Color months before Kindle permitted library downloads.
There is a new Overdrive app that allows me to download books to my Nook HD without using a computer at all – I select the book from either of the two libraries where I have accounts (Mid-Continent Public Library, or Kansas City Public Library), click on the download button, and the book magically appears on my Nook HD to read!
But much as I love the Nook HD for reading, Overdrive is not my favorite application for my Nook. I’ve discovered Flipboard. In essence, Flipboard allows users to create their own glossy magazines of feeds from whatever news sources and social media sites they like to use. I use Flipboard’s standard News, Politics, Business, and similar feeds, and I’ve supplemented those with my own Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn feeds.
What I love most about Flipboard is the ability to add in feeds from a U.S. National Parks site, from National Geographic, from Sunset magazine, and from Lonely Planet. In addition, a feed called Flipboard Picks has gorgeous pictures and articles on topics I’d never browse on my own, like architecture and art and food. Users can add RSS text feeds also, but these sites with pictures are so much prettier.
When I’m bored with reading my library books from Overdrive, I switch to Flipboard, and surf till my eyes glaze over.
Flipboard is available for Android devices, and I’ve loaded it on my cell phone also. But the app looks best on a tablet like the Nook HD, with its sharp screen and larger size. In this size, Flipboard is eye candy for readers, updated constantly wherever a wi-fi connection is available.
So here is one customer who hopes that Barnes & Noble’s Nook business will thrive. And that Flipboard feeds will multiply.
What’s your favorite app for your tablet or e-reader?