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I have to admit I have had a life long love affair with books. I love the smell of a brand new paperback. I love the texture and heft of a leather bound book. In college my father gave me his copy of Plato’s “Republic”. It’s copyright written in Roman Numerals, it’s thin pages delicate and evocative of an earlier time when one read a book carefully and respectfully. I recall looking forward to my trips to book stores….examining the covers, figuring out how many books I could get within my budget. I still have at least 400 science fiction books lining my walls, A friend keeps giving me books about Hitchcock every Christmas. Soon, I’ll have enough for my own library. But, seriously, how can a bibliophile like myself learn to adapt to the Nook? After all, I treat my books so well that I have never cracked a spine. My paperbacks still look new after I have read them. So, I don’t have to worry about spines while reading a Nook. That’s a plus!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two weeks ago the much anticipated Nook arrived and on opening the package I found one Nook, one USB cable and one charger that the cable inserts into. The power button is on the top back of the Nook. Hold it for a few moments and it starts up. When you buy a Nook you will have to charge it the first time but the instructions let you know that you can use the Nook intermediately even while it’s charging. If you put down your Nook it hibernates but fear not, instructions on the screen let you know how to wake it up. Hint: button on the bottom face that’s shaped like an “N”.

In fact, pressing that “N” at any time will bring up all the areas you will need to navigate the Nook

 

 

within the Settings I was able to connect to my home’s WiFi since that’s where I was when I opened the Nook package. The Nook remembers everywhere it has connected via WiFi in a list. It looks for the nearest signal – my home signal was at the top of the list. All I had to do was insert the key number to connect. When I went to a Barnes and Noble bookstore the Nook automatically adjusts and recognizes the at&t WiFi signal. And made the Nook aware so that I could read whatever I wished from among almost 300 books. I picked a book which become available for free reading for an hour. They are labeled “In Store”

 

 

 

 

Barnes and Noble gives you one hour free reading per day. You can use the bookstore as a kind of library. That’s a plus!

 

 

 

 

when the hour is up you can buy the book, or add it to your wishlist…or continue reading more another day.

 

 

 

 

 

So I spent an hour reading the Nook just so I could know how it felt. The Nook has very pleasant rubbery edges, the size of a book, except flatter. It feels quite comfortable in the hands. It seems a little odd not turning pages, but as one becomes immersed in the words, gently taping the screen to continue to the next page or pressing the edge of the Nook becomes unconscious. Even the slight “blink” that happens when the page changes becomes ‘invisible’ eventually. The Nook always knows what page you were last reading. For Every book you read. So you can read several books at once. Perfect for students, or just people reading newspapers and magazines.

Now, while you are reading you can stop to examine the Table of Contents, change the font size – important for old eyes, change the margins or the font face, Go To a different page, or Search for a word or phrase. Just tap and briefly hold the screen will bring those extra features to the bottom of the page.

 

 

When you wish to check out what is available to read on your Nook, hit the “N” and go to HOME.

 

You can look at the books that are already on the Nook – your “Library”, buy new books, or go to the Book you are reading at the moment. You can create “My Shelves”. It’s just a way to organize your books rather than just have them in a big lump. I would, for example, make a “shelf” for a favorite author. Trust me, I’d have an Asimov shelf. Students would organize their shelves according to their curriculum. Business people might have “shelves’ for newspapers they need for work. You get the idea. I like organization. It does make me happy. Considering that the Nook with 2GB of internal storage can hold 1000 books, some organization is an absolute necessity.

So what if you want more than 1000 books, magazines and newspapers? You can always expand your Nook by inserting a microSD card (up to 32GB). The slot is on the upper right edge. Within the Nook Settings you can see how full your card is (%) and the ability to Unmount the card before you physically remove it. You can also format the card from the Nook, The feature is un-ghosted after you Unmount the card (but keep it plugged in). So it has to be formated after it’s unmounted, if that makes sense.
To access the files on the card go to your Library and choose “My Files” from the menu. Then pick “Memory card” rather than “NOOK files”

 

 

 

 

 

 

To really take advantage and organize your files you will want to take that USB cable that comes with the Nook and plug it into your computer. There’s a variety of Nook apps for several devices.

The Nook app for Windows and MAC’s will let you look over your Library, sync to the Nook, read your books and so on. That’s great but what about people like me who prefer to use Linux? No problem! When plugging it into my Ubuntu it shows up as any removable drive

 

 

 

In my file manager it lists the important folders and files

Meanwhile, the Nook lets you know it’s connected. You can’t read from the Nook while it’s mounted, however.

 

 

 

If you have pdf files save them in the Documents folder. If you have some free books (more on this later), place them in the Books folder. Same with Magazines and Newspapers; each in their respective folders. The Nook will find them. Once you have copied all the files you wish to the Nook folders you can “eject” or Unmount the Nook. You don’t have to remove the cable if you don’t wish to, especially if you want to replenish the battery. Once the Nook is not mounted it will let you know you can now peruse your Library.

I got a free book from Project Gutenberg etexts. It’s “The Adventures of the Dying Detective” by Conan Doyle. And it’s in the ePUB format. While the Nook was plugged in I copied the ebook to the /media/NOOK/My Files/Books folder, Earlier I was online looking at the Barnes and Noble web site and logged in to the account. I bought and downloaded “Thomas Jefferson” by Christopher Hitchens. I also copied this book into the Nook. Just to see if I could, you understand. I mean, normally one buys books from the Nook, but you can also buy from the site and you can just download from there. It’s quite easy to copy files around. So, once you ready to read from your Nook go to My Library and tap “My Files” in the menu.

 

 

 

Conan Doyle and Christopher Hitchens will be there in the Books folder. When I wanted to look at the PDF I copied in the Nook I just looked in the Documents folder. PDF’s are not quite the same as eBooks so if the font size is too large some images may not show up….but since you can change the fonts and their sizes while you look at the document, you can test until everything looks correct. I had to do that when I realized some pictures were “missing”. Maybe they got pushed out of the way with the larger font size I was using, in any case it was an easy fix.

Now, you can do it all manually or you can use a nice program. On Ubuntu you can use calibre to read free books as well as sync with your Nook.

Barnes and Noble protects it’s sales by making eBooks with DRM encryption. So, you can only read those books on a Nook. Unless you have a MAC or Windows with the Nook App, of course. Calibre can only read DRM free ebooks. And there’s lots of those. Calibre is compiling it’s own list while Amazon has their list of free books

 

Calibre can automatically fetch news from websites or RSS feeds so you can get your newspapers and magazines this way. There’s lots of other features, but that’s for you to explore. (check out:)
mobileread.com/forums/

 

 

 

 

Let’s return to the Nook.

I’ve mentioned there are Nook apps for several devices. I was able to look at the one for Blackberry’s.

Download the B&N eReader for Blackberry by using your phone’s browser go to www.bn.com and click the link for the BN eReader App

 

download to phone

find App on screen

after you see your list of online library eBooks you can double click a title to download a book for viewing on the phone.

once the book is one the phone (see the green tick mark) click on it to unlock

 

 

you have to add the card number you used to buy the book with before it can be unlocked. It will download your online library but nothing else.

 

 

 

Getting Personal
One other feature of the Nook is that you can add a bit of customization by way of your own Screensavers. This is basically a way to view your pictures on the Nook. Of course they will all be in Black/white/gray tones so choose your images with that in mind. I plugged the Nook into my laptop, then went to the folder called “Screensavers” and added a sub-folder called “cecilia”. Then I copied a few pictures within my folder. They should be about 600 x 800 pixles and in png or jpg format. Just to see what would happen I included a few pics that were 318 x 539. They end up getting scaled up with black bars on the sides, that is they retain their aspect radio. So, you can be a bit flexible with your images. Once they are in your Nook go to Settings / Screen / Screensaver, I then selected “cecilia”. The default screensaver folders are Nature and Authors. My “cecilia” showed up automatically under those. I can also Alter the time the screen starts to blanks out.

Now, as I was using this Nook reading basic text was fine, but if you happen to be one of these people that loves comic books, graphic novels or even magazines, you might consider getting the Nook Color. But for students needing textbooks who will be exploring Nook Study – eTextbook reader this ALL-NEW NOOK is just fine.

 

 

Sharing

Assuming you are on Facebook, Google or have a Twitter account you can Share a review or book you are reading. Log into one or more of these social networks from the Settings. You can tap the share word under a book you happen to be reading. If you have connected to Facebook it’s as if you clicked “Like”. The link to that book will show up on your Facebook profile page like any other link you share.
While reading you can also Share a Quote, although it’s tricky to operate. I don’t think I quite got the hang of it before I had to send the Nook back. I’m sure anyone buying a Nook will figure it out easily.

 

 

Extracurricular Activities:
For those who are REAL gadgetNUTZ (emphasis on the NUTZ, and I mean that in the nicest possible way) you can try rooting your Nook.

You can turn on the Bluetooth, access your Gmail, install Opera for browsing, install the Kindle app to read Kindle books and so on.
But for those just wishing to have a nice read, there’s no need to do a thing.

By the way, just after I was sent the Nook I kept it turned on but “asleep” overnight to test the battery – which is very robust, by the way. Sometime around 4 in the AM the Nook updated it’s software all by itself….wow.

This happens to be the latest software update. And it happened while I was making zzzzzzzzzzz’s.

 

 

Epilogue
So, have I been convinced that a Nook could replace real books? Maybe not replace them, but as a convenient addition, most definitely. It’s the perfect size. It’s easy to read from. You can borrow ebooks from your actual library – the old fashioned kind with paper books and chairs, ya know. You can Lend books to your contacts and they can lend ebooks to you. It takes up way less space than the 1000 plus books it can hold, making this the perfect travel companion. And as my mother, who is a retired teacher pointed out, this device is great for students and teachers alike. No more carrying 50 pounds worth of heavy textbooks. I remember doing that. No more wasting all that paper on textbooks which can become outdated in 5 years. You can add notes to any page as you read…..no more yellow markers defacing books. Even if you aren’t a student, I often like to make notes on a book I am reading. Naturally, I don’t write in the book (Oh, the Horror!), I use a slip of paper that is inserted in the book. So, alright, the Nook doesn’t provide that New Book Smell. Maybe I could invent a perfume that you spray on yourself as you read your Nook? yeah, That’s the Ticket!