A few weeks ago I managed to save up enough Best Buy gift cards from our incentive program at work that I was able to buy the Barnes and Noble Nook e-reader. I have to say that I am very pleased with my purchase and I find the technology to be amazing.

I first started looking seriously into the e-readers when I read an article that took the technically under a microscope to see what the screen really looks like up close. Give that article a brief glance, especially checking out the pictures, and you’ll see that the e-reader looks almost like gravel close up. What the technology does is work like an electronic etch-a-sketch. A signal is sent through the screen drawing the darker pigmented filament to the surface creating the image. The really amazing thing is that the only time battery is being used is when you are turning the page (or if you are using the wi-fi to download books, etc).

The bottom of the Nook (that colored part in the image to the left) is actually a touch screen where you can see your library, shop for books, surf the web, type text, and more. Personally I’ve only used the web browser a little bit but honestly, if I want to surf, I’ll grab my laptop. All I want to do is read on my Nook.

One interesting feature is that there is a section called “the daily” which has news and information updated…daily…to keep you informed from B&N. A cool aspect of this is that they have “Free Book Friday” in which a random title is available for free to download. Other things like software updates, promotions, and fun articles are also available.

For me the biggest selling point is that I can add epub files directly to the library without having to go through a complicated conversion process like the Kindle (which requires you to convert the doc to pdf before it can be added). Because of this the number of free books open up exponentially because of sites like Project Gutenberg. There are thousands of classic books available for free download which I can just dump right onto the Nook and be reading in seconds. It also has 2gb of internal memory and is expandable with micro-SD cards so you can increase it even more. The files on most books are really small so filling up even the first 2gb will take a bit.

I’ve been very happy with the Nook so far and have found myself reading more  than before I had it. As this technology becomes more prevalent I’m sure that we’ll see text books being available so that students don’t have to lug around 50 metric tons of books to class. Also one thing I’m curious to test out is putting sermon notes on the device. Because it reads epub and pdf documents I could save my sermon outlines to pdf and then drop it on there to use while preaching. This would save me having to print out my notes, plus I could directly insert large portions of Scripture if I needed to directly into the notes. I have yet to try that out but hope to soon.

Both the Kindle and the Nook are excellent e-readers that help people have easier access to reading material and it really is like reading actual printed paper. My only fear is that they are going to try to put too much into the device and bog it down with stuff that it doesn’t need (like the web browser). Keep it simple and the devices will fill a niche that laptops and tablets can’t, but that probably won’t happen as the consumer usually demands more and more out of a device. Now back to reading!