Chosing an e-reader

I wanted a e-book reader since I’m reading more these day, and particularly in time for General Assembly, including the bus ride to and fro. Discussed this last year, and had ruled out the Kindle as being too wed to a proprietary e-book format.  Interested, initially, in the newly-released Barnes and Noble Nook Simple Touch Reader — which seems to be poised as a basic Kindle competitor — until I held actually one and read the specs, and found them wanting.  In short, I thought it too wide (even if lighter) and I wanted to read not books and other documents, but also listen to music and I do appreciate the color images, if not the lower battery life. But the lack of PDF support was the killer.

So I bought the Nook Color, even though it’s more than $100 more.

But I’m still learning it and not completely sold. Indeed, I’m not Barnes and Noble’s ideal reader; for one, I’m more likely to download historic, public domain PDFs from Google Books or than buy a new composition, for which I’m still prone to paper. And that’s the rub. It seems that the Google Book PDFs have encoding that make them unreadable, and must be altered — and I’ve got to figure out how to do that — first. Or the Google Books epubs, because they’re generated from a converted scan of the original are thick with typos and gemlins, which makes some practically unreadable.

So I may take it back and do without if I can’t come up with a good solution.

And if I do come up with some solutions, I’ll post them here. Also, I need a way to convert the documents I’ve published a PDF — minimally James Relly’s Union — as an epub.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. Congratulations! I am delighted to read this, and for reasons too lengthy to list in this comment, I feel that you made the best possible choice of the available e-readers.

    I have some recommendations that may help you get much more out of the device and will gladly provide them, but David and I are darting out the door at the moment to see a movie. I will post them soon!

    *happy Snoopy dance of joy*

  2. Hmm, I’d been looking at the Color Nook as well, and wanted to read Google Books PDFs of old books. Of course Google help pages say this is easy, and specify that you can read their books on the Nook — see:

    I am not surprised to learn that it doesn’t work. And yes, their conversions to plain text are always riddled with errors, so their epub formats would be a waste of time.

    Guess I’ll keep waiting to see….

  3. I have a nookColor and think it’s the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

    Have only had it since January, and am still learning things about it–but have gotten a couple of free apps that look promising. What I really like is the library of two million books that can be downloaded–although I’m having trouble downloading a Bible, which was one of the first things I clicked on.

    The other thing I like about nookColor is that you can go to author websites and download ebooks straight from them, which I have done with a particular author who old stuff is out of print.

    I think all of us who really like the feel of paper are always going to be ambivelent about ebooks, but there are advantages to e-readers. As you will see on your trip down to Charlotte.

  4. Hmm, I keep trying to post a comment, and it keeps telling me “search results not found.” My post contained a lot of links, so perhaps WordPress is choking on that for some reason?

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