* I am the novice, not the Nook
During the Christmas break I went to Hawaii and while I was there I was sucked into, by gravitational pull, a Barnes and Noble bookshop. Barnes and Noble have their own e-book reader, the Nook, and they had a very nice display of them. I had been planning on getting Kindle Touch, but you couldn’t get one for love nor money in Australia and they were hard to come by in Hawaii as well, at least where I was and I didn’t plan to spend the holiday hunting one down. So I played around with a Nook for a bit, but left without buying one, but with an armful of books.
MyNigel then discovered that there was another B&N store in a nearby suburb, and as he was hunting non-fiction books which are much cheaper in the US and it was a bookstore so I was happy to go, we headed out there. This store had an even nicer display of Nooks plus a lovely sales person to show me how to use one. Unfortunately I didn’t ask and she didn’t tell me of some of the limitations of the Nook for people outside the US or UK. Firstly, I should say I love my Nook HD. It is very easy to read on it for hours, it has Wifi so if I am at home or somewhere with free wifi I can FB, tweet, check my email (but not respond strangely) and look stuff up on the net. Were I in the Continental US I would have access to the 3G wifi network for free with one of their big providers, but there is no equivalent arrangement in Australia. That I did know before I bought it.
What I didn’t realise was that I wouldn’t be able to access the Barnes and Noble store to buy stuff. The sales girl said that you used to be able to put in a US address and buy stuff that way. I tried this – it doesn’t work. Someone on the Internet said that you can put in a US address with a credit card from anywhere and buy stuff that way once you set up a B&N account. I tried this, but it won’t accept my credit card because it isn’t from a US bank.
Someone else suggested buying a B&N gift card and then using this to purchase stuff from the B&N store. I can buy the gift cards but can’t use them because it goes back to my B&N account which says my credit card is not from the US.
It is supposed to be relatively simple to ‘root’ a Nook so that you can put apps from other android providers on it. I haven’t tried this because I have looked at the instructions on line and they make no sense to me at all, despite people saying how easy it is and only took them about an hour when they tried it. Firstly, having an hour to myself where I will be uninterrupted is pretty rare and secondly I’m a bit worried that my Nook might end up ‘rooted’ in the more Australian vernacular meaning of the term.
It has also been suggested that I try a VPN thingy to hide where my computer is (or something). I haven’t done this either yet because I still have to sort out in my head how they work and if it is something I should be doing anyway (information security wise, not legal wise).
Another option is a ‘virtual’ credit card, but again I’m not sure if it is something I can get from a US bank or if one from an Australian bank would be accepted.
I haven’t tried buying through Amazon and using a conversion program such as Calibre, although I have heard it works well for other e-reader owners.
The final option to get around B&N is to try one of the US ‘ship it to me’ agents. I’m not that desperate yet. If the kids can’t play games on my Nook the world won’t end.
I did try buying e-books from another retailer – Waterstones – but again got the message that they couldn’t sell them to me because of regional restrictions, i.e. Australian publishers have rights to certain titles and the market is protected. Which is annoying because sometimes even e-books are cheaper through the US.
So at the moment I am buying books through Australian distributors and downloading from Project Gutenberg. The e-books for purchase are a little more expensive, but not too bad, the gap in price is less than with paper books. I had to download an Adobe exe which does something which didn’t want to work for a bit but seemed to resolved itself with only a bit of swearing from me and now my e-books are safely on the Nook.
So, knowing what I do now would I buy one again (you need to be in the US or UK to do so, they don’t ship outside those countries)? Yes. Absolutely. It is lightweight and easy to use. The battery lasts well and I have a travel converter so that I can charge it from an Australian powerpoint. It doesn’t charge via the USB cord which is annoying but not a deal breaker for me. I can get just as lost in a book, so much so that I still sometimes try to turn the page physically rather than dragging my finger across the screen. It does have little moments where the touch screen is a bit unresponsive but seems to wake up again after a few seconds. All in all I’m quite happy with what is effectively a small tablet which does everything that I need, and it was cheaper than the equivalent Kindle or iPad.
Anyone wanting to compare e-readers or offer hints or tips please feel free to do so either here (for HaT authors) or in comments. I can’t promise much in the way of IT support, but if you have a question I will do my best to anwer it.