My reviews are simple. How does the product work in my life? I haven't researched the specs or the company goals or read other reviews. I use the product and share my experience. I have had my Nook for two months now. I love it. Here's why.
But first, I have to put out there that I love books. I love the crisp pages and the smell of a freshly cracked binding and the look of countless black words on white pages. I save my favorite books and collect old stories, especially children's books. I want a world where a book -book is always available and adored.
At the same time, I'm excited for the companion world of e-readers, because I see a way where they can co-exist without one replacing the other.
Our house is full of books. Ask the kids. They have over 100 books, easily. At the same time, I need my ereader. The Nook is not like a computer screen for reading. A computer screen is backlit. An ereader uses fancy new technology to write with moveable ink on a screen. You cannot turn it "on" to read in the dark. I still need lighting like any other book. What it means, though, is that the Nook doesn't cause eye-fatigue like a computer screen. There is a little flickery shuffle when I press the button to turn a page, but I'm getting used to that.
The other big difference between a dedicated ebook reader and a computer is that reading on a computer usually requires sitting up, even with a laptop, and I love reading in bed or lying on the couch (especially when I'm exhausted). The Nook is perfect for that.
Here is where the Nook shines for me as an accessibility device. The Nook is light, far lighter than most hardcover releases and many of the thick novels that I like. I was running into trouble because balancing the book upright in bed was getting more challenging. I also have fine motor issues where I'm not supposed to hold a hand position for more than a few moments because I can damage the nerves and joints. My recent novel-reads were stressing me out trying to balance the heavy book. The Nook can be propped up and I turn pages with the press of a button. Reading in bed is fun again!
Another huge advantage for me is that I can browse and buy books from home. Again, I love my local bookstores and I visit when I can, but I have a couple of hurdles. One is that my kiddos are young. My boy, especially, finds it far more entertaining to pull books off of shelves than let Mom browse for a new story. Then, some days the ideas of parking, standing while finding a book, and waiting in line to pay are just too much. My legs tire so I get frustrated and walk out with nothing since I cannot look at everything that interests me. The Nook has a great touch-screen feature that displays the covers of books. By pressing on a cover, I see the summery. I can then download a sample chapter or two. And all of my samples can follow me anywhere so I can read while water boils or at the park while the kids play. I can purchase wirelessly. I have purchased more new releases in the past two months that I had over the six months previously.
A nifty feature that I don't need but that would help readers with visual challenges is that you can change the font and size of the font on your screen very easily. All texts can become oversize texts.
Something that I learned as an author is that the e-book market may open doors for smaller publications and niche stories. Last summer, I posted my novel, The Goblin Queen, on Amazon's Kindle store for a bargain 1.99. My goal was to let my friends and family download the story. But since then others have stumbled across it and are getting to enjoy it. I don't have to depend on the traditional publishing structure and massive distribution costs to get the story out for anyone who wants to read it. Which I think is very cool. Perhaps we will get to see more shared experiences by people with rare conditions, or fiction for smaller audiences, that can be 'published' without the risk of printing massive amounts of paper and accruing huge production costs. I haven't made The Goblin Queen availble for the Nook yet, but I need to investigate how to release it on that platform.
I'm also curious how the Ipad's I-bookstore will handle epublishing, and whether authors will get to post books directly for their audience. That's another discussion. The Ipad isn't set for release for another few months. Anyone have ideas how I can get ahold of one to review? Our community needs the accessible perspective :)
So there's my first review! The Nook from an accessibility perspective. Enjoy your reading however you like- books, ebooks, magazines, blogs, whatever. Enjoy the story!