Having played around with multiple ebook readers, I still found myself contemplating the least expensive ebook reader I could find at my favorite brick-n-mortar bookstore, Barnes and Noble. Since I’ve invested in ebooks–with my first generation Nook–I was looking to stay inside of the proprietary ebook world BN.com has built (uh, no).

My 1st-gen Nook has gotten a bit old, slow and what a pain to flip pages. Having two Kindles in the family, I decided that I didn’t want to go Amazon, even though I love their online store environment. Why didn’t I go with an Android tablet, like Nexus 7 or Samsung’s? I thought about this…but again, I already have an iPad 3rd gen. Why invest in yet another tablet when I’m happy with the one I have now? There are lots of possible uses an Android tablet can be put to, but I’m interested in doing only one things on mine–reading.

While I tried reading on my Android phone (Samsung Exhibit), I found the screen print a bit small for my eyes. The SimpleTouch makes the print bigger so I can read without my spectacles 😉

My main criteria–aside from I just wanted it–for choosing the SimpleTouch (the one with the light was too expensive) included the following:

1) Light and portable.
Although many ebook readers fit the bill, something about the Nook SimpleTouch make it one of the lightest ebook readers I own. In fact, I’ve shed my iPad as my primary ebook reading platform. Since I read quite a few ePubs, I’d recently experienced problems with my favorite iPad apps dealing with them. Whether it was the Nook app, Readdle Documents app, etc., I realized that the iPad was just too much awesomeness to deal properly with the wide variety of ePubs I was throwing at it (I am a voracious reader). I found myself wanting a simple device that did ONE thing well.

The SimpleTouch is portable, and while it doesn’t fit in my pocket, it’s easy to transport everywhere you can imagine reading. I admit I’ve grown weary of perching my iPad on my chest while I read. The SimpleTouch is even lighter than my first generation Nook–which I’ve passed onto my wife–and is a joy to turn pages on. Really, it’s much faster with its touchscreen.

2) Inexpensive
Afraid to lose an expensive iPad? I am. Although I don’t mind lugging my iPad 3rd gen around with me when I’m doing serious work–facilitating a keynote, presenting, recording content for a video, writing–I’m tired of worrying about it when I simply want to read. At $60, essentially a tank of gas depending on world affairs, I am not as worried about what might happen. And, if I need more storage space, just add a microSD card (e.g. 16gigs for $12)

3) Easy to sideload content
Since I pull content from a variety of sources (ePub, PDF), I like the fact I can plug in a micro-USB cable to a Linux, Windows, Mac device and easily drop content in. What’s more, Calibre ebook converter makes it easy to convert content I create into ePub format and drop it on my Nook SimpleTouch.

Calibre supports the Kinde, the Sony PRS line, the Nook and a large number of other devices. It is is a full e-book management application that can organize your e-book library, handle automated news downloads from a number of sources, and convert between a large number of e-book formats. It is a one stop, all in one tool. Source: The ABCs of Book Publishing

And, Smashwords.com–which sells books in non-DRM format–is a great source of content. . .non-Digital Rights Management allows you to sideload ebooks you buy from them in ePub format without having to buy everything through the BN.com store.

Jonathan Moeller (@moellerjonathan), one of my favorite authors who can’t write fast enough to keep up how quickly I buy his books, shares some tutorials on how to sideload books onto different devices, including the Nook. You can also find some of his book available for free (usually the first in each series, which are great introductions).

This is a great point because so much content is available in ePub ebook format. Consider you can get free or no-cost content online at:

Undoubtedly, there are other web sites where free/no-cost ebooks can be found. Sites like Scribd.com provides some sources. And, of course, BN.com also has free ebooks that can be easily loaded.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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