I first bought a Nook Color back in 2011. I chose Barnes & Noble, rather than Amazon, because I didn't like what I was hearing about the games Amazon was playing with Digital Rights Management.
I liked it well enough. I started by downloading Dumas' Musketeer Cycle from Project Gutenberg
. Then I started reading all those Percy Keese Fitzhugh
Boy Scout novels (my grandmother had had a couple when I was a kid.)
Truth is, I found so many good books
available for free download, I didn't actually buy very many. Enough so that I found Calibre
- a cross-platform app for managing your ebook library that I could run on my Linux desktop
. I loaded all the books
I'd downloaded into Calibre, then hit the B&N website and downloaded the books I'd purchased from them. Ditto for the DRM-free Science Fiction novels I'd bought from Baen
, or downloaded from their Free Library.
Wasn't long before I had a couple of hundred books in my Calibre library. I'd plug
my Nook into my computer via USB, open up Calibre, and transferred books back and forth.
I'd made the mistake of not buying
protector, when I bought my Nook Color, and after a year of heavy use it was clear that had been a mistake. So when the Nook HD came out in 2012, I upgraded - and bought a screen
protector. It worked just fine with Calibre.
It was about then that an author I'd read and liked made a couple of his books available free, and DRM-free, but only for Kindle. I installed the Kindle app on my Nook HD, and was able to download and read the books, but when I tried to load them into my Calibre library, I ran into problems.
It seems that you can't download Kindle books from Amazon's website onto your PC, you can only load them into approved Kindle reader apps. After a bit of playing around, I found that I could download them into the Kindle reader app for Windows desktop
, find where it had stored the files, and then load them into Calibre. Aggravating, and exactly the kind of thing that had convinced me to buy Nook, in the first place.
Then in 2013 I upgraded again, to the Nook HD+. I liked the larger form factor, and I really liked that it opened up more of the functions of the underlying Android system. I could download apps from the Play Store. I could watch videos, etc.
But the Nook HD+ had one problem - I could no longer connect it to my Linux
box. Not the Nook's problem, the new versions of Android had dropped support for the obsolete USB connection mechanism that was all that Linux supported. I didn't worry about it - figured that I'd figure it out, someday.
In early 2015 I upgraded yet again, to the new Samsung Nook. No longer a custom device, but a bog-standard Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, with Nook software
loaded. Still couldn't get USB to work, but discovered there was a new Android app - Calibre Companion
, that could download books wirelessly.
With that installed, I went back to B&N's website, wanting to download the books I'd purchased over the previous year, so I could load them into Calibre. And found out that Barnes & Noble had removed support for downloading ebooks from their website in September of 2014. Which, in my mind, removed the one competitive advantage they had over Amazon.
I found that I could do the same trick of downloading the books into the B&N reader for PC, so I managed to side-load the books I had purchased, but at that point I pretty much stopped buying
ebooks from B&N.
Since then, I've been buying my ebooks mostly from Google Play Books
So, after all of this, what would I recommend?
Don't buy a Kindle. Don't buy a Nook. Don't even buy a Kobo
. Buy a generic Android tablet, and install the Kindle reader, and the Nook reader, and the Kobo reader, and whatever else you choose.
Ebook readers are software
, not hardware
, and they run just fine on generic hardware
. Do not let yourself be trapped into Amazon's closed ecosystem, or Barnes & Noble's, either.
And if you have a WIFI
access point, take a good look at Calibre.