I bought a nook. I've been wanting some sort of e-ink device for a while, but haven't really been able to justify spending the money. After wandering around in the book store today and realizing I was on the brink of spending 60 dollars for books (and when I still have plenty of great stuff to read at home, too) I finally decided to go for it. I also ordered an awesome cover from Oberon Design this afternoon, and I can't wait until it gets here.
I'm completely charmed by the thing. After reading some rather nitpicky reviews, I wasn't sure quite what to expect, but I've been nothing but pleased so far. Books are easy to browse in the store, most of them are dirt cheap (looking over the selection felt like going through a giant, virtual bargain bin) and it's easy to browse by genre, then narrow a search to a specific author, series, or title. Plus, there are a huge number of free or nearly free books and other material. Some authors appear to have individual short stories, some of which stand on their own and some of which are usually part of larger collections, available for no charge and occasionally, the entire first book of a series is on offer as a free promotion. I haven't yet seen a new release that's over 9.99, though I've been told that a very few can go as high as 12.00. Most seem to be 7.00 or less. Most things in the classics collection are .99 and the device actually comes with beautifully illustrated copies of Dracula, Little Women and Pride and Prejudice already loaded on it.
Images and videos don't do the e-ink screen justice. People will tell you that it's like looking at paper and that's mostly true. The more precise truth is that it's like looking at a piece of paper secured under a thin sheet of clear plastic. In the right light, there is a very faint gloss to it, though there's no reflection. The illusion is remarkable. Looking down at it now, I could easily believe, if I didn't know better, that someone had removed a page from a book and put it in a little white frame. The text doesn't look blocky or computerized. You can select from several fonts, but they are all identical to popular fonts used by publishers in actual printed books, and things such as illustrations and special chapter headings are all perfectly preserved. You get the cover, dedication page, and all the usual publisher information when flipping through the beginning of a book. Even the table of contents are drawn and laid out identically to the way they are in the print version.
You can also load pictures onto it and choose to have it display them as wallpapers or placeholder images when the device is sleeping and they look just as amazing as the books. I filled mine full of Haibane images and they came out looking similar to black and white photographs or beautifully detailed pencil drawings.
One of the most interesting things is how easy and comfortable it is to actually read on it. There will probably be quite a few people ready to burn me as a heretic for saying this but it is, if you want to get completely technical, more comfortable than reading a print book. It's lighter than most books, thinner, and much easier to read one-handed while doing something like eating lunch with the other. Not only do you not have to use your thumb to hold back the pages on the left, but the page bumpers and touch screen are laid out in such a way that you can comfortably flip back and forth through a book and even place bookmarks using only your thumb. When I sat down to eat on the way home from buying it, I was actually able to read and eat a sandwich at the same time, without it being the least bit awkward or uncomfortable, and without any risk of getting food on the reader. When not reading one-handed, I'm loving the page turning feature on the touch screen that lets me flip back and forth through a book by swiping my finger across it.
This isn't, of course, going to completely replace print books for me. But I like that I can now be more selective about which books I actually buy the print versions of, and that I'll be able to better afford nice hardcover versions when I do. Bbest of all, I like that I can carry a whole library in my pocket. I now don't have to worry about which book to take with me when I go somewhere. I can just take all of them.