Thursday, November 1, 2012

Is Newer Always Better?

When I first got my Nook, I was in love.  Carrying hundreds of books in a tiny package?  Amazing.  And I purchased a lot of ebooks.  But as time has passed, my love affair with the Nook has cooled some.

I still love the ease of use and the convenience, but I've found that I'm buying far more actual books than e-books.

First there's the DRM.  I'm sure you've heard the story about the European woman who had her account closed by Amazon and lost access to all her books.  Making sure something like that doesn't happen is something I take seriously.  I download all my ebooks, strip the DRM, and back them up.  But that's not something we should HAVE to do.  I paid for the book, not for a license to the book.  And an average person probably isn't as paranoid about that kind of stuff as I am...though maybe you should be.

Second, I find that the books I really love, I end up buying physical copies of anyway because I want to own them, to be able to display them and read them whenever I want.  Buying ebooks creates this out of sight, out of mind situation where I constantly find ebooks on my Nook I'd forgotten that I'd even bought.

I think tech like the Nook has its place.  I love reading samples on it.  I love traveling with it. And I know I'll keep using it.  But sometimes, the newest, fastest thing isn't always the best.

Take my MacBook Air for instance.  When it came out, it was using a two generations old processor.  But it suited MY needs.  It was small, speedy, and I only planned to do general tasks with it–writing, email, web surfing.  The same goes for the new iPad mini.  People are bemoaning the fact that it's got an older chip in it and is already obsolete, but I ordered one the day they came out.  Why?  Because I love the idea of the iPad but always hated the size of it.  I wanted a device that was bigger than my phone, but could be held with one hand.  Something I could read manuscripts on, surf the web on, do some light editing on, and use around the house.  Where my iPad always felt bulky and awkward, the iPad mini–sized about the same as my Nook–hits the sweet spot.

Technology moves at a brutal pace, and people are always trying to keep up, but when it comes to these things, I think asking ourselves whether the device we have suits our needs or whether we want it just because it's new.


  1. I love my Kindle. I buy pretty much about the exact number of ebooks on it that I actually read. I also read a lot of manuscripts on it. That said, I'm like you: if I love a book, I must have the real thing.

    And it's funny about computers too. I used to have so much top-of-the-line computing equipment. Built my own liquid-cooled desktops, had two of the giant brushed aluminum Apple made monitors ... but I just don't need all that crap to do what I want to do: stay in touch with friends, and write. I could use a MacBook Air though. :)

  2. I tried to read manuscripts on my Kindle, but I never got with the note taking aspect. I'm using an iPad mini for that now and loving it.

    My MBA is priceless. It's so light and really does let me work anywhere.

    I was like you. I built computers when I was younger and was always about upgrading to the newest chip (Pentium III?)


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