In my last post, I detailed the steps to take for downloading e-books from the library and compared the processes. To summarize (see Table 1 below), the OverDrive Media app for iPad or Android tablet was easiest and most efficient.
However, when it comes to reading ebooks on the different devices, the Nook Color has significant advantages.
1. Highlighting and Note-taking
Many readers might not see the value of this feature in a fiction novel. But as a writer, I collect words and passages that impress or inspire me. When I read, I also like to make notes on the plot of a story as I go along. For students who read novels for school, taking notes can be a class requirement.
While OverDrive Media Console is the most convenient means of obtaining a library book, it does not provide any means of highlighting or taking notes while reading an ebook. You can place a bookmark on the page, but I don’t find that particularly helpful. The Nook Color, Kindle, and Kindle apps all allow highlighting/notetaking. In addition, the notes and highlights made while reading a library ebook are retained for future use on Kindle and Kindle apps. Unfortunately, on the Nook Color once the loan period is over, I have been unable to find a way to access my notes and highlights. Usually I don’t have much difficulty recopying my notes and highlights, but it would be nicer to have them saved in case I lose track of time.
Another useful feature on the Nook and Kindle is the ability to share a highlighted passage on Twitter or Facebook or via email.
Of course, this feature is not a necessity, but I think it’s fun to share a great line or word when you find one in the book you’re reading. It was disappointing to find this feature is not available on the Kindle app or OverDrive Media.
To sum up, Kindle and Nook have highlights/notes, but only Kindle saves them for library books. My preference in this category is as follows:
Kindle 3G = Kindle App > Nook Color
Occasionally I’ll run across a word I don’t know. And it’s nice to have a dictionary available to look up these words. But if it’s inconvenient, I’ll more than likely skip it.
Both Kindle and Nook provide a dictionary feature to allow the reader to look up words in a book as you read it. OverDrive Media does not. The Kindle apps include a feature to look up words as well, but need WIFI (or cellular service) to access the information. The Nook and Kindle ereaders, however, both include built-in dictionaries.
I found the ability to look up words without Internet access particularly useful when I started a challenging book at the beach. However, using the Kindle’s arrow keys to highlight a word to look up seems a bit tedious in the age of the touchscreen. So for the dictionary feature, the Nook gets my highest marks.
Nook Color > Kindle App = Kindle 3G
3. Location/Progress Data
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to see how many pages they’ve read in a book and how many remain. Digital book readers all provide this information in varying degrees. The Nook shows pages read out of pages total while you are reading. The Kindle 3rd Generation shows pages read out of total as well as percentage, but you have to use the menu key to find it. The iPad Kindle app shows the page numbers and location in the book, whereas the Android version of the Kindle app gives me only a percentage read for the book. OverDrive shows a percentage of progress as well.
So, again I thought the Kindle 3G and Nook devices performed best for this feature. But honestly, any kind of indication of progress works fine for me.
Nook Color > Kindle 3G> Kindle App iPad > Kindle App Android> OverDrive