In my last few posts (a few months ago), I reviewed the process of downloading ebooks from online libraries and compared the differences between using these files on the Nook, the Kindle, and Nook and Kindle apps on tablets/smartphones. This time I am finally going to cover limitations of e-readers.
Number of Devices That Can Share an Account
For both the Kindle and OverDrive Media (ODM), the number of devices that can be registered to a single user ID is six. It is pretty easy, however, to change the account on a Kindle–and change back–without losing files. And if you exceed six devices, you simply get booted out of ones you aren’t using and have to re-enter your user ID and password the next time you use it.
But if you reach the limit with Overdrive Media and want to add a new device, you have to call Adobe’s customer service number, wait on hold and then find your way to the right agent who can reset your account. Be warned. Consider very carefully which devices you want to have on your account before you use all six of your Adobe Digital Reader (Overdrive) registrations. This includes the Nook devices, because Adobe Digital Editions must be used to download and transfer the library files to your Nook.
The Nook app, on the other hand, can be installed on unlimited devices under the same user ID. Everyone in the family can share the same purchased books on the Nook app and devices. The catch is that you have to register your account with a credit card number. You will, of course, not want to give out your credit card number to anyone and everyone. Therefore publishing houses are confident you will self-limit the number of devices you register. And the Nook app doesn’t support library ebooks anyway. You will have to download and read them with the Overdrive Media app, my least favorite ebook reader.
Organizing Books and Other Files
Another small irritation I found with the apps (Kindle and ODM) is that they do not allow the user to make categories to organize book files. On my Kindle and Nook I have categories or shelves for all my books. I can organize my book files in such a way that I can find them easily. I also keep a shelf of all library books I have read but which have expired. I can’t open these files anymore, but I’ve found having the cover thumbnails useful when I want to tell someone about a book I’ve read. I have the title and author’s name at my fingertips.
Overall, how do the different devices and apps for library e-books compare? Before the introduction of the Kindle Fire and touchscreen Kindles, I would have said that Nook is the superior device for reading any e-book–library or not–despite its initial inconvenience with downloading. Its notes, highlights and built-in dictionary, and touchscreen give it the advantage over the 3rd Generation Kindle, Kindle App, and OverDrive Media.
Now, I believe the Kindle Fire and touchscreen Kindles match or beat the Nook in features and have an advantage in the convenience of downloading. If I want to have access to my notes and highlights later, Kindle library e-books are preferable. But if the book is one with a lot of words that I will have to look up, I would prefer to use my Nook or Kindle device (instead of one of the apps) for the built-in dictionary. That way I can look up words even if I’m riding in the car without Wi-Fi access. The problem for Kindle users is that libraries seem to have the books I want as EPUBs only. So, sometimes there isn’t a choice. But that may change.
For now, I sometimes download library books to the Kindle app, especially if I want to the kids to read them. If I had a touchscreen, backlit Kindle (Kindle Fire), that would be my first choice. But since I have only an older 3rd generation Kindle, I still download library e-books mostly to my Nook Color because the advantages of the device still trump the apps.