Tuesday, March 20, 2012


In our family we do not give extravagant gifts, so for Christmas this year I asked everyone for a gift certificate. I amassed enough to buy my own Hand Held Electronic Reading Devise, or HHERD.

I asked everyone I knew who had a HHERD why they liked it or disliked it. Most said “I like it,” but gave no concrete reasons. Articles told me about support, how you could or could not access books, a few mentioned the feel of the device in your hand. I have been reading from Project Gutenberg for some time, but reading books on my lap top was tedious and I tended to buy a PBRP (paper based reading product, or book) after several chapters. I knew I needed a HHERD but couldn’t figure out which one was for me. I ended up picking one because someone I trust liked it.

The whole thing came to a head when I lost yet another pair of mittens and was trying to knit up a new pair before my hands froze. The PBRP (book) I was reading at the time had to be held open with one hand, or have its spine broken to lay flat. I have yet to master one handed knitting. Ah, now I had two reasons to buy a HHERD; is easier to read than a computer screen and it requires no hands while reading

Right after the holidays I bought my New Electronic Reading Device, or NERD. Here is a list of the things I like and dislike about it, things no one told me before I bought it.

LIKE: I no longer trip over my to-be read pile when I get out of bed in the dark.

LIKE: I can buy individual short stories, rather than anthologies.

DISLIKE: You don’t need a web site to tell you how to work a book. Three months later I am still learning how to use my NERD. .

DISLIKE: I never read a book from front to back, I am always flipping back and forth, to the map in the front, to the last five pages to see if I actually want to finish reading the book, back to see who George is when I don’t remember there ever being a George in the cast of characters. This can be done but is difficult with NERD.

LIKE: I can read at night with the lights out. If I fall asleep, NERD turned itself off. I am still trying to teach it to remove my glasses.

DISLIKE: I read in bed lying on my side, but when I turned the device on its side, the page reoriented itself. I took some time and a couple of trips to the web site to get it to stay put. It’s fine now.

LIKE: If I want a book I can have it instantly, no trips to the book store. I can start reading within minutes of my wish. Instant gratification.

DISLIKE: I have a tendency to forget that instant books still cost money. I have had to put myself on a book diet.

LIKE: NERD weighs 438kg; the last hard cover PBRD I bought weighs 1056kg.

DISLIKE: NERD weighs 438kg; the last paperback PBRD I bought weighs 153kg.

LIKE: I don’t have to worry about stuffing a book in my purse and tearing the pages, dog-earing the cover, and generally making a mess of a book.

LIKE: It fits in my purse without ruining the contents of the NERD.

DISLIKE: I am afraid of breaking it. I worry about messing books up but not breaking them.

LIKE: The reader can change the size of the print. Dislike: The number of used books for sale at our monthly Sisters in Crime meeting has declined from three standard tables full to one standard table full.

LIKE: It’s easy to hide NERD if I am reading when I am supposed to be doing something else.

LIKE: It makes a great flashlight.

The NERD and I still haven’t finished the mittens I started at Christmas. Well it will be too warm for them in a couple of weeks.


E. B. Davis said...

I have a Kindle and like it, although I must say that I still don't have the hang of a touch screen. It's seems capricious. I'll make the same touch to the screen and sometimes it responds, other times not. I also don't like the touch screen keyboard. Fat fingers? I also don't like that there aren't page numbers. It will give me a percentage of the book finished but not Page 20 of 320. It makes me suspicious, as if I'm not buying full length novels.

Yet, it's a wonderful bedside clock and nightlight.

Warren Bull said...

OMG, LOL. I have a NERD. It's great for very long trips like flying to New Zealand.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Delightful, funny take on e-readers, KB! I am one of the Luddites who still does not own one. I'm certain I will, sooner or later, but I cling to my PBRPs.

Gloria Alden said...

I, too, do not have an e-reader. I love the feel of real books and like to be able to put a paste-it note on pages I want to refer to at book clubs, etc. I am a book collector and like to browse through my shelves looking for a specific book. And I like to share books with siblings or friends after I've read them and enjoyed them - at least the ones I own, not library books, of course.

Edith Maxwell said...

Very funny post, KB. I, too, am without a NERD, but mostly because I am resisting indulging myself in another gadget. I love the idea of reading in bed without the light on, though.

Tiger said...

I'm one of the last PBRP nerds. I keep looking at HHERDs, but can't quite bring myself to buy one when I have a TBR stack of books taller than I am. But one of these days. . .

Rhonda Lane said...

LOL! I have/am a NERD. Mine's a Nook Color. We share a lot of the same Likes and Dislikes. A lot of the books I want, though, aren't in ebooks yet. I like being able to buy something new to read while on the train. And I dislike seeing the bill, too.