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NOOK review

7.3/10 AVG.
RATING



7.3/10
Informr score
The NOOK currently has an Informr score of 7.3 out of 10. This score is based on our evaluation of 13 sources including reviews from users and the web's most trusted critics.

The "1-Minute" Review

The Nook is Barnes & Noble's first foray into the highly competitive electronic-book reader market. It was originally released in November of 2009 and quickly gained popularity due to its innovative interface, versatility, and compatibility with multiple file types without DRM copyright restrictions.

While it's marketed as an e-book reader, it does a bit more than just that. The Nook runs on a modified Android 1.5 operating system and, while it cannot access or run apps from the Android Market, it includes applications for playing music using the built-in speaker or 3.5 mm headphone jack, browsing the web via its built-in WiFi connection, or playing games such as chess or Sudoku. It also features 2 GB of built-in storage, which is expandable through a micro SD slot.

The 6-inch E Ink screen on the Nook provides a sharp contrast between dark and light tones that are readable even in bright sunlight. Since it does not have a backlit screen, the Nook is noticeably easier on the eyes than other portable devices; however, the drawback is that it is virtually useless in low-light situations. The books that this type of device replaces aren't particularly useful in low-light situations either, so there is a somewhat organic feel to the overall reading experience. Unlike a real book, the font style and size are fully adjustable to meet your own personal reading needs.

Rather than sporting a keyboard like Amazon's Kindle e-reader, the Nook sports a secondary touch-sensitive color screen used for controlling the device. This color navigation panel displays menu icons and navigation tools, as well as full-color book covers while browsing your library or shopping. It also functions as a touch-sensitive keyboard for typing notes or interacting with websites. While it is a cool feature, the color LCD seems to have a noticeable impact on the device's battery life.

There are a few particularly nice features that are included with the Nook and the NOOKbook Store. With the Nook's built-in LendMe technology, you can share books with a friend's Nook for up to two weeks. Users can preview samples of books while shopping in the NOOKbook Store directly from their device, or can access a number of books for free for up to an hour while physically in any Barnes & Noble location via their in-store WiFi connection.

Need to Know: Nook

1. The 6-inch E Ink screen provides a reading experience similar in size and appearance to the ink on a page of an actual book, making it very pleasing to the eyes. (The Good)

2. The Nook is fully compatible with many popular non-DRM formats, including EPUB, PDF, and PDB. (The Good)

3. Extra apps are included for playing music, browsing the web, and gaming. (The Good)

4. The lack of a backlight makes the Nook useless in low-light situations. A switchable backlight would have easily remedied this. (The Bad)


Screen Size
6"
Storage
2 GB
3G
No
Reading Time
-


What the Critics Are Saying...


Gear Diary

The nook is a great device. If you aren’t already tied into an ebook ecosystem, and you don’t need Amazon’s whispersync capabilities, the nook is a fantastic device. If you spend a great deal of time shopping in B&N stores, it’s an absolute no-brainer.

- Carly Z, Gear Diary
CNET

Is the Nook better than the Kindle? That's the question everybody wants answered, and the short answer is no. From a design standpoint, the Kindle is lighter and thinner. As for core features, the two devices wirelessly deliver similar content to 6-inch e-ink screens (the Kindle's is slightly better...

- David Carnoy , CNET
PC Magazine

In all, the Nook's updates are all quite welcome. Particularly the faster page turning that nearly brings Nook up to Kindle's speed. The new features make great use of the dual screens on the device, and the Web browser is definitely more pleasant than on the Kindle. One feature on the Kindle but no...

- Dan Costa & Michael Muchmore, PC Magazine
Wired

Unfortunately, the Nook is marred by a frustrating interface and persistent slowness. Switching between the lower and upper screens is sometimes confusing, and the lower screen’s “back” button sometimes takes you all the way back to the top menu, clearing out whatever was on the upper screen. Occasi...

- Dylan Tweney, Wired
Mobile Tech Review

What a difference a few months makes! The nook has moved from "no thank you" to "yes, I'll take one" in our book. There are a few things we'd like to see addressed: most important being a go to page number feature, but there are certainly no other glaring issues. The Barnes & Noble nook is the perfe...

- Lisa Gade, Mobile Tech Review


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Quick view

Screen Size
6"

The NOOK's screen size is 6 inches with x pixels resolution.

Backlight
No

There is no built-in backlight.

Storage
2 GB

Internal memory is 2 GB. An external, MicroSD, MicroSDHC (up to 16 GB) expansion slot is available for increased storage capacity.

3G
No

This model has no 3G wireless capabilities.

NOOK Specs

Overview
Release date June 21, 2010
Regions available USA, Canada
Networks
No cellular data
variations
SIM card No
Operating System 1.5
Processor
Internal Flash Memory 2 GB
RAM No
ROM No
Flightmode Yes
TTY/TDD No
SAR Unknown
Languages English
Manufacturer Warranty 1 Year
Accessories Included Data Cable, Manual, Standard Battery, USB Power Adapter
Power & battery
Type Lithium Polymer (Li-Pol)
Battery Capacity No
Removable Battery Yes
Wireless Charging No
Fast Charging No
Battery Charge Time Unknown
Reading Time Unknown
Standby Time Up to: 10 days
Physical Characteristics
Material Plastic
Colors White
Dimensions [H x W x D] 19.6 x 12.4 x 1.3 cm (7.7 x 4.9 x 0.5 in)
Weight 329 grams
Water Resistant / Waterproof Unknown
Rugged design No
IP Rating No
Display / Screen
Type Grayscale
Technology E-ink
Colors Unknown
Resolution x pixels
Pixel density Unknown
Size 6 inches
Backlit Illumination No
Zoom / Magnification Yes
Screen Orientation Lock No
Multi-Touch No
Fingerprint-Resistant Coating No
Anti Glare No
Additional Display Features -
Input / Navigation
Touchscreen Yes
Sleep / Wake Key Yes
Home Key Yes
Page Turn Key No
Physical keyboard No
Text-to-Speech No
Screen Reader No
Keypad/Screen Lock No
External Volume Control No
Fingerprint Sensor No
Web / Email / Messaging
Web Browser Yes
Connectivity
USB Yes
USB OTG Support No
Infrared No
Bluetooth No
WiFi 802.11 b/g
WiFi Encryption No
Memory Expansion Slot Yes
Expansion Slot Info MicroSD, MicroSDHC
PC Synchronization No
DLNA Support No
NFC No
Audio / Video
Audio Playback Yes
Audio Formats MP3, OGG
Video Playback No
Video Playback Formats No
Streaming Video No
External Speakers Yes
Headset Jack 3.5mm
Vibration Alert No
Content Formats Supported
Content Formats Supported No
More
Additional comments Other Names (AKA): NOOK Wi-Fi

Related Links Quick Start Guide (PDF)
Manual (PDF)
NOOK Reviews
Where to buy NOOK
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Critic Reviews


Gear Diary

An absolute no-brainer even for first-time eReader owners

from Gear Diary

The nook is a great device. If you aren’t already tied into an ebook ecosystem, and you don’t need Amazon’s whispersync capabilities, the nook is a fantastic device. If you spend a great deal of time shopping in B&N stores, it’s an absolute no-brainer.

Read full review

The nook is a great device. If you aren’t already tied into an ebook ecosystem, and you don’t need Amazon’s whispersync capabilities, the nook is a fantastic device. If you spend a great deal of time shopping in B&N stores, it’s an absolute no-brainer.

Read full review

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CNET

The NOOK doesn't quite measure up to the Kindle in terms of design and overall performance

from CNET

Is the Nook better than the Kindle? That's the question everybody wants answered, and the short answer is no. From a design standpoint, the Kindle is lighter and thinner. As for core features, the two devices wirelessly deliver similar content to 6-inch e-ink screens (the Kindle's is slightly better). You can argue over which one is easier to use and which interface you like better, but overall the reading experience is only subtly different. Both platforms also offer apps that allow you to share your library between various mobile devices and computers. And the Nook's latest 1.5 firmware update finally enables you to read continuously (sync from your last page read) across your Nook and any device enabled with the Nook app. You can now pick up and read where you left off as you switch from one device to another, a feature that's been available for the Kindle for quite some time....

More

Is the Nook better than the Kindle? That's the question everybody wants answered, and the short answer is no. From a design standpoint, the Kindle is lighter and thinner. As for core features, the two devices wirelessly deliver similar content to 6-inch e-ink screens (the Kindle's is slightly better). You can argue over which one is easier to use and which interface you like better, but overall the reading experience is only subtly different. Both platforms also offer apps that allow you to share your library between various mobile devices and computers. And the Nook's latest 1.5 firmware update finally enables you to read continuously (sync from your last page read) across your Nook and any device enabled with the Nook app. You can now pick up and read where you left off as you switch from one device to another, a feature that's been available for the Kindle for quite some time.

In its favor, the Kindle's battery life is better, and it does offer text-to-speech audio. However, we do like the Nook's extra features, such as free lending capabilities and in-store browsing, and support for the EPUB format and public-library lending are notable pluses. We also appreciate the removable battery and expansion slot for additional memory.

For some people, those features may tip the scales in favor of the Nook. In other words, the Nook should definitely remain in contention when you're shopping for e-ink e-book readers.

Read full review

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PC Magazine

The NOOK's interesting design and usability features gives the Kindle a serious run for its money

from PC Magazine

In all, the Nook's updates are all quite welcome. Particularly the faster page turning that nearly brings Nook up to Kindle's speed. The new features make great use of the dual screens on the device, and the Web browser is definitely more pleasant than on the Kindle. One feature on the Kindle but...More

In all, the Nook's updates are all quite welcome. Particularly the faster page turning that nearly brings Nook up to Kindle's speed. The new features make great use of the dual screens on the device, and the Web browser is definitely more pleasant than on the Kindle. One feature on the Kindle but not yet offered by Nook is text-to-speech reading of e-books, but the majority of users likely won't miss this. Still, for now, the Amazon Kindle remains our Editors' Choice e-book reader, but the Nook's new features and reduced $199 price make it a solid read.

Read full review

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Wired

Taking care of software glitches is a must before the NOOK can compete with the Kindle

from Wired

Unfortunately, the Nook is marred by a frustrating interface and persistent slowness. Switching between the lower and upper screens is sometimes confusing, and the lower screen’s “back” button sometimes takes you all the way back to the top menu, clearing out whatever was on the upper screen. Occasionally the lower screen takes a few seconds to respond to a tap, so you impatiently tap again, accidentally triggering something you didn’t expect. The upper, E Ink screen is slightly slower to refresh than the Kindle’s — it takes about a second, instead of about half a second — which means these kinds of interface glitches quickly get very frustrating....

More

Unfortunately, the Nook is marred by a frustrating interface and persistent slowness. Switching between the lower and upper screens is sometimes confusing, and the lower screen’s “back” button sometimes takes you all the way back to the top menu, clearing out whatever was on the upper screen. Occasionally the lower screen takes a few seconds to respond to a tap, so you impatiently tap again, accidentally triggering something you didn’t expect. The upper, E Ink screen is slightly slower to refresh than the Kindle’s — it takes about a second, instead of about half a second — which means these kinds of interface glitches quickly get very frustrating.

It seems reasonable to expect that the Nook’s software engineers will iron out these glitches in the next few months, and they’ve promised to deliver software updates wirelessly, with the first, minor update rolling out next week. When they finally get the kinks worked out, the Nook will be an elegant, customizable, competitive alternative to Amazon’s Kindle. Until then, it’s a slightly awkward runner-up.

Read full review

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Mobile Tech Review

This is exactly what an eBook reader should be like

from Mobile Tech Review

What a difference a few months makes! The nook has moved from "no thank you" to "yes, I'll take one" in our book. There are a few things we'd like to see addressed: most important being a go to page number feature, but there are certainly no other glaring issues. The Barnes & Noble nook is the perfect companion to those who like to read books and periodicals for pleasure: it's fun and easy to use and the display is eInk at its best. The nook is less suited to those who need an eBook reader for business or academic purposes since it doesn't do justice to 8.5 x 11 PDF files and the note-taking facilities aren't really there. What do we love about the nook? It works with ePUB format books: hello library books, Google free books, Sony Reader Books and more. The shopping experience is as good as Kindle's and you're less hobbled by DRM since you can loan books. And we like the newly added web browser too, even if it doesn't challenge your smartphone or iPad for speed....

More

What a difference a few months makes! The nook has moved from "no thank you" to "yes, I'll take one" in our book. There are a few things we'd like to see addressed: most important being a go to page number feature, but there are certainly no other glaring issues. The Barnes & Noble nook is the perfect companion to those who like to read books and periodicals for pleasure: it's fun and easy to use and the display is eInk at its best. The nook is less suited to those who need an eBook reader for business or academic purposes since it doesn't do justice to 8.5 x 11 PDF files and the note-taking facilities aren't really there. What do we love about the nook? It works with ePUB format books: hello library books, Google free books, Sony Reader Books and more. The shopping experience is as good as Kindle's and you're less hobbled by DRM since you can loan books. And we like the newly added web browser too, even if it doesn't challenge your smartphone or iPad for speed.

The nook marries the excellent online book buying experience, price and selection of the Amazon Kindle with the Sony Reader's support for ePub and a hint of touch-- a combination that wins in my book.

Read full review

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Digital Trends

The NOOK proves to be a better choice for avid readers and e-reader enthusiasts

from Digital Trends

The Kindle is a well-rounded e-reader that has had fewer problems than the Nook, but—that said—you should also account for the fact that it has been around longer and doesn’t carry as many innovative features as the Nook. There has been time to perfect the Kindle—hence the 2—and the No...More

The Kindle is a well-rounded e-reader that has had fewer problems than the Nook, but—that said—you should also account for the fact that it has been around longer and doesn’t carry as many innovative features as the Nook. There has been time to perfect the Kindle—hence the 2—and the Nook is still very fresh and will soon have as many tune-ups as the Kindle has had. As for now, with the same price and the similar build, we think it really comes down to reading habits. Ideally, the Nook would be better for avid readers and e-reader enthusiasts just because of all of the accompanying perks like the in store daily discounts and free available content. It’s also nice that Barnes & Noble is an actual bookstore, which is what a true literary lover wants—a nice, quiet bookstore to lounge around in, drink coffee and read all day in. The Kindle lacks that in-house and physical support system from Amazon. You can always still take your Kindle 2 into a bookstore and read and sip coffee, but there isn’t a corresponding outlet for the Kindle like there is for the Nook. Both devices have 2GB of memory, but the Nook also has a microSD slot so it can have more than 1,500 books or newspapers—or whatever else—on it. The Kindle does not have the option of expandable memory. The Kindle also isn’t compatible with ePub and doesn’t have as many free options as the Nook. The Kindle 2 has been reviewed and revered as a more reliable e-reader. Its international wireless capability is also quite the perk, along with its simplistic and utilitarian format. The minimalist may prefer the Kindle 2 to the Nook, seeing the color touchscreen and innovative complexities as frivolous details. Both are great devices, with different characteristics. If the winner of this battle for you is the Nook, then you may change your mind when Amazon reveals its new Kindle—with its only details existing in Internet myths and tech-blog rumors. Many reports and expert speculation has led us to believe these rumors are true, and we’re excited to see what masterly evolution takes hold of the Kindle.

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Digital Trends

The Barnes & Noble Nook is fairly impressive for a first-generation product

from Digital Trends

Bear in mind: Whenever a company is able to get a product out into the marketplace and then improve upon it before a competitor even gets their feet in the water, the market is already defined by that first player. And unless you are able to offer something considerably better in terms of user experience or features with a new piece of hardware, you will be playing catch-up for the rest of your existence....

More

Bear in mind: Whenever a company is able to get a product out into the marketplace and then improve upon it before a competitor even gets their feet in the water, the market is already defined by that first player. And unless you are able to offer something considerably better in terms of user experience or features with a new piece of hardware, you will be playing catch-up for the rest of your existence.

While we don’t think that will be the case with the Nook, considering how many orders it’s already had, Barnes & Noble is certainly cutting it close. The company needs to spend a lot of time refining this product to fix the bugs we encountered and ultimately making the interface that much better.

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The Gadgeteer

Slow performance tops the NOOK’s list of software issues

from The Gadgeteer

I’ve had the nook for less than a week and my feelings about it are mixed. I really like the display and think that it’s nicer than the Kindle’s. Not by a lot, but to my eyes, it’s noticeable. I also really like the built in wifi that I can use to surf through the B&N store. Having a micr...More

I’ve had the nook for less than a week and my feelings about it are mixed. I really like the display and think that it’s nicer than the Kindle’s. Not by a lot, but to my eyes, it’s noticeable. I also really like the built in wifi that I can use to surf through the B&N store. Having a microSD card for extra storage is also nice and even though I don’t have AT&T 3G coverage (yet), I like that they are using that carrier instead of Sprint. One of the features that I’m not sold on is the touch screen. It looks cool, but it is often sluggish to respond and I find myself missing the the joystick for selecting words to look up in the dictionary. My main gripe about the nook though is the overall slow performance. Switching font sizes and loading books is much too slow. Turning pages is slower than the Kindle, but I’m not sure people that have never used an eReader would even notice. I’m really hoping that a firmware update will fix these problems and if that happens, most of my main complaints will be resolved. In the end, I find myself neither loving or hating the nook and until the performance issues are resolved, I can’t really recommend it. I think it’s an “ok” first generation device, but I was really hoping for a lot more given all the hype. Until something much better comes along, my eBook reader of choice will continue to be the iPhone.

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All Things Digital

The Nook can't seriously compete with the Kindle in its present condition

from All Things Digital

Unlike the Kindle, the Nook also has a slot for expandable memory cards and a replaceable battery. Barnes & Noble also has companion PC, Mac, iPhone and BlackBerry software for reading e-books, even if you don’t own a Nook. Amazon has such software, so far, only for the iPhone and PC.More

Unlike the Kindle, the Nook also has a slot for expandable memory cards and a replaceable battery. Barnes & Noble also has companion PC, Mac, iPhone and BlackBerry software for reading e-books, even if you don’t own a Nook. Amazon has such software, so far, only for the iPhone and PC.
But, while Amazon will synchronize your last page read if you switch from reading a book on one device to using another, Barnes & Noble lacks that capability yet, though it says it will have it soon.
One more thing: The latest standard-size Kindle allows wireless book purchasing in multiple countries. The Nook does so only in the U.S.
My recommendation on the Nook is to wait, even if you prefer its features to the Kindle’s. It’s not fully baked yet.

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Gizmodo

The hardware is fully baked, but the software isn't

from Gizmodo

Aesthetically, the Nook is better looking, less busy, with a more proportionate bezel. I like the gray rubber backing as much as I loved in on the original Kindle. The hardware is fully baked, but as I have mentioned the software isn't. Aside from the stickiness of the interface and the flaws in...More

Aesthetically, the Nook is better looking, less busy, with a more proportionate bezel. I like the gray rubber backing as much as I loved in on the original Kindle. The hardware is fully baked, but as I have mentioned the software isn't. Aside from the stickiness of the interface and the flaws in the music player, I found a definite bug in the highlights-and-notes system. I have already listed a what feels like a hundred tiny gripes, but I still have more, like why isn't there AAC playback? And why do I have to get to the home screen to see the clock? I do know why there's no Audible DRM support—because even the devices that supposedly support Audible files don't support the ones most people buy from iTunes, so it's a confusing mess for customers. But I'd still expect the nation's biggest bookstore chain to get serious about audiobooks. For now, no one will laugh at you for owning either, though you will now surely be ridiculed for spending $400 on a Sony with glare issues, or—pardon me, iRex—anything that requires a stylus. And since many third-party readers are going with the Barnes & Noble store, you'd be dumb to buy any of them instead of the Nook. That may change in the future but for now, in the ebook department, there's just these two big dogs surrounded by a bunch of poodles.

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User Reviews


What Dinosaurs & Nooks Have In Common

I thought my Nook was the most amazing thing in the world. At the time, I was right about that. I bought my NOOK in what felt like another time, May 2010.


There were only two e-readers on the market. The Kindle and The NOOK.


Well, I had the NOOK.


The NOOK was sleek and white with a little touch screen across the bottom as an interface. A touchscreen!

More

I thought my Nook was the most amazing thing in the world. At the time, I was right about that. I bought my NOOK in what felt like another time, May 2010.


There were only two e-readers on the market. The Kindle and The NOOK.


Well, I had the NOOK.


The NOOK was sleek and white with a little touch screen across the bottom as an interface. A touchscreen!


It felt safe to go ahead and throw down the money for it. I felt like I was taking part in the future of publishing. I decided that there wasn’t anything like this on the horizon.


If I stand in the right spot, I could buy books right on my NOOK, inside of the store. This was revolutionary for me. I thought I was finally down with the times and on course with the rest of the world.


Well, I was wrong. I had been on course with technology for about a month before the world switched into hyper drive.


Little did I know, my NOOK purchase was just one little power play in a huge battle that was waging over the interface that would represent the digital reading world. It was an arms race of sorts. The NOOK Vs. The Kindle.


I started reading the articles. First off, the price war. My 300something NOOK could now be bought for a little over half the price. That was just the first step, but the prices continued to fall.


I knew that I would fall victim to the price war, but I didn’t think I was in too much danger of having an old NOOK. I just got my NOOK. A new reincarnation couldn’t be that close to reality, right?


As the NOOK's price got lower and lower, I wasn’t so sure anymore. Was I doomed to be the proud owner of a tech dinosaur?


Shortly after that, the iPad was released, and dozens of other tablets followed close behind. Never mind that these new tablets were both book readers and mini-computers. At least I knew the NOOK was still just a book. In digital form, of course.


When Christmas came around, my aunt and I decided to go in together to buy a new NOOK for my dad, a dedicated reader. I went to Barnes and Noble to check out a NOOK and was horrified by what I saw - TheNookcolour.


7 months and a whole new machine. There should be rules against this type of thing.


The NOOK wasn’t just “in color.” It had a touch screen that took up the whole face of the device.


My NOOK’s little touch-screen interface across the bottom felt like a distant memory, some relic from another time entirely.


I eagerly awaited Christmas so that I could check out the newness for myself. I sat in the corner on my couch with the new bigger box.


I offered to set up my father’s NOOK and seized the opportunity to check out the new hardware. The books themselves looked totally different on the color screen.


It reminded me of those commercials for laundry detergent. The colors were brighter, and the whites were whiter.

The nook was about as close to an iPad as anyone in this family would ever get.


I could get online and look at YouTube videos. YOUTUBE VIDEOS! I couldn’t even get my baby NOOK to change pages in a smooth movement.

On the color NOOK, you don’t press buttons to change the pages, you just move your finger over the interface like a book.

But it doesn’t feel like a book. It feels like you are in some type of sci-fi movie.


Can you tell I don’t buy many nice things?


We dubbed my dad’s THE NOOK. And mine? We called it nook jr.


We use all lowercase letters, kind of like a television show for children. We sit them side-by-side sometimes, just for fun.


My little nook is still on the site, being sold with the other regular nooks.

They stand them next to each other, NOOK and nook jr. The language on the site even reflects the reality. The nook is called “award-winning and best selling” like a reliable writer that you go to for reading whenever you decide to actually read a book.


The NOOKcolor is described as “the ultimate reading experience.” It’s the new Xbox of the group obviously.


I do take comfort in the fact that there are similar-looking e-readers found just about everywhere nowadays.


As the way of the world, the e-reader had descended ranks into the department stores and drugstores. You can even get one at a grocery store. Maybe that is a fact I shouldn’t take comfort in.


Despite everything, I love my nook more because it is more like a book. I like books. I use books as way really take a break from the connected world.


I love the fact that my nook is essentially unplugged, just like a book. A lot of the new tablets are designed with the assumption that someone would want to read a book and go on twitter on the same device. I’m not one of those people.


If being a dinosaur means sitting in a corner and just reading my book, I’ll take it. It is kind of nice to know that my nook is just for reading, and I couldn’t do anything else.


Even if I wanted to.

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