Tuesday, September 7, 2010

It's the Twenty-first Century!

I know. I have an eReader. It's no flying car, or jet pack, or lunar vacation destination. But it's pretty damn nifty all the same. It's a Nook, from Barnes & Noble.

I bought one for Spouse in June as an early birthday present. After seeing how much use--and enjoyment--Spouse got out of it, I decided it was time to get one of my own. So this Labor Day we hied ourselves down to the local mall, to the local B&N outlet, and picked one up.

I'm still learning all the ins and outs, and all the features. But I know I'm going to like using it. I've already downloaded a considerable quantity of free content. Nothing pirated, mind you. Barnes & Noble offer a number of free ebooks on their website, ranging from self-published (mostly via Smashwords) works--none of which interested me--to classics to sample works from current authors. I downloaded a couple of Harlequin romances, one in the Intrigue and one in the American line, to see what they're like. I also downloaded H. Rider Haggard's King Solomon's Mines because, well, it's a classic of SF that I've never read, so it's past time I did.

I also downloaded a dozen or more books from the Baen Free Library, another excellent source of free literature. I'm sure there are other sources (Google Books and Project Gutenberg, to name two) that I haven't yet taken advantage of. And, of course, I'll be buying ebooks from any number of publishers in the months and years to come.

I also downloaded to my computer a piece of free software called Calibre. It can convert any number of file formats into epub format (the open standard for epublications, and one that my Nook can read). The Nook doesn't read HTML except in its browser, but with Calibre I can convert and sideload some of my favorite web-based fanfic (in HTML and other formats) for reading while not tied to my computer.

Last but not least, I can also load images into my Nook to use as wallpaper or screensavers. So I just loaded the cover art for all my published works into it to serve as my screensavers. Now anyone who picks up my Nook will see a cover for one of my Cobblestone Press stories on the screen. (And it will help to distinguish MY Nook from Spouse's Nook too....)

This ain't exactly a food pill, or an anti-aging drug, but it's a pretty nifty piece of future tech all the same.