A while back, you may remember, I got myself a new toy — a Nook color. Now that we’ve had a month or so of quality time together, I wanted to give you a full report on how it’s fit into my life.

For the longest time,  I wanted an iPad. I’m an Apple fangirl from way back, and as much as I love my MacBook pro, there are plenty of times when I don’t want to lug the big beast around with me. Last summer, I got an iPhone 4, and was glad to have it as an alternate means of checking email and looking up the odd bit of info on Wikipedia.

When I told MamaRubi that I was going to start saving for an iPad, she asked, “Didn’t you just get an iPhone? What can you do with an iPad that you can’t do on your phone?” My answer required no thought at all: “Read!” “Well, can’t you buy something just for reading?” Clever, isn’t she? So off I went to research e-readers. And I found the Nook Color would meet all my needs, and then some.

Here’s why it’s  the e-reader for me:

1. It reads Adobe’s e-pub format. That means that in addition to “NookBooks,” I can buy books from Google Books, or even from La Casa del Libro, if I want to read something in Spanish. I can also borrow them from the library, just as easy as pie, so it’s very budget-friendly.** I like the lighted screen, since I tend to read indoors, and don’t find that it fatigues my eyes at all. I love that I can make the type as big as I need to. And magazines! Don’t get me started… right now, I’ve only got subscriptions to Vanity Fair and Everyday Food, and I’m hoping that the New Yorker will become available soon.  (For a couple of months, I had Harper’s Bazaar, but a fashion magazine doesn’t really translate  onto the small screen for me.)

2. It’s an Android-based tablet in disguise.  I can put my own files on it, just by dragging and dropping. I quite like it for PDFs of knitting patterns, and I’m thinking of other ways I can use it.

3. It has more than decent media support. It will play my digital music, and I can watch my soap opera from Spain. It has a tinny little speaker, true, but it also has a headphone jack, which is what I use if there’s any sort of sound involved.

4. It has Wifi, with pretty decent interfaces for email and the Web. And its virtual keyboard is actually big enough for me to touch-type on, with minimal fat-fingering.

5. It has apps. So far, I’ve only bought two or three, because I’ve got so many on my iPhone. I will tell you that “Angry Birds” is much, much funner at 7″ than it is at 3″.

6. It has tons-o battery life (8 hours of reading, if I’m not running anything else). And it picks up a full charge relatively quickly. If I remember before the Ambien kicks in, I just plug it in at bedtime, and it’s ready to go the next morning.

7. It has expandable memory — starts at 8 gigs, and will go up to 32 gigs — courtesy of an easy-to-reach micro SD card slot. That’s enough room for most of my books, most of my music, and photos of my entire shoe and handbag collection. (Yes, I like to take them with me. Why do you ask?)

8. It has an amazing price point for what it offers — $249. I’m pretty sure I’m getting every penny’s worth.

**By the way, if you’re a voracious reader on a budget, check out netGalley — it’s a service that lets you sign up to read books before they’re published, for free. The trade-off is that you’re expected to review what you’ve read, but it seems that publishers have a broad definition of what they consider a suitable forum; a lot of reviews are by bloggers. (Keep an eye out for upcoming reviews here, of course.)

To some extent, it’s a sort of literary “lucky dip” — you don’t know what you’ll find until you look. But there are a couple of ways to search for titles; I tend do go by publisher first (these run the gamut from HarperCollins and Penguin to houses you’ve never heard of), or by genre. As with books you borrow from the library, they expire after a given time-frame — 55 days, from what I can tell, so you don’t want to request more books than you can reasonably expect to read at a stretch.

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