Monday, August 02, 2010

Finally Settling on an eBook Reader for the Family

The debate whether to get a Nook or a Kindle has been somewhat settled in our home. My wife decided to go for a Nook, which complements our lifestyle, given that we visit Barnes and Noble frequently. The free coffees, exclusive content when visiting a store, and other considerations of the hardware make the Nook a more family friendly option.

Now the question, or questions, are whether to get a Kindle in addition to the Nook, or to make a complete commitment and get another Nook.

Both readers have computer versions and Android versions, which evens the playing field in terms of access anywhere. In fact, we technically don't need a reader at all, except that reading a book on your phone is murder on your battery and not as cozy on the computer as it is reading in bed.

So, let's discuss the first question, whether to buy a Kindle or not. Now that we have the Kindle's main competitor in our household, it weighs heavily on the decision. Getting another device means that we would have electronic books in one account or the other. Not a major disaster. In terms of adaptability, there may be a situation in which Amazon has an exclusive on a book not available to Barnes and Noble. And there are such situations. There are some books on social media that are only on Kindle, not Nook.

Yet, even if we do not purchase the Kindle, we could still read said exclusive book on our phones or on the computer. So, the reasoning is a bit weak there.

The next hurdle is, is it justifiable to have more than one eBook reader at home? There are some clear advantages to getting a second reader in the home, eventually. We are budget conscious, so we're not going to splurge on two devices right away. Maybe down the road. We are a family of readers, so one device isn't going to cut it.

If we were to get a second Nook, it would be for the ability to share our library. This presents a question of whether we should get an account per device, as sharing books is possible on the Nook; or, if we would be better served by sharing one account for the whole family.

Sharing one account for our whole library has the advantage that it doesn't matter which reader we choose, our books would be there. We could use one of the Nooks, a phone, or the computers. The same reasoning applies if you put all your chips on the Kindle. One account for the household rather than an account per person.

The problem with this is that purchases are tied into one account. So, whomever's credit card is listed for default payment can expect to bear the brunt of purchases. If you share one financial account, this might not be so bad. Agreeing on a purchase would go a long way towards curbing impulse buys, not to mention that it would bring family expenses under better control.

If you have separate Nook  or Kindle accounts, then the library tends to be more of a personal library than a family library. There is nothing wrong with having a personal library; but it basically means that there will be times when you can't use your own ebook reader. That is, of course, if you're not single. In that case, knock yourself out.

So, in the course of writing this blog post; I came to realize that I'm better off sharing an account with the family. There is no cost savings beyond the purchase price of the reader. What makes it worthwhile to me is that it is much easier to share books with my family. It's the family library. One purchase benefits 5 people.

Of course, this makes me wonder how such libraries will continue on beyond the lifespan of the account holder? Does somebody take over the account, or does the license to the books lapse with the account holder's life? Interesting question, which is beyond this post's scope.

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