E-Readers, Travelling, and a Plea for Nook Advice

I'm going to Italy in the fall. 10 days of winey (not whiny) foreign goodness. We're planning on jumping around a lot, renting a car and driving through Tuscany, and a train ride (or two!). Still working on the itinerary. BUT. This poses a colossal problem. Because I do not travel with less than one book per day. No that's not a typo. One book per day of travel.* So that means 10 books.

You see the problem? That's a whole suitcase. And so I have decided to purchase an e-reader. I already have a Sony Pocket Reader, but this will not do because a) I do not like it and b) I want a new gadget and c) I cannot underline or highlight or take notes on books in it and d) it is a few years old already (shocking, I know) and the battery life is leaving something to be desired.

Couple this with the fact that I have a $100 gift card to B&N, and I am leaning towards a Nook. BUT (Always the "but"). Which one? The Nook Color? Or the new e-ink Nook? The latter is definitely a more attractive price... but the former has apps! And email! And color! BUT (there it is again) maybe that is not such a good thing, all that distraction?

Alternatively, I could just buy $100 worth of really long, lightweight paperbacks.

Help, please?


*This method of counting the number of books needed for a trip is tried and true. I took 7 books with me on my 8-day honeymoon and had to purchase a paperback in the Mexican airport. I took 5 books with me on my 5-day trip to Cape Cod and read 3 of them, and I ended up working remotely for a solid day of that 5-day trip.


  1. Get the new e-ink nook! While the Nook color sounds cool, I'm not sure if I would personally want to read for long periods of time with backlighting. I have the older e-ink Nook and love it.

  2. Nothing I can say about e-books.

    But, I have a book I want to send you. It is a fantastic food and wine lover's guide to Tuscany. It is out of print but I have extra copies and would love you to have one. It is a bit out of date but given things in Tuscany most of the places probably haven't changed. We used this on two separate 2-week trips to Tuscany and it never steered us wrong.

    I know you didn't ask for travel input but one of my favorite Tuscan towns is Pienza. Cortona is also nice, and Assissi is pretty darn cool. Montalcino is great for wine. And of course Siena and Florence are nice but the real heart of Tuscany is out in the little towns only reached by car.

    Email me your mailing address, you will love this book. onmyporch [at] hotmail [dot] com

  3. Funny, because I would still be miles away from considering an e-reader in your shoes! 10 paperback books, that you're willing to leave behind (cheap, ratty paperbacks - yes they can still be books worth reading), and discard as you go. That's my method.

    Sounds lovely at any rate! Enjoy!

  4. I have the Nook that came out before the color. I didn't realize the color one was back lit - for that reason alone I would go with the new e-ink Nook. I can't spend a lot of time reading on my computer because of the back light.
    That said: If you want to download magazines, newspapers, books with illustrations, you might want to consider the Color version. But, if you have an iPad, you don't need the Color Nook.
    I like my Nook, although I still prefer reading from real books. And, the nook is great when traveling. (I don't need a book a day, but I have run out of books to read and it's a pain - esp. if you are somewhere where it might be difficult to find a book in English).
    Don't forget to download all the books you want before leaving the States - I can't download outside the States - maybe it's different on the newer version.
    Kate has a Nook - maybe she can give you some pointers.
    Have a wonderful time in Italy!! Hoping to get to Thanksgiving this year and want to hear all about it.
    I'll stop now.

  5. I recently played around the with the new Nook and I have to say that I wasn't blown away. It's not a bad device (very crisp and comfortable screen), but as a Sony user (my touch screen is a tad older though, so not quite as good, alas...) I found the interface confusing and nonintuitive. It was a bit slow and awkward to respond as well. But that's just my take... As for the Nook Color, it's a tablet, for good and for bad (the good being the color, the bad being the non-eInk screen).

  6. Hmm..Italy...So amazing. I wonder, though, if the experience of reading an e-reader with a glass of wine whilst overlooking a sunset in Tuscany is truly the same as reading a real book in the same setting. I'd be tempted to take the dead tree versions, myself, but you do have a point about the suitcase space...

  7. Go with the e-ink becuase you can read it outside. I agree with the 1 book per day plan. But I agree with pagesofjulia that you can do hardcopies, so long as they are mass markets and you don't mind leaving them. I brought 6 800+ ones on a 7-day cruise in the spring and I only read 2.5 books. If you pick mega-books, they last longer (finished Shogun on Tuesday. Started reading it on that cruise at the end of February!)

  8. If it's not too late, I'd go with the e-ink Nook. I had a color one (I say HAD because I gave it away), and I thought it was heavy and the internet capability was just a distraction. Also, the touch screen was very sensitive, and I kept touching it "wrong" and making thing happen that I didn't intend to happen.

  9. Becca - I ended up with the new e-ink Nook (which does have a touch screen, but it's pretty easy to use). I had the same reservations you mentioned about the weight and internet distractions of the Color one. Thanks for the input!


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