Dispatches from the Digital Revolution

Apps on ereaders: Does anyone use them?

I am extremely curious to hear whether you Appazoogle readers use apps on your ereader and tablet devices. (Unless you have an iPad. That’s a whole different story.)

Because I don’t. At all. I’m wondering whether I’m missing out on key features of my Nook Color, or if it’s just one of those “excess” features that doesn’t really mean much of anything at all to the ebook world.

A bit of background: my first ereader was the first generation Nook, which was strictly e-ink, black and white. I eventually migrated to the Nook Color, because I really wanted to be able to read my magazines in color, but in digital form. And in that respect, I have not been disappointed; in fact, being able to read my monthly magazine subscriptions and image-heavy ebooks is one of my favorite things about having a Nook Color ereader.

But apps? Well, truthfully, that little menu item has been sorely neglected.

I don’t have any interest in downloading social media apps on my Nook; I can access those from my phone, and my Nook has to be connected to wireless anyway, which does me no good when I’m out and about in commuter land. I also don’t have any interest in playing Angry Birds or Plants vs. Zombies on my Nook, either; if I’m using my ereader device, (surprise, surprise!) I’m reading a book or a magazine. I also don’t have any interest in watching movies or TV shows, because again, I have an ereader because I want to read books. There are way too many novels in queue in my account, and I can’t imagine squandering any of my reading time for anything else except, well, reading.


The one thing that would get me to use the app function, of course, is a fancy enhanced ebook. That, in and of itself has been an interesting experience. The one time that I wanted to buy an enhanced ebook (namely, Dead Letter Officewhich was an “active fiction” book I explored earlier this year), I actually wasn’t able to do it on my Nook. The enhanced ebook app works on Nook Tablet, but not on Nook Color, so I found myself reading it on my phone instead. Not ideal.

The thing is, apps are really expensive to produce (especially for multiple platforms), and it doesn’t make sense to enhance every ebook just because we can. (In truth, I don’t know how many ebook apps I would actually even bother buying if they were available in huge quantities, anyway.) Feeling like I was missing out, I purchased a book-related app on my Nook a while back. It was Wreck This App, based on Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith, which is a collection of prompts that encourages journalers to scribble outside the lines, throw the book out the window, tear out pages, and basically be as destructive as you’d like in pursuit of creativity. Perfect, I thought. This makes complete sense for an app.

And the app was interesting. It provides users with a range of tools where you can “drip” things on the screen, paste in favorite photos, insert text, and use different pencils and colors to mark up the screen prompts. The content truly did lend itself to an app format. But after about five seconds, I got pretty bored, closed it, and went back to reading my ebook.

So does anyone actually use apps on their app-enabled ereader devices?

For children who are using these things, I can see learning apps as a huge advantage, but for the average adult reader, I often find myself wondering, “What’s the point?”

With an iPad, as alluded to earlier, you’re handling a tablet that’s intended to be more than just an ereader. I still view the Nook Color and Nook Tablet as an amped up ereader rather than a tablet. Kindle Fire? To me, it’s still a means to consume content, and I’m still not sure I’d take advantage of apps there, either.

So let me know, am I missing out? And if so, what apps do you recommend?

One comment on “Apps on ereaders: Does anyone use them?

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This entry was posted on September 24, 2012 by in Opinion and tagged , , , .

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