This post is going to slant (unapologetically) toward those of you who have the extreme pleasure of owning a Barnes & Noble Nook Classic eReader. It does so at the exclusion of the Kindle and Nook Color for a number of reasons. One, if you want to read about the Kindle there are millions (hyperbole) of blogs dedicated to doting over the Kindle. Two, I do not own a Kindle, in protest (just kidding) so I can not speak directly to it. Dave who is a Thursday Circle original contributor does and can hopefully speak to its greatness. Finally when I purchased my Nook I had the choice of Kindle but decided on the Nook because I honestly feel it is a better reading experience so naturally I favor it and I like taking passive aggressive shots at the eReader megatron which is Kindle.
All of that is introduction and if you are still reading, I am surprised and appreciate it. As an avid eBooker and Christ follower I of course wanted to get a Bible on the device. Thankfully, my two favorite English copies were free at the B&N Nook Book store. Those being the English Standard Version by Crossway and the Christian Standard Bible (translation) by Holman Publishers.
Shortly after downloading them I began to get frustrated with the rigid and seemingly thoughtless navigation of these books for the Nook. This sent me on a quest to find the perfect Bible for my Nook and sadly ended with me settling for the best of bad options. This has nothing to do with translational integrity but was more so a drive to find a navigable version. I do not study (to preach or teach) from the Nook and instead simply use it for devotional reading.
One more thing to consider, I am reading straight through the Bible so honestly navigation only had to get me to the two starting points (OT and NT) at which time I would use bookmarks to keep my place and quickly return when needed but on occasion you simply want to look up a verse or story and that is when it becomes a bit of a challenge.
What follows in my list of translations/versions ranked by navigation and features for your Nook.
ESV English Standard Version – Free
The ESV wins top dog because its not only free but the navigation is the best available. You simply click Go To, then Chapter, then scroll to the Book name. This will take you to the front of the book where you have to click down to the chapter number. Paragraphs are designated by line breaks which is not ideal but it is ok. This is a reference edition which adds a lot of footnotes to the end of the chapter. So getting to a certain chapter – good, reading through – eh.
NLT New Living Translation – $8.90
I actually like the NLT’s navigation formatting slightly better but it is essentially the same as the ESV. The price and translational integrity keep it from ranking as high as the ESV. Paragraphs are designated by an extruding verse number in the left margin and a line space between the paragraphs, this is not ideal in my opinion. This is a text only version making it more attractive for reading through.
NIV New International Version – $9.99
Not a fan of the version and equally not a fan of the navigation. You scroll to the designation of OT or NT. Then you can click to the Book names and will be taken to a page where you can click to the chapter numbers. Paragraphs are designated by indention but no space between paragraphs. This is a reference edition.
KJV King James Version – $0.99
I hesitate to put this on the list at all but many people use it out of tradition and so it must be addressed. The navigation is not as bad as the translation. You scroll through book names and then chapter numbers. There is a neat feature of ‘Go to top: Book name‘ at the end of each chapter, I did like that. There is not paragraph marking but each verse is indented and a line between each. This is an illustrated version which is …. awkward. Text only though so no footnotes, that’s a plus.
HCSB Christian Standard Bible – Free
This is actually the one I use for devotional reading because of the way it reads and the formatting. The paragraphs are indented and the verses numbers are a lighter color making them less noticeable. This makes reading the Bible as much like reading any other book as possible. It is text only eliminating footnotes. The OT references in the NT are boldfaced which is nice.
Now, the navigation stinks. The main problem is that while you can scroll to the Book name you are then taken to a chart that list out 5-7 books in order with the chapter number designations listed under each book title. So for instance to get to chapter one of Joshua you would have to click 190 times. Thats frustrating and a huge oversight by Holman. It is free though, so like I said, if you are reading through the Bible I highly recommend this one. Once you start just use the bookmarks to get back to where you need to be.
NKJ New King James – $7.99
The NKJ’s navigation is actually not horrible but it is a step down from say the ESV or NLT. You can scroll to the Book and Chapter number (the more scrolling and less clicking the better) but they are all listed in the same menu. So if you want to get to Psalm 1 you must scroll through every preceding book and chapter. That’s a lot of scrolling. The Table of Contents page helps with this but it is strangely not listed in the scrolling navigation and actually adds more clicks. Formatting is great with indented first lines and slight line space between two paragraphs. This is a text only which is desirable.
Disclaimer – Most of this is based on the downloaded free samples. There could be a possibility that the navigation is better for the paid, full version but if so this is a marketing mistake on the part of the publishers.
Josh is a North Texas pastor with a severe addiction to coffee and eBooks.